With the current trend of moving data and applications to the cloud, data needs to pass through various systems, where Application Program Interfaces (APIs) are used to link components with each other, mobile devices and browsers. It can be an organization’s dilemma to willingly risk exposing its data to external systems over the internet, but ambitious business leaders realize that the key to successful business is its willingness to employ the best technology to meet business needs on a scale unmatched by its peers. By exposing internal enterprise data and application functionality via APIs to external applications on mobile devices, consoles and affiliate Web sites, an organization can transform its business into an extensible platform that the digital future requires and unlock new revenue streams called the API Economy.
How an organization can monetize existing applications and data using APIs depends on the product, the business model and innovation. Some companies expose core features allowing developers and end-users to find innovative ways to incorporate the organizations features and services into new social and mobile applications
Twitter and Facebook rely on APIs to drive much of the usage that makes their platforms valuable by expanding engagement beyond their primary user interfaces via third-party Web, mobile and social applications.
A small retailer might integrate with Amazon’s Store API, which would allow it to sell and ship merchandise from its own Web property without developing standalone e-commerce functionality. At a mass scale perspective, this opened up an entirely new channel (and economy) for small and medium-sized merchants.
Consider another example of a large financial spread betting company that offers retail investors leveraged access to over ten thousand financial markets through their dealing platform and mobile applications. With a secure API Management solution in place, the spread betting company exposes trading systems, relevant data and indexes via APIs, enabling its clients to easily integrate on a self-serve basis in a secure, managed, metered and monitored way allowing third parties to perform and execute trades programmatically, without the necessity of using the company’s desktop or mobile clients. By keeping track of how APIs are consumed by various developers, products etc., the spread betting company has the capability to monetize existing data and applications via its APIs. This is just an example of one of the ways to monetize. A company’s monetizing capability really depends on the ability of the business leader’s creativity and innovation.
Choosing the right API Management solution is an important aspect not just for IT but for the business leader as well to reap the agility benefits needed to support digital initiatives. Digital enterprises require a proven technology with deep integration capabilities to build APIs on top of existing applications. Ease of API design, API request transformation features, SOAP to REST conversion, mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS), API rate limiting, and metering (analytics) are some of core capabilities that one should look for when researching an API Management solution.