When business leaders think about their organization’s data, they might think about records kept in on-premises systems or even in cloud applications, but they generally think of that data as very much inside the business. But what if those data assets could be reimagined and repackaged as a complete service and then exposed, inside and outside the business, through APIs? Now enterprise data not only has the possibility to spur growth but also provide new revenue streams for the business. It all begins with a great API strategy.
Ross Mason, our founder and VP of product strategy, and Uri Sarid, our CTO, have outlined the possibilities for APIs in the Wall Street Journal. They make the point that businesses have two approaches to API strategy: they can either build APIs on a project-by-project basis, or they can “build an internal discipline for creating APIs strategically. Put a team together to build the initial APIs, create definitions for what APIs mean to your organization, and define common traits so you’re not reinventing the wheel each time.” This approach to API strategy requires a business to think slightly differently about how their technology assets are managed, but not only does this approach save time (and therefore money) for IT teams, it enables the business to consider the assets that really matter and how to make them into compelling business offerings.
We’ve highlighted companies that are using APIs to build new revenue streams as traditional ones declined; the lessons learned from those companies is that strategic thinking about core competencies as well as competitive differentiators enable business to turn their data into sellable services via APIs. That thought process around API strategy is a new way of imagining the value of data, and it’s a natural way for IT leaders to evolve their roles.
Ross and Uri lay out a blueprint for how to go about reimagining the way your business thinks of APIs. “Set up a developer program and educate staff about APIs, “ they advise. “Switch the mindset so that IT thinks not just about building, testing, and runtimes, but about delivering the data—the assets of value. Consider a new role: the cross-functional project manager who can weave together various systems into a compelling new business offering.”
Digital disruption doesn’t just mean headaches for the business – API strategy can turn it into an extraordinary opportunity for the business. Any company, no matter what industry it’s in or how settled a business model, can benefit from an API strategy. We have lots of resources to help change the thinking about what you’re doing with your enterprise data; take a look and see what benefits APIs can bring your company.