How can you ensure your API strategy is a success? In a recent interview on the API Intersection Podcast, VP of Axway Catalysts Brian Otten says the best enterprise API strategy must be business-driven.
API Intersection is a podcast on the intersection between API design & digital transformation, hosted by Stoplight CTO Jason Harmon. On the podcast, Harmon answers listener questions and discusses best practices on API design (definition, modeling, grammar), Governance (multi-team design, reviewing new APIs), Platform Transformation (culture, internal education, versioning) and more.
Brian Otten recently joined Harmon to discuss three common API challenges – and how to solve them. He also explains what the Axway Catalysts do and how they have the opportunity to consult with customers around the world and across different industries.
Working with an Axway Catalyst
This team of API experts uses their combined expertise and experiences with customers to challenge API leaders to think about organizational alignment or how they’re operationalizing their API strategy.
Importantly, they help make it easier for teams to get on board with the strategy and then track and measure its success.
“Everybody talks about API lifecycle, but in reality there are three lifecycles going on,” Otten explains on the podcast.
“There’s the business operations people coming up with the ideas, the innovation, the applications, the functionality and features needed to make their customers happy.
But then there’s also the DevOps, which is another operational thing where people want to go faster and automate and deliver consistently and continuously.
And the missing piece is the Product Operations piece. That’s really an opportunity for the business product people and the technology product people to come together.”
Axway Catalysts help teams move beyond requests to build an API to get X data from Y backend system. What has to happen first, Otten, explains, is a discussion about value proposition.
“That’s what we try to do, is to say, let’s work it out, get together, collaborate, maybe whiteboard it out on a canvas for the value prop and think about what you’re solving for. Think about the pains, the gains, think about what the tasks are that people have to do.
And then from there you can decide that actually, an API would be perfect for this.”
Designing APIs more purposefully
“That gets you away from being just a call center where someone’s ordering me to make a little Lego brick and connect A to B. Now, as a technology team, you can actually start to grow and an API designer is going to feel like they’re more part of the business effort”
This process can then inform the API design, and Otten adds it helps ensure you don’t have to redo the process, or risk missing important elements or consumers that the team could have considered up front.
“This way, you also don’t build it just for one API consumer, and when the next one comes along you don’t have to completely rework it, spending a whole bunch of time and money doing that. Now you have real, truly reusable API components and products.”
Evolving digital strategies
In the interview, Otten also chimes in on how enterprises are starting to evolve in their thinking and preparing for the next step: monetization.
“It’s exciting because we are engaging with a lot of people on the digital strategy side, whether it’s banking or transportation, these really big digital initiatives… And we’re starting to see it more and more because they can own the roadmaps, they can start to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got bits of our business that we really think we could unlock some value here with APIs.’
And of course, you’re starting to see enterprises looking at the monetization or commercialization of APIs. That’s another way to engage with digital strategy: people who really see this as a business opportunity to open new revenue channels or build a bigger ecosystem with their partners and actually charge for it and make some money for the business off of APIs.”
At this level, an API marketplace can offer the tools Product Managers and developers need to execute on an aligned API First strategy. See how one leading pharmaceutical company is speeding up innovation with an API marketplace here.
Watch Brian Otten’s full interview about API strategy and design in the video below or follow this link to listen wherever you get your podcasts.
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