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BAPI London Recap: You need an API Strategy
This fall, there has been a debate raging in the API world about whether or not companies need an API strategy. Daniel Jacobson kicked things off by arguing that you probably don’t need an API strategy and then many others chimed in with their thoughts. I may of course be a bit biased, since I am part of Mashery’s Strategy Services team, but I strongly believe that every API program needs a strategy, and so did the presenters at our last 2013 Business of APIs (BAPI) conference last week in London.
There was a broad range of speakers from small startups (such as Ordr.in with only a handful employees) to mid-size organizations (Evernote) and large enterprises (Coca-Cola Enterprises). Even with such a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, the speakers all had a theme in common – your API needs an API strategy.
Throughout the day, presenters talked about APIs as business development tools (David Bloom of ordr.in), as tools for international expansion (Linda Kozlowski of Evernote), as keys to developing new revenue channels and business models (David Frankel of Edgar Online; Kevin Flowers of Coca-Cola Enterprises) and as enablers of new technology (Sal Visca of Elastic Path). Even with the wide range of focus, the speakers all honed in on a few key similarities when it came to APIs: APIs are products, and as such, need to have a strategy to make them successful for your organization.
One of speakers that caught my attention was David Frankel of Edgar Online. His talk focused on how Edgar Online was transforming its business and becoming more competitive by using APIs to provide new access to its data. But the most interesting aspect of this presentation was that Edgar Online has had APIs for a few years, but was only now realizing that to make them truly successful, they need a full-fledged API strategy. With an API strategy in mind, they were re-launching a unified API program to serve their customers even better.
Most of the speakers touched on the need for an API strategy in their own way. A similar refrain rang through the day: if you want to see real success, you need to think about goals for your API, who the consumers of the API are going to be and how your company will support your API internally to make it successfully.
As always, BAPI London proved to be an exciting and engaging event, but what made it the best BAPI I’ve been to yet, was hearing so many accomplished API leaders talking about APIs as products and the need for API strategy. It’s a signal that APIs are coming into their own and are finally being recognized for the potential they have to transform companies and industries. Get ready to hear more and more about API strategy in 2014 – Mashery will definitely be talking about it.