API Management

What is API First and how can I leverage it to add business value to my organization?

What is API First Really?

There is a lot of confusion around “What is API First,” how is it different from “API First Design,” and how all this fits into the Full API Lifecycle Management process. Today, I caught up with Brian Otten, an API expert who has a proven track record for helping enterprises on their API journey to success!

What is API First?

To think about API First, you really have to start thinking about your business. How are you reimagining your business? If you have a new business, what is that business going to look like? API First is very much linked to strategy and how you want to merge your business model with the emerging technology model.

For most companies, you are going to think of that in terms of creating a digital platform where you can take your world-class products and services and make them consumable. You might also think about how you want to extend your products out so that you can make them all easier to work with.

This is where API First comes in.

API First takes the view of your business as capabilities, with products and services that you are going to deliver. Using API First, you would then enable you to imagine those as a set of API Products or APIs working together to get the data, provide the access, and make it secure.

This is the API First way. Instead of starting by building the applications or looking for backend systems of record, you start with API First. This can be a big strategic move for an organization.

Is API First the same as API Design First?

The short answer is no. API Design First is an essential part of the operations to create the digital products and APIs but API First takes a step back and looks at that reimagined view of your business as a set of interoperable APIs. You are asking questions like:

  • What is the value proposition of an API?
  • What is the business model behind the product we are going to create?

When you then go to use API Design First to create the APIs during the API First process, you can leverage the research and strategy from previous steps by asking:

  • How did we imagine this solution?
  • How do we solve this business problem?
  • How do we get real business outcomes from this by having a good design?

How does API First work with the Full API Lifecycle Management process?

API First¬†feeds and powers the Full API Lifecycle Management process. The stages of an API’s Lifecycle can include things such as:

  • Designing and Planning your APIs
  • Creating your APIs
  • Securing your APIs
  • Documenting your APIs
  • Testing your APIs
  • Versioning your APIs
  • Deploying or Publishing your APIs
  • Monetizing your APIs
  • Observing and Managing your APIs
  • Scaling your APIs
  • Making your APIs Discoverable
  • Retiring (or Sunsetting) your APIs

Throughout the Full API Lifecycle Management process, you will view your APIs through the lens of your business strategy. API as a Product will allow every level of your organization to make API decisions knowing how this product fits into your enterprise and how it adds business value. Knowing the business value added by your APIs can make a world of difference to the success of your API Platform.

API First, DevOps, Business Ops, Product Ops, and more!

Watch the full interview with API Expert, Brian Otten, to hear even more about how API First enables and empowers your organization through DevOps, Business Ops, Product Ops, and more!

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