How can you implement a sound "API economy" in your company?
Although it may sound strange, the development of the API itself is often not the most important element for an organization that is thinking of having an API. Everything relating to the APIs in a company must be a strategic, a business, rather than a technical issue.
Application programming interfaces are the result of a process of assimilation and analysis within the company with a view to maximizing its resources to generate income, based on the objectives, the market, the competition, and other factors. You can have an API and not be a company in the API economy.
The implementation, scalability and market reach of a company's APIs involve a process with many challenges, divided into the following stages:
- Awareness of the value of the APIs for the business
An API also represents a position as regards the world of business and the economy. Placing an API in the center of business activity turns the business into a platform with its limit beyond the four walls of the company's headquarters. Its business model becomes something that can be scaled, exported, transferred, made viral, sold...
Imagine an API as a Trojan horse from which you can conquer markets, even through the resources and the talent of other companies. It is essential to understand APIs as an instrument for creating value for research, development and innovation in third parties. APIs have much to do with open knowledge and business, intended as a platform for developers and startups.
- Setting the objectives within the market
The road by which a company reaches a degree of maturity typical of the "API economy" is called APIfication. Extending API-based services within a company is not an easy task; and if this effort is not preceded by an analysis of the market and the objectives, it may be for nothing.
In many companies, this process is even more complex when there are one or more APIs but the interpretation of their value is not focused on business; instead, they have been developed as a result of a merely technical need. Before you start something new or transform what already exists, you should answer three important questions: which, why and what you want an API for.
- Service architecture that ensures scalability
This may be an important aspect if you see a quick transformation of your business model into a platform. Making your business viral, through third companies, with millions of clients, can represent a problem for your IT infrastructure. You need to control each of the details.
- APIS as a commitment accelerator
APIs are the glue of the entire community of developers. Offering application programming interfaces on a simple online platform, which centralizes the use by partners, suppliers and developers, is an accelerator of their commitment to a company's business and brand. In this regard, BBVA API_Market, the repository of BBVA APIs, has become a benchmark for this type of project in Spain.
- Managing APIs
As a company grows in the development of APIs and the number of clients it serves, it becomes essential to measure its performance in meeting the demand and handling any issues deriving from the use of APIs. It is recommended that you look for solutions to monitor this. There are currently several powerful tools designed for this purpose: 3scale, ApiAxle, Apigee, IBM API Management, Akana, Oracle SOA Microsoft's Azure API Management... There are several solutions at all possible prices.
This type of tool speeds up the implementation of an API management system which simplifies what is needed to take control:
- Test environment
- Traffic management
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