How You Can Define, Prioritize, Build, and Monetize Your APIs for Greater Business Value with TIBCO

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This blog originally appeared on ComputerWeekly authored by Alessandro Chimera on 9/16/2022.

There’s a lot of talk surrounding whether we should refer to APIs as a “product” these days. In truth, almost anything could be a product, even if it is essentially a service or something more ephemeral.

Perhaps a more insightful question would be, are APIs a brand product? For example, are they synonymous with an organization’s customer-facing staff base, its reputation for service quality, and wider market regard for its operations? If an API can do all that (spoiler alert: yes, it needs to), then it is a product.

An API essentially is a piece of code tasked with forming assured bonds between applications, services, and systems—-but it is also a product because it can work to make an organization’s digital assets available for everyone’s consumption.

When engineered, built, deployed, and managed effectively, an API can facilitate an instantaneous business turnaround in response to market shifts that dictate a change in the customer journey. As we all now know, global disruption does happen, within days if not within a day—so using APIs to form and establish essential bridging connections should now be part of our core technology.

If we view APIs as products, we can expose an organization to new businesses, partners, and ecosystems—and they can do all of these things quickly and with agility, creating a competitive advantage. The journey starts with getting the first API product on the roadmap.

Building a “Team API”

While not every organization has a dedicated API team, the role of the API product manager is gradually being formalized, recognized, and popularized. What we now see in the programming community is API development being democratized and expanding to become a more ubiquitous discipline and skill.

If there were a perfect “API Team” (if you can excuse the slightly gung-ho twist), it would include not only software engineers and IT product experts but also citizen developers and low code/no-code tools.

Because we have the API product manager role in place, we can now (collectively, as a combined group of business and technical staff) make sure that APIs work as a significant engine of business growth and a prime instrument in the modern-day IT stack.

In many ways, the challenge with APIs is a human one. By this, I mean that APIs are easy to implement and (when built carefully and conscientiously) execute their functions quickly and succinctly. The more difficult part of the process is shifting the mindset of the business. This is because using APIs effectively requires a new way of thinking about partnerships and a new way of thinking about collaborating, connecting, and coordinating.

In an API-first world, business and technology teams come together in new ways and at a new pace. This is why having a centralized governance and organizational model is critical.

Defining Your API Strategy

Defining and subsequently building an effective API strategy means understanding how APIs are now the de facto means for providing access to enterprise data and enabling complex system interactions at scale in the modern architecture stack.

We must also remember that internal APIs (connecting internal systems or knowledge, record, and action) are becoming more prevalent, providing significant tangible gains by reducing technical debt, reducing time-to-market for new products, and improving the developer onboarding experience.

There are three organizational API strategy archetypes. APIs can be leveraged inside one of these three use case core vectors is a fundamental prerequisite:

  • API security archetype
  • API-led archetype
  • API monetization archetype

Business Value and Monetization for APIs

Whether APIs are monetized or not (and our three key monetization strategies are listed below), there needs to be a fiscal appreciation for where this technology functions inside any IT deployment. 

Core API monetization strategies are as follows:

  • Pre-paid (time-bound, subscription)
  • Post-paid (chargeback)
  • Real-time (depletion against balance)

Understanding how an organization’s business and technical drivers work with its wider industry drivers is key to a successful API strategy. This process of deconstruction-to-construction will ultimately be the process through which a firm can map the vision and goals of its executive leadership team to the shape of its API footprint and wider IT stack.

The IT function must deliver Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return On Investment (ROI) justification through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that denote its APIs’ effectiveness in terms of the desired quantitative and qualitative outcomes.

Those API outcomes measure an organization’s API performance in the market and its impact on your company’s way of doing business.

TIBCO’s API Strategy

TIBCO solutions can help your business create API-led integrations for business agility and interoperability. Not only that, but TIBCO’s API-led approach includes no-code/low-code tools for visual development for both engineers and citizen integrators, plus event-driven application architecture powered by your APIs. 

Check out our integration evaluation kit to help you evaluate your business’s API needs and what solutions will be the best fit.