APIs as a Business Strategy

Most companies are seeing their customers quickly moving beyond browser-based model to a model of
consumption that involves consuming your services through apps on mobile devices. We are rapidly moving
from about a billion laptops with web browsers to as many as a trillion connected devices with apps by 2020.
If you want to continue to be successful-or even stay in business-you need to be where your customers
are!

Sites like Twitter, Google, Netflix, eBay, SalesForce.com, and others now get more than half of their traffic
through APIs. Many of these APIs can be found on ProgrammableWeb (http://www.programmableweb.com)
which is a repository for new mashups, Web 2.0 APIs, and delivers news on the Web as Platform–it’s a
directory, a news source, a reference guide, a community.

Explosion of consumption models

Considerations for an API Strategy

Before striking out with an API program, step back and ask: “What makes sense for the business?”

The key question to start any discussion of API strategy is
— Who will use the API? (Internal staff, partners, or external developers)
— What assets could be made available through an API?
— Who should have access to each type of available asset?
— How should the API make those assets available?
— What types of applications could be constructed using the API?
— What will motivate developers to use the API to create applications?
— How would those types of applications create value for everyone involved?
— How will the audience discover the applications?

Although having APIs as a buisness strategy is important, if you have some business justification for moving forward, you might consider taking a calculated risk about the possible unknown benefits of creating an API-particularly
for internal use where the ROI may be huge. In creating a strategy, look at your markets. In general, each
market where a company operates has one or more segments where the company is gaining, holding, steady, or losing share.

Common business objectives include:
— Accelerate share growth
— Move from stagnancy to share growth
— Reverse share losses
Not all API providers are commercial businesses and not all benefit impact the bottom lie. It can also be
aimed to improve the services provided to employees, partners, and customers.

Key challenges

APIs provide the technical components internal developers need to integrate on‐premise information assets
with the apps they build for employees’ mobile devices. However, for this approach to work, four challenges
must be met:
— Integration between mobile applications and enterprise/Cloud systems
— Optimizing App Performance When Accessing Enterprise Information
Securing Mobile Access to Enterprise APIs
— Making APIs Discoverable & Consumable for Developers

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