How to build a business-led API strategy and get the most out of your APIs

APIs are known to unlock opportunities for businesses. They can help businesses innovate at a faster pace, create new revenue opportunities, automate back end operations, and more.

According to Luis Weir, author of the book Enterprise API Management, more companies need to realise the business value of APIs by creating their own business-led API strategy.

During an interview on the Coding over Cocktails podcast, Weir said that organisations finding and realising their API strategies should be a number one priority, and that they should use these technologies to understand the business problem that they’re trying to solve.

“Some organisations can be clearer and bolder as to what they’re trying to achieve. The outcome they’re expecting is they want to digitalise their organisation, expose information assets and functionality, such that any channel application can get access to the same information at any point in time.” he says.

However, a trap organisations can fall into is that they believe that “they need to do APIs because it’s a thing”.

“These organisations invest a lot on the platform and the technology aspects, without necessarily understanding what they were trying to do with it — I’ve seen a lot of investment going into these projects without the organisation really realising any business benefit.”

Thus, it becomes truly important to identify the potential problems that APIs can solve and how to measure the success of these APIs to ensure that the organisation is achieving its business goals.

APIs becoming the norm

As businesses continue to implement APIs, Weir explained that adoption has started to become a norm.

“APIs are not the thing you talk about because they’re already part of your architecture, right? APIs become part of your way of building cloud native applications. The conversation is shifting as to what it is that we need to do as an organisation to compete and how we do that. And therefore, you see the conversation shifting into multiple areas.” Weir adds.

Weir observed this shift in the hospitality industry, where “APIs are their honey”.

“The APIs are the thing that the bees are trying to get to, but the bees themselves represent a community and are building that community. And enriching that community and growing that community, making sure that that community has all the tools, all the information, all the aid, all the knowledge, all the understanding they need in order to take advantage of that honey, becomes as important as the honey itself. And without understanding what it takes to handle that community than a strategy overall, your digital strategy could not realise the benefits that it could.” he shares.

Streaming APIs

Further into the conversation, we also asked Weir about Streaming APIs, a subject he has become very passionate about due to his work in Oracle Hospitality as the Senior Director for Integrations and API Strategy.

According to Weir, “maintaining that instant synchronisation of information in hospitality is absolutely crucial”, and this is where Streaming APIs come in.

“Real time becomes critical. What I see evolving into the modern cloud native architectures is what I call real time communication. It’s not anymore about calling an API — it’s about event streaming. It’s about being able to have all these events updating the systems that are around it. So, every system is in sync.” he says.

For industries that deal with huge amounts of data and thousands of transactions at a time, this could be huge, making the infrastructure aspect fundamental.

“You really need to have a solid infrastructure, a solid architecture that can handle those events in a consistent and efficient way. You need to think about things like not throughput only, but about pressure for example, offsets.” he added.

You can learn more about Streaming APIs and listen to more of the world’s leading experts on architecture, design, and the technologies that facilitate digital transformation on the Coding over Cocktails podcast available on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.

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