Oren Michels | Co-Founder & GM
August 08, 2012

The Time (to Market) Crunch


I’m always amazed to hear how fast things happen in the technology industry. It’s true—entire platforms can go from revolution to obsolete seemingly overnight, and we all know of companies that burned bright as startups and then went bankrupt in the blink of an eye. This is what keeps our world so exciting. It’s the new thing, the next thing, the bigger-faster-cheaper model taken to extremes.

But there’s another dirty little secret (at least to some) in enterprise computing that gets much less notice. It also has to do with time, lots and lots of time: Every IT initiative takes longer than it should. From going public with a revamped website to launching a freshly developed application, there always seem to be details that get in the way of a speedy implementation. You want to roll out that new payroll system companywide? We’re working on it, wait a few months. The sales software that just got installed? Should be up and running by fall.

API management systems are absolutely no exception. As I’ve written here before, we compete regularly with large consulting firms who want six to eight months to roll out even a prototype. Going live in the same quarter with a major initiative built around an API is almost laughable. To be clear (and a little harsh), this is ridiculous. The whole point of an active API strategy is to expand existing customer relationships and open new channels of distribution.

It’s absurd to think that the market will wait—just like offline distributors, online businesses need to deliver the goods quickly and reliably. Time to market isn’t important, it’s everything. That’s why we now look to the heavens, and see the cloud. Yes, our global API distribution Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform is built for the cloud, with full redundancy, failover and dynamic scaling out of the box.

And no, there is no box. The time issue becomes critical when the need to scale arises. We’ve repeatedly seen demand for customers’ APIs spike overnight. This can be a logistical nightmare or (in our case) no trick at all. In fact, our cloud architecture enables dynamic and limitless scaling without any customer involvement. We handle so that companies can focus on building great API-enabled products and services.

I don’t know why this is a competitive advantage for us, but it is—we still see providers claiming to have cloud solutions but reserving the right to add boxes when certain traffic points are reached. A true cloud solution should scale through multiple component instances, across zones and regions, without effort or challenge.

There are other advantages too, of course—as we recently covered here, the PCI compliance we feature slashes the time required early on, and the ease of use is a big factor too. They all play a role. The truth is that we’re still in the nascent stages of the API movement.

As the benefits become increasingly evident, more companies will want more API services for more markets. Mashery customers like Compassion International and Edmunds have figured this out. Gartner tells us that worldwide SaaS revenue will top $14.5 billion this year, a 17.9 percent jump over last year, and continue to experience healthy growth through 2015, when worldwide revenue hits $22.1 billion.

So in future, there will be business, lots and lots of business, but there won’t be time. Customers will want apps when they need apps, and they’ll lose the patience they’re still showing. Good for them.