by Tony Harris
• June 1, 2021
You can’t leverage today’s business technology without making use of APIs. Nor would you want to. The advantages and benefits of API usage are too great to pass up. APIs have evolved to be more than just useful bits of code. They can be products that expand your business offerings and turn you into a platform. But not all APIs are alike. There are three main types of APIs: private, partner, and open. Private APIs are exclusively for a business’s internal use. Partner APIs are shared among specific business partners with open or public APIs available for customers and third-party developers to use. Exposing an organization’s business capabilities is often done to achieve a select number of benefits – read on to see why many organizations are choosing to employ open APIs.
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This will probably be the one immediate benefit you’ll see from developing an open API. Offering your data or services to the the developer community gives third-party developers something to model an API on and can result in suggested improvements and enhancements that may not be immediately apparent. Allowing third-parties to use your API can enable an organization to be part of emerging technology and to understand how their API can contribute to downstream applications. These applications could be small projects or possibly even spark the creation of the next big industry, like ride share services made possible with the use of Google Maps’ API.
Opening your API will also give you another opportunity to monetize your data or services. You could use this opportunity to turn your API into a new revenue stream.
Open APIs give businesses an ability to organically expand it’s user base and can be achieved by exchanging an API for the contact of information of personnel within a particular business. Marketing campaigns can then be developed to build brand awareness to users who may be more highly qualified and therefore likely to be interested in consuming your product directly themselves. This enables a business to access the market and target users of another business and in doing so provide a means to identify potential leads.
Open APIs are a good way to boost your business’s brand awareness and draw crowds, as the opportunities for new development help drive user engagement.
In today’s current climate of knowing how businesses use customer data and information, many businesses find that an open API enables greater transparency and therefore builds greater trust between themselves and their customers. In an age of social media and round-the-clock news coverage, the desire for transparency is higher than ever. The release of a public API can act as a window into an organization, letting developers and other users see exactly what your services are and how they work and at the same time, dispelling any negative perceptions that may exist with regard to the practices of an organization.
But that’s not to say that you can’t still implement some level of security. APIs allow you to expose your data and services without compromising your internal systems.
APIs aren’t just for businesses. Nonprofits and public agencies also make use of APIs. Making your API public means these groups have easier access to your services — and a chance to use them for social good. This can be especially important in times when funding is scarce, especially if the volunteers aren’t programmers themselves. Organizations can do more with open source software, and open APIs can make it easier for nonprofits to collaborate and work together toward a common interest.
DreamFactory’s full-service API management platform can help you get started with your API development process. You can build one from scratch in minutes using your existing database and DreamFactory’s unique platform. No coding knowledge is necessary on your end. Our API experts are ready to help you navigate some of the essentials when creating an API and can assist in helping your business effectively secure, document and deploy your API. Build your first API today or integrate your existing APIs with our software. Our platform includes a wealth of information and resources to help you keep building on your existing business technology.
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