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September 28, 2021

API Products: How to Embrace the Future of Your Enterprise

API Lifecycle Management

Do you package, promote, and market your API products in the same fashion as other digital products or brands? Over the past decade APIs and enterprises have changed drastically. Just a few years ago, many businesses didn’t utilize APIs in any fashion. Yet as the pace of digital transformation and disruption sped up, APIs took center stage.

Why?

APIs unlock innovation, accelerate digital transformation, and allow enterprises to consume and expose services across a variety of channels.

What Is an API Product?

API products are digital assets promoted in relevant developer portals and marketplaces, allowing businesses to directly and indirectly monetize APIs. Similar to other business capabilities, they are packaged and promoted as competitive assets in their own right.

There are four key steps in adopting a product mindset with your APIs. And achieving success is about more than technology. In order to succeed you must gain alignment across technical teams, leadership, product owners, and developers.

Step 1: Align DevOps, API Development, and Business Processes

Achieving a product mindset with APIs means your DevOps teams, API developers, IT, and line-of-business leaders are on the same page. And this is all about agreeing on the very purpose of building APIs. Instead of viewing APIs as technical artifacts, you must see APIs as business products capable of improving business outcomes and delivering digital transformation.

After recognizing their value to the business, it’s time to package API products for optimal consumption. This involves:

Step 2: Find and Build a Relevant API Developer Community

Products need customers. And your APIs need a relevant developer community. So how do you go about finding the developers who will adopt and use your APIs?

Your developer community efforts should target developers who will consume, repurpose, and innovate with your APIs. This may include developers within your company and outside your organization.

This process starts by building the right APIs. Your business has core capabilities or applications that can provide added value inside and outside your organization. Consider scaling APIs upon these services, or those that could easily be utilized in a variety of environments.

Then, you must find and promote your APIs within specific communities. This concept is easier to comprehend using examples. So, let’s say you’re an airline organization. You wish to increase bookings and APIs represent the mechanism to expose your services for reuse online. You build APIs that allow travel aggregators to access reservation and booking systems. But you don’t stop there. You make a list of the most successful travel websites and aggregators and ensure they can easily consume your APIs by providing relevant documentation and API recipes. You could go even further by marketing your APIs, again like a product, directly to these organizations using B2B marketing tactics.

Finally, you must make your APIs easy for your target developers to consume and work with. That’s where your developer portal and marketplace come in.

Step 3: Optimize Your Developer Portal and Marketplace

Aligning your teams around the purpose of APIs and identifying a desirable developer community is a good start. But if your APIs are difficult or confusing for developers to use you won’t get far with an API product mindset.

Therefore, the next step in marketing your APIs as products is optimizing your developer portal and marketplace. Yet, these terms are often confused, or used interchangeably. So what’s the difference?

  • Your developer portal is the central platform for versioning, provisioning, managing technical API details, and interfacing with internal and external developers.
  • Your API marketplace is your public-facing site where API providers can publish APIs for developers to consume. Your marketplace is critical to API monetization.

In optimizing these environments, you are reducing barriers to API adoption among internal and external developers. This makes it more likely that your products, services, and applications (exposed via APIs) will be picked up and used by developers at various organizations.

Step 4: Boost the Bottom Line With API Monetization          

With your developer portal and marketplace optimized, you can begin to think about how your API products will start to impact the bottom line. Yet, every industry requires a different approach. In fact, nearly every organization may need to approach monetizing APIs a bit differently.

There are a handful of API monetization models you can follow. Some are built around B2B capabilities. Others are built on exposing APIs within your organization to improve reuse and efficiency of business processes. Others still are built around disrupting an industry. It truly depends on your organizational objectives and revenue models as an organization.

A final suggestion about monetization has to do with forecasting. Like any other business venture, you should conduct a thorough audit of the market size and potential revenue benefit to your organization. Instead of simply hoping for the best, you must plan, investigate, and forecast the revenue you expect from your entire API ecosystem. Entire industries, such as travel aggregators, have been built on APIs alone.

Don’t underestimate how powerful they can be in transforming your enterprise!

Build API Products With Akana

Whether you’re just getting started with APIs or have already embraced full lifecycle API management, the Akana API platform can help you achieve the following:

  • Accelerate time-to-market with API automation.
  • Enable innovation by eliminating manual processes.
  • Support API adoption with a top-notch API marketplace.
  • Deliver better user experiences and increase customer satisfaction.

The Akana API platform offers everything you need to succeed with API products and monetization. Access our out-of-the-box developer portal to publish, promote, and manage technical aspects of APIs. You’ll also get the Akana API gateway, which allows you to secure APIs and control access to applications. Finally, you’ll get tools to monitor and support your APIs throughout the entire lifecycle.

See for yourself how Akana can boost the bottom line and help you scale API products.

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