Sasha Kamenetska | Contributor
October 15, 2013

Competitive Benchmarking: Ensuring your API is on the right path


This post orginally appeared on the Mashery's Strategy Services team blog.

When a company is considering launching a new project, a lot of work is done to research the market and determine what competitors are doing.  Market research is a key component of product launch planning across various industries.  It should, therefore, be part of your pre-launch process for your API program.

As you go through the process of planning and readying your API for a launch, it’s important to look at what competitors are doing to gain insight in what key trends are at play in your space. Learning about API trends specific to your industry can help shape and guide your API program as well as inform internal teams about why you need an API.  If a competitor is doing a lot with their API and is having success, it can help kick start your team’s work, or it can help re-direct your efforts to an area that is not being addressed by your competitors’ programs. 

Whenever the Strategy Services team engages with a customer, we do a round of competitive benchmarking to show what is already at play in our customer’s space.  We look at not just what APIs are available in their market, but also what new and innovative apps are gaining popularity, what general tech trends are pre-dominant and what tangential spaces are relevant for their APIs.  By approaching competitive benchmarking with a holistic view, we get a better understanding of where our customer’s market is right now and where it is heading, as well as what other markets they should be looking at for partnerships, customers, etc. 

As Rob Zazueta pointed out last week, there are a lot of new trends popping up in the API space every week – you need to be able to pick out not only the best practices, but also the trends that are specifically relevant to your field and your API program.  Depending on your goals, you may be interested in different trends than the ones your competitors are focused on or market research may point to a different direction for your API. 

Either way, this is an important exercise, one that we like to do with brand new customers, as well as with mature customers, to make sure that their API program is well positioned for success based on their goals as well as the trends in their space.   When we complete a benchmarking exercise for a customer, we don’t just leave them with research on competitive APIs, we provide analysis on what this means for their platform as well as recommendations for monetization, growth of their program and more.  It is very important to know what is going on around your API program - let us help you keep track of it all.