Image Blog Creating Digital Value Chains
April 2, 2019

How to Create API Value Chains

Digital Transformation
ROI

APIs drive business value. But what is an API value chain? And how do you create API value chains? 

That's what we break down in this blog. 

What Is an API Value Chain?

An API value chain is a series of transformation processes that create value in the API economy. APIs enable digital value chains. That's because APIs are a critical part of the digital transformation strategy of any business. They help you transform data, enable multicloud strategy, and accelerate time-to-market. 

How APIs Drive Value

APIs drive value by enabling enterprises to disrupt the market. In particular, APIs create value by connecting individuals, businesses, and machines in a new digital thread. 

Take Amazon, Uber, Netflix, and Tesla. These are all examples of businesses that have disrupted their markets — and dominated their traditional counterparts.

These companies — and others like them — are using technology to change the way products are designed, manufactured, sold, and serviced around the globe.

By using APIs to drive value, enterprises like yours can operate with greater efficiency and agility. That means you can reach more customers and partners. And you can boost consumers' access to innovative products. 

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How to Create API Value Chains

So, how can you create API value chains that benefit your business? 

A fully integrated digital value chain — enabled by APIs — allows you to create new opportunities. Here's how to create three types of value chains:

  • Customer.
  • Partner.
  • Company.

APIs enable you to leverage all three types of value chains — and get ahead of the competition. 

Chain API Circle

1. Connect, Engage, and Serve Customers

Your clients and consumers are conducting business from wherever they are. Businesses that provide customers with the information and ability to do so are the ones that are winning the game.

So, you need to reaching customers where they are, whether it be through mobile apps, digital watches, connected cars, or their homes. This requires a deep understanding of customers’ contextual needs, so you can deliver services that meet their needs.

APIs enable the customer value chain. 

APIs allow businesses to expose a specific contextual service and data for a specific customer need.That service or data can be seamlessly integrated at the point of interaction — whether it is a mobile device, a kiosk or a cloud app.

This customer value chain applies to B2B companies like Salesforce or Marketo and B2C companies like Uber or Amazon. These companies are powered by APIs to provide meaningful contextual apps on all sorts of mobile phones and connected devices. As a result, their customers can transact their business when and where they want to.

Auto Repair
Digital Value Chain for Auto Repair and Insurance Claims

2. Grow and Empower Your Partners

Partners have always been critical to businesses. And the digital economy makes them even more strategic. But only if they are integrated with the digital fabric of a business.

Partners today need to have immediate and secure access to your critical business data. This helps your partners make important decisions on your behalf.

Similarly, your business requires insights into partners’ data and digital activities. For instance, enterprises need immediate insights into constraints in your suppliers’ inventory that might adversely impact manufacturing commitments.

APIs enable the partner value chain. 

APIs enable businesses to integrate their applications and systems with each other in real time. Plus, APIs maintain the security and integrity of your data.

More importantly, APIs help businesses leverage partners to extend the reach of their products and services to a larger set of customers. And these are often the ones to which your business doesn't have direct access.

The simplest example of this is the Facebook “Like” API. This allows Facebook to engage users that are not directly on Facebook owned properties. Another example is the Concur API, which allows travel and hospitality apps (such as Uber, United, and TripIt) to directly upload schedule and expense details to business travelers’ enterprise expense applications.

3. Innovate Within the Internal Corporate Value Chain

Your digital value chain also needs to connect internal applications and systems of records with employees. This has been the traditional focus of enterprise IT for the last couple of decades. But getting it right has been elusive.

Innovative digital solutions can reduce costs and add value throughout a company’s lifecycle. This is true both within each stage of the value chain and across its entirety.

The result? Employees and critical stakeholders gain  information and collaboration tools that enable them to make quick, accurate and intelligent decisions.

Integrating internal applications and services is challenging. There are organizational silos, legacy homegrown applications, and countless applications and services. 

APIs enable the company value chain. 

By creating internal API catalogs, enterprises have a better way of documenting and sharing application and service interfaces. This leads to better API consumption and API integration.

Clear API documentation, too, leads to efficient value chains across large enterprises — like Bank of America, Monsanto and Caterpillar. By creating internal, integrated value chains, these companies truly drive value by:

  • Integrating across new product development, procurement, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, after-sales services, and other LoBs.
  • Enabling more complex modeling that blurs the line between sequential isolated phases of activity.
  • Allowing business leaders to think about value in more holistic terms.

At the end, it's about breaking silos and sharing data. There is nothing new to this mantra. However, APIs are the glue that efficiently help break down these silos and create API value chains.

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Drive API Value With Akana 

Successful businesses need all three value chains integrated together — customer, partner, and company. It's the only way to differentiate your business and drive value. Businesses that adopt only one will be left behind by the ones that embrace and integrate all three.

The best way to drive API value and embrace API value chains is by using Akana

Akana makes it easy to:

  • Reach your customers through an integrated developer portal and marketplace.
  • Empower your partners by enabling secure access through the Akana API gateway.
  • Connect your company through application integrations and data-sharing.

That's why the Akana API platform provides the easiest way to accelerate digital transformation in the enterprise.

See for yourself what Akana can do for your business. Watch the on-demand demo today.

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