An even better question is, “Do you have a strategy for the API economy?” Where API’s used to be limited to allowing applications to talk to each other inside the corporate firewall, today’s API’s are a key part of the real work being done by the Web. It took a few years, but now Web API’s are a way to access some of the biggest and best-known services like Amazon, Box, Twilio, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, WordPress and YouTube.
While these are well-known providers, there are a myriad of other services available through a fast-growing economy of API’s. Big or small, they all share the ability for developers and administrators to evolve business applications far faster than developing services in-house. API’s are enabling a constant shift away from siloed business applications with slowly evolving functionality and toward highly flexible, highly interactive business services.
The success of API’s is connected to the need for developers to quickly create not just functionality, but whole business models based on pulling together services from around the Web. Creating mashups of functionality without having to code each capability separately is powerful and allows innovation to happen at a very rapid pace. But this isn’t just a benefit to developers — for end users, API’s bring remarkable functionality to most of the websites we use. For the companies offering API’s, the ability to embed their services easily into applications running in the broader world is powerful for brand awareness.
Managing all that fun
Like anything that sits in the public domain, API security, governance and performance are paramount. With each deployment choice comes benefits and drawbacks that need to be understood and factored. Rather than taking on this challenge alone, most enterprises are looking to API management services to create central access points that can act as mediators between internal and external services, systems and devices.
TIBCO’s ActiveMatrix Service Gateway is a great example of software that provides a host of functionality that makes it easy for enterprises to manage API services like security, validation of policies, throttling, routing, load balancing and more (yes, I work for TIBCO, but it’s true). Having tools to manage API’s changes the game for the enterprise, especially considering how Big Data, cloud, social media and mobility are dominating the conversation. This isn’t a temporary challenge, either — the continued growth of API’s and API management is a certainty.
Here’s an interesting write up by Ed Julson on the same topic: Public API’s: Drivers for a New Economy