The Business of APIs and Your Mobile Strategy
Today an enterprise without an API1 (application programming interface) strategy is an enterprise without a mobile strategy. An enterprise’s APIs need to be looked at strategically by its business leaders from the Business of APIs perspective, and not limit it to a technical perspective. What used to be confined to the IT department is now a business mandate and business model for any enterprise to succeed with mobile devices in the long run. The ever-increasing demand for mobile devices as a business information delivery platform and the emergence of data-as-a-service models means that an enterprise needs to look at its APIs as one of its core business models. Two examples that come to mind are Sears and Netflix.
At Sears, leveraging the API economy by unlocking their legacy data into open APIs is core to their strategic vision. Creating open APIs to access their legacy data (e.g. product catalogs, historical purchases, customer preferences, user recommendations) means innovation is happening out there. Open APIs are critical elements of expanding their brand, and creating opportunities for engaging customers wherever they are.
Netflix outsources innovation by letting developers integrate the Netflix service into apps with full control over the user experience.
A solution in itself, APIs are now a strategic resource, requiring an ongoing combination of marketing, usability, design, promotion, and in many cases pricing. All of these elements factor into whether an enterprise will compete successfully in the mobile space with the APIs themselves, and the products and services that are offered through them. The Business of APIs is no longer just a technology play but a business play where the APIs need to be managed and launched as a business, requiring ongoing diligent business and technical planning, functionally and non-functionally.
The most effective way to expose APIs for consumption by mobile devices is to offer them as a packaged set of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) services, implemented using SOA principles and technologies. This will be simple to accomplish for enterprises that are already SOA-enabled. For enterprises that are not SOA-enabled, it’s time to invest in building SOA expertise in order to ready themselves to compete and succeed in the Business of APIs.
The newly announced Unisys Application Modernization Platform as a Service (AMPSSM) solution employs a full lifecycle service-oriented approach for providing a Business of APIs perspective to an enterprise’s API solutions. With AMPS, an enterprise can manage its API portfolio from the core business model perspective, govern its development, and provide comprehensive production API management, where APIs can be published, promoted, and managed in a secure, scalable way.
AMPS uses its patent-pending modernization framework, proven technologies and Center of Excellence services to bring together the business and technical communities to provide a holistic approach to the Business of APIs. AMPS provides the mechanism for discovering and harnessing an enterprise’s APIs as well as blending them with complementary APIs from partner companies.
With AMPS, the result is a rich flow of information and collaboration across the enterprise, promoting faster innovation and growth in ways that may never have been thought possible before.
1 An application programming interface (API) is an interface that an application provides in order to allow requests for service to be made of it by other computer programs including mobile applications to allow data to be exchanged between them.