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Why we need web APIs

A few commonly asked questions by people around Web APIs are: Why do we need it? How is it different from SOA? What value will it add to my company? Here, I discuss how companies can benefit from implementing web APIs. I’ll cover the myths between SOA and APIs in a future article.

Today, we live in a data-centric world of connected devices where we expect data to be readily available at our fingertips. These devices include, but are not limited to, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, smart TV, connected cars, appliances, etc. Few product companies predicted that 50 billion devices will be connected to Internet by 2020. As number of devices are getting increased day by day so is the complexity to manage and maintain the code for each device. That’s where the API’s come into the picture. Data exposed via API provides a single point of maintenance, versioning, security and governance.

Below figure shows a shift from websites as being the information access mechanism to the rapidly growing ecosystem of interconnected devices, where applications running on devices accesses the back-end data via web APIs. If you are not thinking about implementing web APIs, it doesn’t mean your competitor also is not. In today’s highly competitive and digital world, Systems of engagement are getting changed so companies need to re-invent the interactions with customers quickly otherwise they might lose the business to their competitors.

Not having an API today is like not having a website in 1990s

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need for APIs

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API’s are a good way to expand your business, maximize profit from existing business functionalities and drive new market expansion. API’s are needed for many reasons. Listing a few here :

  • Need to reach more channels and devices.
  • Brand awareness and increase revenue by exposing existing business assets.
  • Easier access to customers and partners through self-registration portals.
  • Innovate faster based on customer’s feedback.
  • Outsource app development to third party/business partners.
  • Single point of maintenance, versioning, security and control.

Business of APIs

$7bn worth of items on eBay through APIs” – Mark Carges (Ebay CTO)

The API which has easily 10 times more traffic than the website, has been very important to us. – Biz Stone (Co-founder, Twitter) 

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