There’s a never before uptrend in API economy. When we think upon the business side of managing an API, it becomes clear that we need to treat the API as a product, in order for it to succeed.
Just like any other product, API as products too have a market with a segment of customers and enterprises leave no stone unturned to maximize its return on investment.
Let’s understand the entire concept of treating APIs as a product and how to manage them as one.
Understanding the Concept
Like any other product, the concept of API as a product aims to help users solve their concerns and get their job done, by outlining its target audience, marketing strategy, development plans, support processes and sales strategy.
Though APIs are believed to be a technical aspect making the lives of developers easy, they are rightfully facilitating business offerings and values.
By viewing the API as their own product, enterprises can focus on creating sales strategies that are relevant and appeal to more potential users.
Watch the video here to know why your API deserves to be treated as a product:
Usually enterprises leverage their APIs to consumers without thinking about their broader strategic value. Once an organization creates an API, they need to focus on its maintenance, promotion, easy consumer on-boarding, enact right security, instill testing and performance monitoring, developer documentation and consumer support.
How to Manage Your API as a Product
Applying a product strategy to your API will enable it to flourish and generate revenue. The best way to treat the potential APIs as products is to vigorously maintain them, strive for continued improvements by setting up the business side of managing an API. This includes:
- Building a team of professionals who can advocate the usage of APIs as a product to a large audience, not just limited to developers and gain clarity on what all is expected from the API. A Product Manager will be the best person to interact with the consumer to collect requirements to help identify the best workflow, keeping in mind the final business results.
- Encourage cross-organizational support to make internal team use APIs collaboratively after APIs become the preferred internal technology for connecting various services and functionality.
- Identifying developer personas and mapping their customer journeys by documenting and categorizing the problems for different types of developers.
- Defining a business model and aligning it with the overall business mission to open up organizational culture to new business model opportunities.
There are three basic principles to manage your API as your products which can enable your business to meaningfully expand its ecosystem, accelerate development, and improve efficiency. Here’s how you can champion the art of managing API as a product for a prosperous outcome:
Be Customer Centric
The approach focuses on developer’s problems, and on providing products that help solve those problems. “Customers don’t care about your solution; they care about their problems”.
APIs need to focus on the customer and keep their needs in mind for an API to thrive as a product.
Assume APIs to become Public
The best practice to build an API is to build it in a way to be able to transform it into a public API product in future. Public or Open APIs are created in order to give a wider population of developers access to an organization’s information assets.
Many of today’s successful APIs which were built as private APIs became so valuable that their owners decided to open them up to external developers and monetize it.
Focus on Strategic Outcome
To have a successful strategic outcome for an API as a product, you must arm your APIs with a tactical plan and make all decisions to align your business successfully with your API strategy.
You must have a clear vision of how you want your APIs to succeed and should be equipped with a strong plan for them to grow and become profitable.
To extract maximum ROI out of the API, we need to stay focused on setting up the business side of managing an API. It’s important to sell the benefits of APIs to the right customer and tailor the pitch accordingly.
Businesses have embraced APIs as a way to expose business capabilities to both external and internal developers. They have seen it as a way to reduce cost and ensure faster time-to-market for new services and products, quickly launch own digital services and provide integration with any partners.