How are your API initiatives contributing to business outcomes?
It’s a natural question for business leaders to have to justify API investments. But for folks on the operational side, connecting the dots can be a challenge.
Sure, transaction metrics are useful in measuring the impact of an enterprise API strategy. The real value, though, comes from considering the alignment of API metrics and business outcomes upfront.
It gets you thinking about the context and framework around your API strategy and which KPIs to focus on.
Where are you in your API journey?
An enterprise API strategy often starts out with the goal of modernization. If you’re at this point in the journey, you’re likely considering moving workloads to the cloud(s) to eliminate silos.
Other businesses, meanwhile, may have a good grasp on using APIs across their infrastructure. So now, their efforts are on driving API adoption. They’re looking at creating new offerings for partners and enhancing the marketing of these business assets.
Acknowledging where you are in your API journey is a useful first step. It helps you begin to think about business goals and API metrics that correlate with these objectives.
Where do APIs fit into your operations?
In API delivery, there are three operational pipelines to consider — each with its own objectives and initiatives:
- BizOps: Drive alignment and a collaborative strategy around digital products and services that deliver on strategic business goals.
- ProductOps: Design and deliver digital products and services in a meaningful way that meets the goals of business value propositions.
- PlatformOps: Ensure that digital products and services are integrated and monitored to support developers’ ability to use them.
At the borders of these areas, where hand-offs are common, keeping tabs on API metrics is especially important. It’s here you can unlock opportunities to use automation to your advantage and create a more streamlined process.
Which KPIs will support your initiatives?
You can think about API product intelligence in four buckets: delivery, performance and quality, adoption, and value.
The first two are more tied to the producer experience; the latter two are more to the consumer experience.
Individuals focused on the producer experience are asking questions like: Can we deliver APIs faster with more automation? Can we ensure that teams are conforming to the proper standards?
Meanwhile, on the consumer experience side, individuals are bouncing around questions like: Can we understand who’s adopting the APIs? How can we get adoption rates up?
Considering these two trains of thought can help you start to think about the API metrics you want to measure.
From a performance perspective, there’s the number of transactions per API per day. By monitoring daily volumes, you can have a better sense of what your API endpoints need to be able to support. It’s a way for providers to meet SLAs while identifying opportunities for growth.
On the adoption side of things, there’s the API reuse rate. API reuse is the lifeblood of your organization, as it tells you whether your digital capabilities really fit into a true enterprise API strategy. After all, once you’ve built an API, your team is looking for ways to capitalize on the time you’ve already invested in it.
How will you align these KPIs to business values?
As you define API metrics to measure, you can start to link them to some of the definitive parts of your business at an enterprise level.
Are we growing our revenue? Are we enabling our teams to operate better? Are we ensuring that we’re opening up our organization in a secure way?
Unlocking the answers to these questions through API metrics is easier with a product mindset. You’re thinking about the problem you’re trying to solve in the first place with an API and defining a user experience that supports API consumption.
As you work through these steps, you’ll have a better understanding of the information you need to support an enterprise API strategy and where to focus your attention from an API metrics standpoint.
“It’s all about trying to influence the right behavior, because that’s why we use metrics and analytics in the first place. What do we need to adapt? What do we need to change?” – Brian Otten, Chief Catalyst, North America V.P.