January 10, 2023

API Developer Portal: The Digital Transformation Linchpin

Developer Portal

As you may already know, APIs are the backbone of digital transformation and enterprise digital competitiveness. Then why do so many well-intentioned API programs fail?

Bad API consumer portals aka API marketplaces.

As many enterprises have raced to keep up with the importance of APIs and digital transformation, many have overlooked the position of the API consumer portal in ensuring API adoption and developer satisfaction amidst the proliferation of their APIs across their target developer communities.

But why does the API consumer portal matter so much? Your API consumer portal is the linchpin, the keystone, and the crossroads for your API consumers. If your API consumer portal is cumbersome to use for documenting APIs and onboarding developers with the appropriate governance in place, even the most brilliant API strategy will fail.

Think of your API consumer portal like a restaurant and your developer community are hungry customers. Even if you’re serving Michelin-star food, no one will eat at your restaurant if they can’t find it. Or what if they find it but can’t make sense of what is on the menu? Or what if your customers need a special key or secret code to get in and they arrive at the door only to find out the code is difficult to get or takes too much time to get?

Again, it won’t matter how good the food is. No one’s eating at that restaurant twice (or at all).

This is unfortunately what can happen when an enterprise focuses heavily on APIs for their digital transformation, but fails to optimize the API consumer experience. No matter how critical, useful, or amazing the APIs might be – adoption will be challenging and the API strategy will falter. And with it your digital transformation plans will crumble.

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Akana Unlocked: Prioriziting a World-Class Developer Portal Experience

Akana by Perforce recently opened up all modules free of charge for current customers to ensure they achieve the best possible digital transformation results. We found time and again that to gain optimal results, customers needed access to a suite of tools that allowed them to embrace REST, GraphQL, OAuth, and comprehensive lifecycle management, in an easy to use powerful interface. An easy to manage API consumer portal that works well with an organization’s streamlined mature processes is what is needed.

We’ve seen how impactful it can be when customers unleash a comprehensive API management solution in their business. With Akana Unlocked, this is now possible for all Akana customers at scale. A big part of this upgrade is ensuring customers have access to a world-class API consumer portal and marketplace that improves developer adoption of APIs due to a comprehensive set of features around documentation, testing, and monitoring, while ensuring the highest levels of security.

So, what sets a world-class developer consumer portal apart?

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API Consumer Portal Best Practices Enable Digital Transformation Outcomes

Digital transformation has accelerated rapidly in the past few years, with APIs as the main change agent. Yet, this put massive pressure on API consumer portals to perform at scale in a fashion most were not designed for. The challenge then is upgrading the API portal experience, from an API provider and consumer perspective, to support a new world of API proliferation.

Step 1: Demystify the Portal & Focus on Driving API Adoption  

A key challenge with the API portal is confusion with the portal ecosystem. Perform a quick search on developer portals or API adoption and what you’ll find is a mix of materials on API catalogs, marketplaces, directories, or portals. In fact many of these terms are used interchangeably which adds to the confusion. At Akana, the combined API developer portal and marketplace is the central hub where you make digital transformation come to life.

In order to increase API adoption, you should focus on optimizing your API marketplace so that developers can find, interact, adopt, and utilize your APIs in the easiest manner possible. Achieve faster time-to-market, ultimately helping the bottomline. Likewise, your APIs being adopted in additional channels will lead to increased revenue. Here’s how you make that happen.

Step 2: Make Publishing APIs in Your API Marketplace Easy

In order to publish APIs more rapidly and securely, you need to have guidelines and processes in place for documenting, testing, versioning, and promotion. With Akana, you have access to all these tools, with unique features unmatched by the competition, in addition to support for automation with CI/CD pipelines. Attaching security policies and documentation can be done in a matter of clicks or completely automated. Testing APIs can be done in sandbox environment with mock services utilizing the built-in security-aware test client. Akana’s unique documentation recipes, which embed a test client, illustrate how to execute a use case instead of looking at the documentation of a single API at a time. Most importantly, this all happens within the same platform in order to provide a consistent experience for all the roles within the organization.

Step 3: Simplify API Consumption Practices

In order to make API consumption easier for developer communities, the developers should be able to quickly request access, test, and scale their usage of the APIs. Akana’s API portal and marketplace allows developers to access APIs, their documentation, and analytics around API calls quickly. By managing stakeholders, internal developers and external developers in a unified portal and marketplace, Akana simplifies managing complex ecosystems at scale.

Step 4: Account for Governance, API Promotion, Analytics, and Scale

Simply publishing your APIs is not enough. Before the APIs ever make it to the marketplace, you should have governance, promotion and analytics practices that will allow that API to be monitored, managed, scaled and optimized based on specific usage targets. Akana accounts for API governance, promotion, monitoring, and analytics by providing tools that allow your team to address these API needs from design through to production.

Step 5: Build Upon Your Internal and External Developer Communities

If your API practices are sound, the developers consuming your APIs, internal and external, will evangelize and utilize your APIs in a fashion that creates business growth. Yet, a key final step in developer portal practices is to engage the developer community with appropriate feedback mechanisms so they can help improve the APIs and the developer community at large. For example, developers (internal or external) should easily be able to track bugs, fixes, and provide feedback for future iterations of the API.This is why forums for collaboration are also an essential aspect of a community. Without this, your APIs will not grow with the community that uses them.

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Akana Unlocked and the Akana API Developer Portal

Akana provides an innovative option for more deeply engaging your developers and improving API adoption.

With Akana Unlocked, you can:

  • Publish and deploy consumable API products.
  • Find existing API products.
  • View API product documentation and understand how to use the APIs.
  • Adopt and share APIs.

By upgrading to Akana Unlocked, you can foster deeper engagement in the developer community. The Akana Developer Portal doubles as a community for developers to contribute, discuss, and provide feedback — on APIs and beyond.

 Learn how to access the Akana Unlocked upgrade today.

Access Akana Unlocked

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