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CIO upfront: Lessons from Xero on building a digital ecosystem

CIO upfront: Lessons from Xero on building a digital ecosystem

Investing in the success of third party developers and apps is imperative, writes Nick Houldsworth of Xero.

Today, our App Marketplace features over 500 different apps that contribute directly to the daily functionality of small businesses globally

Nick Houldsworth, Xero

Ten years ago, when we published our first API (Application Programming Interface), the SaaS industry was just starting out. Only a handful of app partners integrated with our API but together, we’ve worked with third party developers to grow our ecosystem. Today, our App Marketplace features over 500 different apps that contribute directly to the daily functionality of small businesses globally.

Xero’s open API has been integral to the company’s success, and when you consider the benefits it has brought, it’s not hard to see why. Early stage startups, established apps, and party developers are able to leverage Xero’s million-plus subscribers, while extending the functionality and feature set of our core product.

Which is why we’ve been hosting a series of events for our global developer community, called Xero Developer Roadshow (or XD17). The Roadshow travels from Melbourne to New Zealand before finishing off in Singapore after stops in the UK and the US along the way.

It’s all about the API

XD17 is all about the Xero API, and the opportunities this creates for third party developers. We’ve been updating our partners on recent features and developer resources, and teasing new products on our roadmap ahead.

We’ve really been putting a focus on innovation and technical excellence as drivers of success in our ecosystem, and encouraging partners to continue improving in their integration with Xero, for the benefit of our shared customers and all SMBs.

We’re inspiring new partners to take advantage of the scale of our customers base, and see Xero as a scalable global channel to market, with access to over a million subscribers through our app marketplace and events like Xerocon.

We’re also excited to announce at XD17 our first hackathon #XDHAX, in partnership with AWS, featuring over $28,000 worth of prizes for categories such as “Best New Integration” and “Best Improved Integration”. At our roadshow we’ve been demoing SDKs and tools available to our community that will help them get up and coding to the Xero API in minutes.

It’s really about showing that we’re invested in the the success of our third party developer partners, and inspiring them to keep innovating using the latest platforms and tools.

How developers aid SMBs

Our mission at Xero is to help small businesses thrive. To achieve that takes more than accounting software: it’s also about connecting them to all their banks, service, advisors and solutions. We know that when our small business customers use cloud apps, their profitability increases by over 30 per cent. We know that when customers are connected across multiple parts of their business, they are much more likely to stay in business and reduce costs.

We’re constantly on the lookout for great new partners and ideas. In Singapore, our team is working closely with a group of early-stage app partners to build the first app stacks for our customers there. Payments providers and banks are also starting reap the benefits of investing APIs, by both building their own, and building to ours.

For Xero, investing in our ecosystem of partners is part of our success. Continued innovation activities such as XD17 and #XDHacks ultimately help our small business customers do more online and connect to the solutions and people that help them succeed too.

'Payments providers and banks are also starting reap the benefits of investing APIs, by both building their own, and building to ours.'
'Payments providers and banks are also starting reap the benefits of investing APIs, by both building their own, and building to ours.'

Nick Houldsworth is GM Ecosystem at Xero.

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Tags innovationdeveloperdigital transformationNick Houldsworthcloudpublic clouddigital economyteam buildingxeroRod Druryplatform thinkinghackathondigital ecosystemcollaborationstaff managementAPI#XDHAXCIO agendamillennialsAWSCIO role

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