API Strategy Fundamentals: Align the Organization | Dreamfactory

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Companies that have an API strategy are more likely to complete projects on schedule, innovate more quickly, reduce operational costs, and create new revenue streams. However, to participate in the ever-growing API economy, organizations must first develop a strategic and methodological approach to APIs. A key element of this approach is ensuring alignment within the organization.

Aligning your organization and its culture around the new, game-changing experiences that APIs can create never happens by accident. This alignment requires the digital vision to be socialized throughout the organization, going far beyond executive buy-in and management teams. At every level of your organization, members buy buy-in with real belief, pushing the business toward outcomes that your digital strategy clearly outlines.

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Align With Your Business Sponsor

It's not possible to overestimate the importance of aligning your API program with the objectives of your business sponsor. This sponsor must have an "outside-in" view of the organization and its budget, along with the authority to implement changes throughout the organization. The sponsor's "outside-in" view is going to address crucial elements, like the needs of the business along with its customers' pain points. This means, in order for the sponsor to adopt the strategy, it must be created around these elements.

The business objectives your strategy may address will vary widely, but often come down to:

  • Increasing revenue channels
  • Reducing time-to-market
  • Improving customer experience
  • Boosting customer loyal
  • Increasing partnerships
  • Decreasing integrations and onboarding costs
  • Bringing new innovations to the market

Ideally, your API strategy will take specific use cases, challenges, and goals, aligning them together so that the business sponsor can clearly see the benefits of implementing the strategy. This same plan will help you get buy-in from all stakeholders since you're focusing on solving genuine challenges your company is experiencing.

Push Executives to Drive Adjustments

Fostering executive buy-in is a crucial step in strategy adoption, but the same executives who first supported the digital strategy must go on to drive cultural and organizational adjustments throughout the organization. Without these adjustments, the chances of your digital strategy succeeding plummet.

To activate executives and ensure they support the API strategy's adoption, follow these best practices:

  • Ensure that leadership strategy is closely integrated with business strategy. Aside from laying out the vision, executives should have a clear understanding of the role they play in that vision, and the ROI and anticipated outcomes for the company at large.
  • Enlist the entire organization in your change initiatives. This requires a multi-faceted approach that goes far beyond a meeting or memo. Executives, management, and every tier throughout departments should be made to feel a part of the plan.
  • Add context to the plans and explain their relevancy to ensure understanding of the strategy. Creating programs oriented around your strategy's implementation and outcomes will boost engagement and support.
  • Assign a sense of purpose to the adoption of your API strategy. Both individuals and organizations are more motivated to implement changes when they understand the outcome and its benefits for the company, its teams, and its customers.

Aligning your API strategy with your organization at every level requires a multi-pronged approach, which must be planned and implemented in steps, just as any other major undertaking. DreamFactory has advised thousands of companies on their API projects, and we can help your organization, too. Learn more about the benefits of partnering with DreamFactory.

Realize The Many Roles of IT Leaders

As new technologies emerge, major digital transformations are becoming a common concern for companies, and it may seem natural to shift the burden to your IT leaders. However, while IT may handle much of the heavy lifting involved in delivering technological changes such as an API program to your organization, there's far more to this addition than the actual implementation.

To be successful, your API strategy requires your entire organization to adapt to a new way of working, and this could mean re-addressing silos and reorienting how other departments view IT. Some projects will require your IT team to be highly involved and they may even play an influencer role as the project rolls out, but the actual leadership of the project should not be placed upon the shoulders of your IT teams.

As demands on your IT resources increase across the board, fostering cross-team collaboration and project ownership is critical to the successful and efficient adoption of your API strategy. So, while your IT leader may play an active role in the implementation process, recognize that they have many shoes to fill and success requires true cross-departmental alignment--the burden of change should never fall on just one team or department.

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Partner with API Experts

When it comes to overcoming the complexities of developing and implementing an API strategy for your organization, one of the best ways to avoid pitfalls and ensure success is by partnering with an API expert like DreamFactory. After helping thousands of other organizations pull off their strategic implementations, we're confident we can speed up your organization's timeline and keep you on budget.

Interested in learning more about how DreamFactory can help your company succeed in its API strategy adoption initiative? Explore our products and start your 14-day free trial to test them out for yourself.