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Looking Past API Management When Starting An API Program

shutterstock_106344932When I was learning to bowl, my father taught me to not focus on the pins, but focus on the arrows (also called “dovetails”) that are about halfway down the bowling lane. The purpose of the dovetails are to help improve your targeting on whatever pin you are trying to hit. It helped my game immensely. For me there’s an analogy here with API Management and APIs.

I love API management and APIs since I feel they provide real value for any organization who wants to manage and measure the components exposing its capabilities and information to their customers. An important part of my conversations with organizations who are looking to enhance their offerings with an API program is always around value. That conversation usually starts with asking what sorts of things can you do with an API program?

Mobile and Web Applications

Yes, these are common ones and the most prevalent. If your business (large or small) will benefit from mobile app or web application then you should look at the API program as an enabler. Sometimes the resulting app will be a marketing tool  (such as a gamefication app) or a support tool (allowing your customers to interact with your business 24/7/365.) Sometimes it will be something that goes well with your social media campaign. Sometimes that app will be a new, direct revenue stream or in some cases the app will be your business. In any of these cases, your API program will offer the platform for your mobile app and web applications.

Internet of Things

An extension of the mobile app idea, but much more focused. Analyst projections for IoT predict that the worldwide IoT spending in the enterprise alone will be more than $800 billion of dollars in 2016 and higher in the future. Everything from your home to your car to a host of electronic devices will be connected with billions more “things” being connected every year. One of the (obviously) interesting things about the IoT is the scale. To borrow a quote from Douglas Adams, “You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.” And for the business that will benefit from IoT implementations that an API program will support, API management solutions  will provide the gateway, security, reliability, and accessibility to the internal capabilities that these devices will rely on. API Management will offer all these in addition to helping to measure and manage all this connectivity.

Innovation and Acceleration

Have you ever sat at a table full of building blocks? If you’re like me, it’s hard not to start creating things by stacking and arranging them. That’s one of the way I think of APIs. By providing your APIs you’re giving developers a table full of blocks to create. But that analogy only covers part of the picture. API management solutions fill in gaps that allow developers to easily get access to the APIs, discover what APIs are available, and see examples of their use. It also gives a channel for feedback, tracking and measuring API usage, analyzing API efficiency, and a host of other capabilities.

Conclusion

For an API program, it is important to focus on what you want to do with your API program and what defines a successful program. Don’t overlook the dovetails. Once decided, then API management brings to bear to help manage and measure the success of your goals (and help with course corrections when necessary.) If you’d like to have Perficient join you for a conversation about how to make a strike in the new digital economy by transforming your business with APIs and other IT modernization initiatives please contact us. You can read more about our services here. .

Contacts

Ed Murphy

Sara Lieser

References

Gartner Says 6.4 Billion Connected “Things” Will Be in Use in 2016, Up 30 Percent From 2015, Gartner Press Release

Without API Management the Internet of Things is Just a Big Thing, by John Thielens

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