by Tony Harris
• June 8, 2021
When you introduce an API to your technology stack, you must also consider how it will interact with the other moving parts of your business. This is especially true if you have an external-facing API. Consider the end user, software vendors, business partners, third-party developers, and internal stakeholders. It can be complicated to juggle all of these interests, but the benefits to your business pay off immensely. So how does your API ecosystem deliver benefits to your business? Read on to find out how.
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The API ecosystem refers to your existing APIs and how they interact with other technology, partners, business users and customers. This includes your own integrated apps, programs, and microservices, of which you likely have many. But it also includes any third-party data and services at your disposal. Every time you integrate the products and services of an outside developer, you contribute to your own API ecosystem. Share your own data and services with a third party and you’ve just joined their ecosystem. But have you ever considered what this ecosystem means and how it can be leveraged to enhance your business’ performance?
Business technology has changed so drastically in recent years that enterprises often need to rethink their entire organizational structure in order to keep pace. These efforts are part of a greater digital transformation strategy and APIs are at the center of these plans more often than not as they perform the vital role of connecting data sources and integrating a vast array of systems, applications and platforms.
Businesses often aim to transform into what’s called a composable enterprise. They don’t want to be bound by the technological limitations of their current software stack. Going composable doesn’t just mean they’re able to pick and choose from existing apps and services. It also means they’re in a better position to adjust to new technological changes in the future. APIs facilitate this by simplifying integration, making every app connect in one place instead of individually to every other app it talks to.
The old saying, “the customer is always right,” is still true to a degree. The customer experience remains paramount in business, and all the latest tech advancements spring from new and changing expectations, along with a desire to improve the customer’s overall experience. As your businesses customers are an important part of the API ecosystem, many organizations are finding ways to improve customer experience through leveraging the flexibility and scalability afforded by APIs.
When looking at your customer experience, use your API’s capabilities to see where users are engaged and where customers fall away. By doing so, you can identify areas to improve customer value. Identify channel gaps and find new services, whether internal or external, to fill them in. Optimize your digital supply chain by spotting your API’s dependencies and identifying potential areas of improvement. Additionally, an API will accommodate all the data and services in one interface, while adding authentication and other security measures to keep your systems safe.
API integration gives you a new opportunity to look at the big picture of your data and services. Once you unlock your enterprise’s data silos and unify all of your data, new opportunities for analysis and discovery await. Delivering connected experiences requires a lot of data – this data resides in on average of 900 different systems and applications across the enterprise, demonstrating the scale of the problem that many organization’s face when getting the right data to the right place at the right time. Integrating and unifying data across these systems is critical to create a single view of the data and to provide consistent reliable insights to your employees and customers who need this data. As the amount of systems and applications continue to grow exponentially, organization’s realize that key to their success — and their organization’s success — is unlocking the data, wherever it exists, in a way that helps them deliver value faster.
But an API ecosystem need not be just for you. Expose your integrated apps, services, and data to the greater API economy and allow third-party developers to work with your business capabilities. Not only can new developers take your services in a new direction, you have an opportunity to gain a new revenue stream by monetizing your API. Many big names in the tech industry and others do just that.
DreamFactory’s API management as a service platform makes it easy to build and manage your own API ecosystem. Start by building your first API from scratch in minutes, with no coding necessary on your end. Or convert your current SOAP web services by wrapping them in a REST API for added flexibility and improved integration with current API standards. Once you have created your APIs, DreamFactory can help you manage and continue to build from them. With industry-leading API management tools and a wealth of resources for adding new features, you can curate your ideal API ecosystem in an afternoon.
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