The API is a strategic asset, not a tactical fix. It must be aligned with the business strategy to succeed. Today’s businesses rely on software that is interoperable with many other platforms. If a business wants to make its data and computing capabilities available to countless potential users, why not publicize the underlying source code?
Application programming interfaces (APIs) enable applications to interact without knowing anything about the other. It simplifies complex interactions.
API strategy components
POI API strategy will succeed when your organization’s culture is aligned, technology is built, and an ecosystem is nurtured. API strategy should help APIs be more innovative and competitive.
1. Map out your API strategy
Build a business case and prototype your API strategy first. It is a crucial first step in building an API strategy that works.
- Engage stakeholders in identifying potential problems, opportunities, and team member competencies.
- Know your API’s target audience: Understand their needs and how to design your API for them.
- During this step, verify that you’re on track with your ecosystem and business model planning. Are you satisfied with your API model?
- Start defining user journeys and prototyping. Make sure you understand them. Design workflows and prototype them.
- Create an API roadmap: Start shaping your API roadmap here. Using diagrams to describe your API strategy is another good option.
- If you haven’t done so, start discussing your roadmap and preliminary work with upper management today. The next phase, when you align organizations, relies on their buy-in and support.
2. Identify and align your API values
Besides your roadmap, you’ll want to work on culture – your API strategy has a cultural component that engages your organization. Your company will likely need to spend more on APIs that will be a significant part of your product ecosystem. You may need a culture around your API strategy, for example, if your API is for external use and eventual engagement from consumers.
- Your API vision should be announced to your organization as it is relevant to them. Your API strategy needs to be known and acknowledged within your organization.
- Your API strategy and vision should emphasize values such as privacy, security, reliability, and trust. Ensure stakeholders and your API strategy are aware of these values.
- Pay attention to your API strategy’s human resources needs so you can hire and train the right team.
- Product-centered culture prepares you to serve your API’s internal and external customers. You’re able to see where you can improve your API.
3. Develop the ecosystem
Even if much of the API’s technical details have already been decided, there may still be platform, lifecycle, and other considerations to address. How far is your API from retirement? Your API is probably “younger” and at the beginning of its lifecycle if you are building the ecosystem now. Your API ecosystem’s maturity and the technical and business plans for the rest of your lifecycle are vital factors.
- Establish which KPIs are the most indicative for tracking your API strategy’s progress and API performance. You can use a dashboard for this.
- Be prepared for resource use and performance changes as your API ecosystem grows.
- Make sure security isn’t weak with your API by deciding what security best practices are suitable for you.
4. Build your API community
All your other work will be useless if your audience does not know about your API. You will need to prepare marketing campaigns, create training and certification plans, and develop feedback and support loops, depending on how your API will be used internally and externally.
Even if you’re using your API internally, start planning how you’ll promote it. How will you advertise? If you want external users and partnerships, you need a developer portal. You need to figure out how you’ll market to and help third parties.
- Training & certification: If applicable, start thinking about how your API will be trained and certified.
- Get ready to offer product and user support.
- Cultivate strategic partnerships. Find potential partners.