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Integration & IT Modernization

APIs Support 21st Century Leadership

edpicI read an article today by Adam Lent that took a perspective on how leadership is changing based on what has been happening with social media in the past decade. The sentence that jumped out at me was this.

The result [of the success of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.] is a growing awareness from those who think about business structures for a living, that good leadership is no longer about ‘taking charge’ or imposing a strategic vision but about creating the platforms that allow others to flourish and create.

If you’ve read any of my blog posts you know that I strongly applaud this.

As I’ve mentioned before, when most people see API management they tend to concentrate on the “API” (technical part) not the “Management” (discipline part.) The management aspect is the “new” part where we are getting software suites that can be used to easily expose APIs for consumption, monitor their use (or watch for abuse), secure them, etc. and this is usually one of the first things that I point out when starting conversations about building an API strategy. The technical part of writing the APIs is not that different from how we’ve done things in the past. When I read Mr. Lent’s article, it reminded me that the goal is not to have a bunch of APIs but to have a platform for people to create. Framing this point as a sea change for leadership in the 21st century makes a lot of sense to me.

Today’s professionals, particularly those who have developed their skills over the past decade, want these platforms to build their visions. These professionals might be your employees, but increasingly they are not. They live outside the walls of your company and one of the best ways to entice them to work with your brand is by showing them that you “get it” and can offer a way for them to (as the article states) “to flourish and create.”

If you are already on the road to building your API program or if you’re just starting the conversation, keep in mind that you’re not building just a bunch of APIs, you’re building a platform as a call to developers that you are ready to lead them into a bright and creative future.



“What does leadership mean in the 21st century?” by Adam Lent

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Ed Murphy

Ed is a solutions architect and leader for the Emerging Platform Systems group in the area of SOA and application/systems integration. In his career, Ed has been in involved in all facets of the project life cycle from analysis and assessment to execution on consulting engagements in several industries and on many technology platforms. As a leader, Ed enjoys providing guidance to clients and mentoring the technology leaders of the future. Ed is also co-lead of Perficient's API management practice where he uses his skills to discover opportunities to help clients by transforming their business for the digital age. Ed is based in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Contact Ed via e-mail.)

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