Enterprise API Strategy

The five maturity stages of API adoption

The five maturity stages of API adoption

API adoption in large organizations may have been slow at first, but statistics show it is growing — with no signs of slowing down soon. A recent survey shows more than three-quarters of business leaders are prioritizing API initiatives in the next year.

As APIs establish more of a firm footing within business operations, the question becomes how to ensure these digital products retain their stability and scalability over time. That’s where API maturity comes into the picture.

Following a five-stage journey that’s often observed as organizations evolve, businesses can assess where they can improve their API adoption to align with ongoing strategies and initiatives and use feedback and metrics to support these digital efforts.

The five stages to increasing the digital business value of APIs

1. Operational efficiency

In the quest for digital transformation, some companies take a more timid approach. For these businesses, API adoption focuses on boosting operational efficiency by modernizing IT infrastructure. They use APIs as a tool to modernize information system and integrate with newer technologies.

While a valuable step in its own right, this level fails to capitalize on the business value that APIs can unlock when directly tied to delivering better customer experiences or establishing digital ecosystems.

2. Productivity

Alongside the goal of operational efficiency, many API adoption strategies are built around the goal of improving internal processes to boost productivity. They use APIs to adopt agile methodological processes and gain velocity, and they begin to develop more APIs.

From centralizing workflows to eliminating redundant processes, this inward turn on your business processes helps free up resources for other mission-critical tasks. This is one step toward expansion, but the connection to external-facing systems invites more opportunities for growth.

3. Customer experience

Backed by the right strategy, APIs have the power to shape internal processes and address the needs of current and future customers alike. At this stage, APIs are used to enrich customer experiences, expanding a company’s distribution network to naturally integrate into the digital showcases of applications and partner sites.

With the potential for externalization and monetization down the road, the proper time and thought must be put into the design, language, and other variables associated with the API. This is often where organizations start to develop a more comprehensive API strategy, ideally with a focus on business value.

4. Open Everything for full participation in ecosystems

Thinking about APIs in the context of the marketplace and monetization opportunities, these organizations adopt an API First approach, exposing business capabilities as APIs to deliver products and services.

They expose open APIs publicly, building them to easily integrate with other applications and systems; a win-win for all parties involved. Companies that publish APIs externally enjoy new revenue streams, while the ones using these APIs in their applications can more efficiently fuel innovation.

Open enterprises understand that simply creating APIs is not a recipe for success; rather, the value of APIs is in their adoption and consumption. They curate and monetize their APIs in a central marketplace to simplify API adoption and get digital services to the market faster.

5. Digital transformation

Many companies incrementally approach digital transformation, addressing specific business and IT challenges as they surface. But for modern innovators, the need for strategic change on a grander scale (perhaps because of an impending threat) can prompt them to embrace all aspects of digital transformation.

This includes higher process efficiency or business agility, an enhanced customer experience, as well as a revised business model that leverages external innovation and an expanding ecosystem.

As Axway Catalyst Emmanuel Methivier puts it, once an organization adopts a platform model, they can fully participate in the network economy.

“The technical API then fades behind the vision of the API as an agent of business transformation, where we no longer think of ourselves as a service provider or consumer, but as an intermediary of this interconnection.”

With a digital service marketplace, the most mature organizations profoundly transform their business model to take advantage of all the levers offered by the laws of digital technology. They transition from treating APIs and other integrations as simple digital assets to valuing and marketing them as real digital products.

Examples of API adoption with Axway Amplify Platform

On the road to digital transformation, Axway has helped companies of various sizes and industries accelerate their efforts.

From the development of APIs to their security and governance, to exposing API products to partners and third parties on a digital marketplace, our Amplify Platform and Enterprise Marketplace help API product managers drive business results.

CommonSpirit Health delivers next-level patient care

Backed by the goal to enhance the patient experience, CommonSpirit Health — one of the nation’s largest nonprofit hospital chains — strived to combine data from its existing records with advanced digital technologies, methodologies, and frameworks.

With Amplify, the hospital chain could secure the exchange of legacy data with a catalog of approved APIs to fast-track healthcare innovation.

This standardization and strict governance have enabled virtual physician consultations, home-based healthcare, precision medicine, and other services to enhance patient experiences.

AVEM accelerates onboarding and improves customer experience

When one of AVEM’s banking clients engaged them about digitizing processes — specifically, signing paper contracts and forms to order consumables — the specialist provider of payment services saw the chance to build a reusable solution with an API-enabled architecture.

Through its central API catalog, AVEM has used Amplify Platform to expose 80 microservices that follow common customer journeys and are reusable across clients. The result has been 90% faster onboarding for new banking clients, with the agility to easily accommodate system changes as objectives evolve.

Speeding up pharmaceutical innovation with an API marketplace

One global pharmaceutical leader set out to more tightly align APIs with business capabilities, so they worked with Axway Catalysts to achieve an efficient, scalable approach to API development.

They started creating easy-to-adopt digital products — bundles of well-documented API assets that address specific business needs. Because these digital products are delivered via a central API marketplace, the organization also avoids duplicating APIs.

 “By breaking out of the mindset of small, siloed API teams, we have totally reimagined the experience for both API producers and consumers,” says a spokesperson.

Now, the pharma company is streamlining data access, accelerating clinical trials, growing e-commerce revenues, and more.

Focus on business value, prepare to evolve again

In practice, there are no fixed lines for enterprise digital efforts, but there are two key things to remember, whatever path you are on:

  1. The more business value your efforts can deliver, the greater the impact. In this rapidly-changing digital world, faster has never been more important.
  2. It’s important to look at digital business strategically, not just focusing on projects but on building the ability to adapt to continual change.

Wherever you find yourself on the path to digital transformation, Axway has the expertise and the right set of capabilities to support you along your API journey.

Download our checklist for 5 steps you can take now to drive API adoption.