Woman who is building an API Ecosystem

API adoption is at an all-time high. According to research by Coleman Parkes Research, 88 percent of enterprises use them. With Application Programming Interface ecosystems, businesses can share their existing assets and capabilities with external parties. They can extend the value of these Application Programming Interfaces both internally and externally to share knowledge, tools and resources. Building an API ecosystem allow organizations to remain agile while delivering products faster than ever before. The Coleman Parks Research reports that 54 percent of enterprises surveyed believed that using Application Programming Interfaces improved their innovation and speed to market.

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Why Building an API Ecosystem Matters

According to Forbes, “While APIs have been around for decades, the capabilities of these increasingly sophisticated tools are now indispensable to businesses. APIs have become the essential component that empowers companies to securely and quickly exchange data and information with the outside world.”

A well-designed ecosystem can help an organization extend its revenue and customer channels by providing one common platform for all of the different types of stakeholders. It can also be a great way to achieve increased reach and greater innovation through open access to data from multiple sources, as well as better omnichannel strategies. For example, having APIs mean that websites (web apps), mobile apps, Internet of Things systems are all developed on a single interface—not just one specific channel. Additionally, it enables organizational agility in terms of managing their platforms more efficiently and reusing them rather than developing everything new each time. With DreamFactory’s API management platform you can realize organizational agility by being able to build and deploy new APIs in minutes.

1—The Key to Building a Thriving API Ecosystem Is To Understand Your Customer

The first step to creating an API ecosystem is understanding who you want to engage. A successful ecosystem is not just about sharing information with users, but also about providing a great user experience and developing necessary tools. This includes recognizing the needs of your target audience, developing a flexible and easy-to-use application that allows users and companies to connect.

2—Treat Your API Ecosystem as a Core Business Capability

A business capability is an organization’s ability to perform a unique business activity. Organizations that want to build a thriving ecosystem treat their APIs as valuable assets. They see them as products and services that position them as differentiators in their market. This way of looking at things helps them use the ecosystem to drive their business strategy. Rather than being developed as an isolated solution, each can be developed with a specific goal of how it will fit into what is needed to drive business strategy.

3—Develop Monetization Strategies

APIs increase in value the more connected it is to the broader ecosystem of other developers, applications and partners. To foster an ecosystem, it’s important to create an API business model. This will help companies understand what revenue streams can be generated and how they’ll mesh with each other. What are the different types of businesses that can benefit from them? How can they be monetized? All these questions must be answered to be successful in your company’s pursuit of building an API ecosystem.

4—Collaborate to Create Value from Your API Ecosystem

In the traditional way of business, the main strategy was to build barriers to shield the core knowledge or product from the competition. With the new platform business model, barriers discourage collaboration. Application Programming Interfaces offer potential partners a way to tap into a company’s data and services in ways that are controlled, predictable and reliable. DreamFactory’s robust API management platform helps you control every aspect of your ecosystem from development through deployment.

5—Build Your API Ecosystem

Design, test and start building the APIs necessary for your ecosystem. Use an Application Programming Interface management tool to manage the full lifecycle of the process from development through secure deployment. With a management system, you’ll be able to standardize and control access to and use of each asset necessary in the building of your API ecosystem.

6—Promote Adoption

Encouraging others to use the Application Programming Interface is a step that many companies do not get right. They build one with the assumption that it will promote itself. The reality is that getting others to use it requires marketing, customer education and leading the developer community to promote its usage. 

7—Successful API Ecosystems Experiment, Iterate and Repeat to Create Value 

Taking the time to assess prospective customers’ needs is a critical step in developing successful products. Unfortunately, many businesses do not take this step. They press on enthusiastically but blindly and their ideas often fail. Building, measuring and learning are the most fundamental processes to agility. Rapid iterations based on customer feedback validate or invalidate basic assumptions about a market need and whether the product meets that need. With DreamFactory’s API management system, you can quickly create, deploy, test, and reiterate through their lifecycle.

Generate a full-featured,documented, and secure REST API in minutes.

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Building an API Ecosystem with DreamFactory

DreamFactory’s API management as a service platform makes it easy to build and manage your ecosystem. Start by creating your first Application Programming Interface in minutes with no coding necessary on your end. Once you have created all of them, DreamFactory can help you manage them and continue to add new features for your customized ecosystem.

Ready to get started? Take our guided tour with sample data or start building your Application Programming Interface immediately. Sign up for your free trial and learn how to build, run and manage all of your assets in one place.