Every technology trend goes through its hype cycle and APIs are no different. Groomed as the swarm of mini-engines that would power the digital economy, many see APIs as the elixir that adds value and extends solutions.
However, despite over 15,000 APIs on the market today, enterprises must follow best practices to take advantage of a $3 billion economy. In our work with a wide variety of enterprise customers, here are our suggestions for how executives can extract more value from their API strategy.
- Identify and Strategize Value: It may seem like an obvious exercise, but business and IT managers need to do more to pinpoint exactly where their APIs can deliver. One way to do so is customer journey mapping, which helps understand how customers will engage with your solutions. By understanding customer pain points, you’ll be able to plug in APIs to fill in any necessary gaps.
- Enable Governance: In our work with customers, establishing an integration center of excellence has been successful. A center of excellence (CoE) can manage all the APIs in the catalog to avoid duplication, enable reuse, and assist with developer access. The governance team also ensures that APIs align closely with business requirements, so everyone stays focused.
- Promote Usage: A self-service model needs promotion. APIs need to be treated like anything else the business is attempting to roll out and sell to employees or customers. Building interest encompasses a spectrum of activities, starting with pilot projects to establish credibility and gain enterprise attention.
- Measure Performance: APIs should also be treated the same as any other business initiative in that adoption and performance should be metered and measured. Metrics including user registrations, customer type, and requests over time are great data points to begin with and measure over time.
- Understand Data: Finally, it’s important to know what kind of data you’ll be working with. Understanding what it takes to develop the APIs requires a deep knowledge of the data environment, especially back-end systems where the API work is often done. Once the best opportunities are discovered, developers can identify which and how many APIs are necessary to unlock that value.
Is your organization exploring APIs? Reach out to one of our specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org for a conversation on how our consultants can help.