Gartner’s recent “Hype Cycle for API and Business Ecosystems, 2020” placed Full Lifecycle API Management in the “Plateau of Productivity” and stated of Full Lifecycle API Management:
“The journey up to the Plateau of Productivity has been and will be slow: many companies still make the mistake of thinking that just putting in place API management will automatically create an ecosystem, secure their APIs, or generate new revenue. Most companies realize that API platforms serve digital transformations, but will take time to realize, which APIs are right for their business.” Gartner, Hype Cycle for API and Business Ecosystems, 2020, Marcus Blosch, Mark O’Neill, 7 August 2020
This matches my own experience. I have found that organizations fall into one of three profiles when looking for an API Management solution:
- Profile 1 – marked by “We just need a good product.”
- Profile 2 – marked by “We are disappointed with the lack of adoption of our APIs.”
- Profile 3 – marked by “We want to lead the digital transformation in our industry.”
Those in Profile 1 do not have a solution in place and most believe that to succeed, they just need the best API Management solution. The fallacy, however, is that they will most likely join those in Profile 2 who are disappointed with the lack of adoption of their API strategy.
Why is that?
To make API Management a success, a clear and comprehensive API strategy needs to be in a place that matches the understanding of the customer journey — whether internal or external.
We are seeing that an API strategy needs to encompass this corporate vision as well as cultural and organizational changes that increase the chances of adoption and execution of the strategy. This challenge is where we are seeing most API strategies get stuck with the following typical roadblocks:
- More than project managers, companies lack API Product Managers collaborating across a coordinated program to shift to a Digital Product Organizational Culture. APIs must be managed as a product.
- APIs being built as one-offs instead of building business capability with APIs that can be reused.
- Many companies treat APIs as just technology. Rather, it is all about defining value and converging early with your consumers to collaborate on an interface before even thinking about implementation and code.
- API Design First is not optional — missing auditing the design before deployment increases the risk of having your API Gateway filled up with low-quality API and redundant APIs — security flows are part of this too.
- Missing building your Connected Pipelines BizOps to ProductOps to DevOps for the full API lifecycle.
- Lack of coordinated governance and control over the complexity of APIs distributed across several disparate platforms, such that you can scale the API program effectively.
We also find that these challenges are amplified by the limits of the API technology used by most customers in Profile 2 and 3 use multiple API Gateways. Without a single pane of glass to publish all APIs with an Open and Unified Catalog and Control Plane, customers take the risk of ending with:
- Governance issues leading to duplication of capabilities and overlapping offerings.
- Inconsistent experience due to multiple siloed development teams.
- Unused assets.
- High testing and development costs.
Companies in the Profile 3 categories face similar governance challenges only with a higher intensity than those in Profile 2 due to their size or scale of their API deployment.
Helping customers to overcome these challenges and accelerate their API strategy is the sole purpose of the Axway Catalyst team – a team made of technology-agnostic evangelists and widely published thought leaders with past roles as enterprise architects leading the digital transformation and Open Banking strategy for large banks.
Now more than ever it is essential to innovate and APIs are a core technology to support innovation. Building ecosystems, driving new revenue, and realizing the fruits of digital transformation is the right expectation to have if your API strategy is aligned with a business strategy.
Success requires the right strategy to align with best practices and the right technology approach to governance. Multiple API Gateways are inevitable and necessary.
Discover more about API Gateways and read API Gateways the more the merrier but don’t land there by chance. Be strategic and have a plan for coordinated governance and control to avoid duplication of effort, inefficiencies, and organizational risk.