What Are APIs?

APIs are a technology that bridges various systems, the critical way in that software can communicate with other software. A variety of business leaders also view APIs as system integration technology. All of these descriptions are true; however, APIs are much more than just these terms as a whole. APIs are also interfaces that allow developers to continuously leverage data, functions, and applications to create new products and services for consumers. APIs are also the way that a business showcases its qualities through software. APIs enable that business to quickly adapt and be prepared for new contexts and changing user necessities and likes and dislikes.

APIs in the Real World

Take Airbnb, one of the largest accommodations provider that is rattling the Hotel Industry day by day. Although the company pursues accommodations, Airbnb does not actually own any real estate. Through APIs, Airbnb is able to allow hosts to connect and import listings, manage pricing and availability, and message guests seamlessly.  The article, “Airbnb Has Finally Announced an Official API”, on the Airbnb website, mentions how at the 2015 Airbnb Open, “the company unveiled Host Assist, a platform aimed at including externally-built tools and services to help hosts do their job more efficiently. In the last years Airbnb has started to look outside of its core accommodation rental business, with the intention to be the central hub to manage every aspect of a trip.” Airbnb is a company that is utilizing APIs in a correct manner ensuring that the user interface and experience is updated for the consumer, and that is the reason that Airbnb is taking over the real estate industry without actually owning any real estate, precisely through the proper utilization of APIs.


Approach APIs in the Right Way

APIs are products that are designed to increase productivity to a maximum for both internal and external developers. They have wholesome life-cycles and generally long-term strategic roadmaps that have to constantly evolve in order to keep up with the market’s newest business needs. With these responsibilities, enterprises have to ensure that APIs are marketed and managed in the right way, in order to be up-to-date and fitting to the market trends at that time. Corporations that are wise enough to approach APIs as products instead of projects are the most successful in realizing the potential APIs have in terms of accelerating business. In order to be within the “API Product Mindset”, ensure that the API products are evolving over time in order to meet changing customer needs. In addition to the basic architecture of APIs, API products should also be designed in a consistent manner so that developers are able to easily consumer the products. The API products should come with two components: security operations such as OAuth protection and information that can improve usability considerations such as documentation and sample code.

Are you skilled enough to sell APIs?

In order to sell APIs properly, or to have the API Product Mindset, a business should have a Product Manager on their team. In contrast to a Project Manager that has various responsibilities in the form of listed requirements that need timely deliveries, Product Managers are able to comprehend customer requirements for products. They are able to translate these requirements into products and thereupon roadmap the updates needed for the API to in-turn keep the customer satisfied. API Product Managers also need to ensure that they are aligned with other business and technical leaders in terms of having the same goals and value for the growth of API utilization. Product Managers should have easy access to such API management tools that would aid them with these responsibilities, ensuring visibility into various API metrics. Such API metrics should include how and by whom the API is being consumed by, which APIs are being adopted, which APIs are generating the most calls, to name a few. Tracking API data and ensuring connectivity between clients and developers are the key to building APIs that are successfully adopted.