Casually describing what your company does to another person shouldn’t be too difficult for most employees. However, being able to articulate what your company does in a way that other systems and applications can understand always takes a little more work, even for the simplest of tasks. Saying that we can sell you a product online is one thing to say to another person, but articulated how that gets accomplished in a machine readable way takes a little more knowledge of APIs, and machine readable specifications like OpenAPI or Postman Collections.
Can you describe what your company is capable of? Now can you share that with other systems in a common machine readable format? How do I see a menu of services, or a catalog products? You build a website for humans to browse, why don’t you have a way for other systems and applications to access a menu of services, and catalog of products? Hopefully your website provides a clear and concise explanation of what your company does for people who visit, now what are you telling to other bots, partner systems, and other potential application integrations? Defining this list of corporate capabilities for use in other systems and applications is why everyone is doing APIs today.
APIs are about taking your enterprise technological infrastructure and reducing things down to the small unit of compute as possible, defining it as an individual service, then wrapping in a set of APIs for accessing and putting this enterprise capability to use. When you have a service, accessible via a set of simple web APIs, you can then get to work defining each API driven capability as an OpenAPI, or Postman Collection–articulating each capability, as an executable, machine readable capability that you can share internally, with partners, and other 3rd party integration opportunities. Allowing you to describe what your company is capable of in a machine readable way.
This process isn’t something that happens over night. I takes time to discover, define, design, and deliver enterprise capabilities in this way. The API journey to make this happen will be different for each enterprise organization, but the end result should be the same–allowing the enterprise to define and make available everything it is capable of, and effectively articulate this value to others. It is something that will help make internal projects more efficient, and contribute to reducing friction when it comes to working with partners, and other trusted 3rd party developers. Being able to effectively articulate what your company is capable of to others in a machine readable way will be essential to doing business online in coming years–if you can’t articulate what you are capable of in an automatable way, you won’t be able to rise to the top of your industry.