The Internet economy requires companies to remain nimble and move beyond their native markets and even core competencies.
They have to run as needed to meet new demands and challenges.
To do this, they need to consolidate workflows and operations, especially the small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that need to do more with relatively fewer resources than their larger competitors.
But as they juggle back office functions, the friction builds. Business owners and operators navigate through a whole host of accounting, invoicing, inventory management and of course payment-related activities to get everything done day after day.
In an interview with Karen Webster, Bowen Pan, chief of product at Stripe, said the massive digital transformation needs a one-stop shop to help businesses run more efficiently.
“They’re so busy growing, they really don’t have time to reinvent those processes,” he told Webster. Bringing together a set of widespread software tools in one place reduces errors and fragmentation.
DIY or the Community Approach
To that end, the company launched Stripe Apps and Stripe App Marketplace — the first, in a sense, a do-it-yourself approach that allows businesses to customize Stripe’s offerings privately; the latter a platform for businesses to share, discover and choose apps à la carte for use by the community of more than 1 million companies.
With Stripe Apps, he said, companies can expand Stripe and along with the company’s partners “go beyond just payments and finance to help them run more parts of their business” because they have access to all application programming interfaces (APIs). ) which are made public.
Pan said enterprise customers can build custom experiences linked to their software-as-a-service tools directly in the Stripe Dashboard, where they already had some core workflows running. By orchestrating the right APIs, contextual information is automatically shared between apps and records are continuously synced.
See also: Stripe introduces data pipeline tool for data synchronization
“We’ve heard a lot from users over the past few years,” he said, “that they wanted to do something about the pain of spreading across multiple software application tools.”
Pan said his pre-Stripe experience as a group project lead at Facebook taught him that a user experience is critical — and can gauge how customers jump through hoops to get things done. That can cause some sort of aha moment with providers like Stripe:
“‘Our users’ lives can be made so much easier if we ensure that [apps] into a product,” he says.
The Marketplace, now in beta testing (and free), launches with more than 50 apps from leading providers such as DocuSign, Dropbox, Intercom, Mailchimp, Ramp and Xero. The apps cover everything from accounting, analytics, CRM, eSignature to marketing,
For Stripe himself, he said the Apps and Apps Marketplace launches are a strategic move beyond payment processing, where payments become a “plug” into a wider range of services.
“A lot of the revenues from these companies are processed through Stripe,” he said, “but there are many adjacent payment areas” that need to be addressed through partnerships, platforms and collaboration.
Beyond the beta phase, he said, Stripe and its partners will strive to continually refine and redefine the Apps and Apps Marketplace, looking at where developers come together and embrace different features.
“There’s going to be a lot of tweaking and a lot of learning,” he told Webster, “and we don’t expect the ecosystems and platform to look the same in a few years — we’ll see the developers and our partners really let their creativity take the run wild and see what they can build.”
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