Why 2017 is quickly becoming the year of the API economy
This year more CIOs will have their bonuses tied to how many new business models they help create with existing and planned IT platforms than ever before. This trend will accelerate over the next three years. CIOs and IT staffs need to start thinking about how they can become business strategists first, technicians and enablers of IT second.
CIOs must create and launch new business models faster to keep their companies competitive. APIs are the fuel helping to make this happen.
The urgency to create new business models is driving API proliferation
APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces) are the components that enable diverse platforms, apps, and systems to connect and share data with each other. Think of APIs as a set of software modules, tools, and protocols that enable two or more platforms, systems and most commonly, applications to communicate with each other and initiate tasks or processes. APIs are essential for defining and customizing Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) too. Cloud platform providers all have extensive APIs defined and work in close collaboration with development partners to fine-tune app performance using them. Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Google, Marketo, Salesforce, SAP Hybris, Twitter and thousands of other companies have APIs available. As of today, the Programmable Web lists 16,590 APIs in its database.
Removing the hype by benchmarking API maturity
Senior management teams need to de-hype the entire issue of APIs as part of their broader business strategies before jumping in to create some of their own. In reality, many APIs are still nascent, emerging from a regular series of test and development cycles with developer partners. APIs also vary drastically regarding stability, reliability, and quality. The majority are aggregations of binary, relatively straightforward commands as they are the easiest to create.
Customer needs are driving the most efficient API development programs. Having a strong focus on the customer and being accountable for how the API’s quality turns out is essential. Customer-centric development is also forcing APIs to scale up faster, providing contextual intelligence and insight over completing simple tasks. These customer-centric APIs are driving greater maturity into development cycles, enabling quicker maturity of API code bases across the board. The following Cloud Platform API Maturity Model provides the context of how APIs must progress to provide greater contextual intelligence to enable prescriptive and cognitive workflows.
What is driving 2017’s ascent to year of the API economy?
The factors driving 2017 to be the year of the API economy are larger than any pending IPO, recent acquisition or merger. They’re the shifts occurring in how APIs are consumed, integrated into platforms and enriched with greater potential to provide contextual intelligence for customers. The following factors are contributing to APIs rapidly maturing in 2017:
- Organizations and their IT teams are starting to focus more on unique API consumption strategies first. Being able to orchestrate different APIs together and enable entirely new business processes and models fast is what matters most. Orchestrating APIs and create real-time integration is a challenging task, however, especially between on-premise, legacy systems and cloud platforms and apps.enosiX and others are all delivering real-time integration solutions based on their expertise in APIs, legacy systems including ERP and cloud platform and app integration.
- APIs are becoming enablers of omnichannel selling and service business models quickly. The most complex APIs are being built within B2B companies who have the goal of providing a contextually intelligent real-time experience across all the channels they sell through. This is a daunting task and one that would be more efficient if each channel’s unique needs to the persona level were taken into account first.
- The best APIs are starting to reflect requirements to the persona and customer journey level. Individual persona needs must drive API development, and this encompasses the device(s) they use, apps they regularly work with and the workflows across all apps on a platform. When an app or platform provider has anticipated the persona needs and charted customer journeys, it shows in the APIs created. The APIs reflect customer preferences much more clearly and are more efficient in delivering great apps as a result. Providing an API code base that has these features accelerates new app development and opens entirely new channels for selling.
Bottom line: APIs are most valuable for creating new business models and streamlining selling strategies across all channels. The greatest revenue potential they provide is removing barriers to growing revenue by integrating platforms and apps so organizations can quickly launch new business models and scale fast.
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