APIs aren’t just for developers | Enabling business opportunities and accelerating Digital Transformation
Digital products and services have become table stakes for large enterprises, as customers and partners expect on-demand and tailored service, and employees expect digital capabilities to become ubiquitous. APIs are the critical interface into digital and embedded products and services. They connect systems and data with customers and partners, unlocking functionality to provide a digital experience or product where your consumer is.
APIs were once limited to IT leaders and developers but are now a significant engine of business growth. With the right tooling, all enterprises can make planning, collaborating, and reusing these assets accessible to business users too.
And providing business a seat at the table is key to delivering the promises of API first: “Many organizations view APIs as an IT concern. However, having IT lead your API business strategy is the opposite of an API business strategy. You must view APIs as interfaces into business products” say Forrester in their recent API Product Management report.
Application Programming Interface (APIs) represent an easy way to access data, services, and capabilities from other applications. While APIs have been around for a long time, new emerging technologies, combined with the explosion of data and services on the Internet, have made them much more relevant and powerful.
APIs save companies from custom-building every piece of software, or going through complicated and expensive integrations to get much-needed capabilities.
And an API first transformation bridges the gap between legacy applications and new cloud based apps, rapidly adapts applications to support new digital business processes, and reaches economies of scale that seamlessly and economically support additional users, data flows, and transactions.
Who else uses APIs and how does it help them?
The most innovative companies are leveraging APIs to grow their businesses and keep their technology modern.
· Stripe has reached a valuation of $100 billion by making payment functionality easy to embed into other company’s applications and experiences via APIs.
· Twilio is worth $60 billion providing companies with complex communication functionality they can embed in their own products via easy-to-consume APIs and microservices.
· Fintechs have raised billions trying to recreate the banking experience offered as a set of APIs and easy to use experiences.
· Netflix and Amazon are leveraging the power and flexibility of APIs and microservices to support their internal and external customer base at massive scale.
More and more enterprises are building industry-leading API first practices and platforms to put themselves in this same category.
API developers are already focusing on achieving agility and speed. Done right, with the right API centric architecture and platforms in place, they are enabled and equipped to build out a portfolio of reusable building blocks for the enterprise. They’re doing this through utilizing:
· highly available enterprise systems
· automated guides
· a governed API lifecycle
All this also ensures the portfolio is built out while maintaining alignment to regulatory requirements.
Adding business and product stakeholders to the API lifecycle provides the next opportunity to accelerate digital strategy.
Your enterprise almost certainly has the business capabilities and experience needed to support great digital experiences. Collaboration with business and IT — and exposing these capabilities via reliable APIs (and events and services) — will enable delivery of great products to customers, and great experiences to the consumers of functionality you expose.
“This is how software eats the world: by taking business functions one at a time, turning them into well-documented API calls with useful error messages (but infrequent errors) that can be chained together with arbitrary complexity and then run with minimal human involvement,” writes Byrne Hobart.
As a business leader or product owner, how will APIs help me?
API-driven products and services represent both a competitive threat to incumbent enterprises and a significant opportunity.
APIs can unlock a range of business opportunities. Take one of our large banking customers for example: APIs are unlocking opportunities for them like handling acceptance and processing to settlement and reconciliation, while contributing to potentially first-of-a-kind banking-as-a-platform functionality in mortgage, treasury, and capital markets.
Moreover, APIs allow functionality to be made available directly where customers and partners are — through emerging platforms (e.g. digital wallets), unbundled and re-bundled to offer new or existing core competencies, while better leveraging non-core competencies from third-party providers (just like Twilio and Stripe).
A key hurdle for aligning business and IT that Enterprise Architects and the CTO org are trying to solve: establishing a platform that takes care of the complexity of technology, so business and product stakeholders can focus on customers and partners.
Once this gap is filled, as a business or product stakeholder you’re free to focus on prioritizing and ideating new offerings that leverage a reliable lifecycle to create new APIs. All while contributing to an ever-expanding portfolio of reliable and bundle-ready building blocks.
The ignite platform provides a unique offering for business and IT roles to collaborate and capitalize on the digital opportunities that API first presents. One place to Capture, Discover, Manage, Govern, Combine and Reuse consistent APIs, Events, and Services.