You may remember that famous line from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, he will come.” While this sentiment works in the movies, it doesn’t realistically work for APIs.
Businesses need to think of APIs as products in their creation and in how they are presented to and consumed by their target audience. Only then can you start to see a return on your API investments.
The first step in driving business value from your APIs is knowing the extent of your API sprawl and bringing structure to the resources you have.
Step one: Get all your APIs in one place
As the API landscape grows larger — with some companies relying on tens of thousands of APIs — it can become more difficult for businesses to keep a handle on all the APIs they have. Running an automatic discovery of all the APIs in your infrastructure can provide visibility into every capability available.
What you might realize in this discovery process is that you have a lot of APIs that lack ownership. That’s an issue you’ll want to correct, as no ownership means no management.
You might also find redundant and unused APIs. By getting rid of these unnecessary APIs, you can reduce your API landscape so it’s more manageable while also lowering costs.
Step two: Curate and organize the APIs you have
Once you realize what you have and the APIs you want to preserve, the next step is to implement structure. This is the stage where you start to group APIs together logically so you can deliver them as business capabilities.
Alongside the grouping of API assets, this is the stage where you start to think about API lifecycle management.
Can you wrap a value proposition around your digital products? Have you thought about business documentation and how to simplify the use of your digital products? You’ll also want to consider roles and permissions associated with these products.
Step three: Build APIs into products
Whereas API-as-a-product refers to lifecycle management, API product refers to consumer management. Simply put, API-as-a-product relates to the creation of APIs. API product is what this looks like for your target audience.
You have to package APIs in a way that makes sense to your consumers.
What kind of subscription plans do they prefer? What pricing plans are appealing to them?
You’ll need to define these variables in your API marketplace — the place where you will market the API products you have curated and managed.
But often, it’s not just a matter of one API marketplace — it’s multiple API marketplaces.
Realistically, you may want to speak differently to different audiences, and that could mean making different products and plans available to different audiences.
Multiple marketplaces allow you to create tailored experiences for individual markets. While advantageous, you’ll want to make sure it’s as easy as possible for you to publish APIs in multiple places, avoiding the need to duplicate work.
A strategy to support API-enabled digital products
There are clear incentives for enabling a digital strategy with APIs. Businesses will have an easier time working with you. You can unlock the power of what you already have to bring products and services to the market faster.
And, perhaps the biggest driver of all, you’ll bring in more money for your business.
Before you can access this value, you need to discover what you have, organize it, manage it, and market it. The good news is platforms like Amplify Platform help support the API provider and consumer experience.
While automating the discovery of all your APIs through a secure gateway, the Amplify API management platform allows you to manage every aspect of the API lifecycle.
This includes the API marketplace where internal and external developers can discover your APIs and reuse versus recreate them.
After all, that’s what we’re striving for in this entire journey: reusability.