In order to grab a part of the action and participate in the race to form digital ecosystems, every enterprise worth its salt is involved in a transformation of some sort. The market is now filled with digital transformation solutions to cater to this need. While having many such solutions is indeed advantageous, a word of caution is to not invest in these prior to getting your API strategy right.

Application Programing Interfaces (APIs) are your means to modernizing legacy, without causing any major disruption to your existing services. They enable access to data, functionality and features of an application, or even a service or operating system. This ability to access new-found data or feature helps to further extend your capability or create new offerings by combining them. As APIs are at the core of any transformation exercise, the role of an effective API strategy in digital transformation cannot be underestimated.

Why do enterprises need an API Strategy for Digital Transformation?

Apart from the obvious reasons of enforcing discipline in how your APIs are chosen, built and managed, we need a strong API strategy to ensure our IT systems are up to date to meet changing customer needs. As customer preferences change, our systems have to be familiar with and be able to talk the language of voice assistants, IoT, VR, AR, chatbots, AI, predictive analytics and more. It is now a necessity for businesses to extend their capabilities and remain available at all popular customer touch-points.

In order to modernize your existing legacy set-up and maintain the right balance of visibility, stability, control, innovation and costs, effective API strategies have become integral to achieving success with your digital transformation initiatives.

Key aspects of an API Strategy

An API strategy for enterprise digital transformation is made up of four important aspects-

Establishing Digital Strategy
Establishing a digital strategy is all about determining your target audience and articulating business outcomes. Digital ecosystems and their prototype solutions are defined along with creating a detailed roadmap of the transformation process.
Aligning the Culture of an Organization
A major challenge in digital transformation and API management is aligning the structure, mind-set and culture of an organization to that of the strategy.

Practices like Agile development, the use of cloud-based technologies, implementing DevOps, an API-first approach, building a microservice architecture etc. – all of these require large organizations to make some internal culture and mind-set changes, to socialize these initiatives for them to succeed.
Evaluating and Building Supporting Technology
This step involves either building or buying API management tools or platforms. API architecture will be established and KPIs, especially security indicators, will be captured for dashboarding.
Engaging Enterprise Ecosystem
A developer portal along with productivity tools will be published for building and nurturing the API community. Certification programs and trainings will be formalized, and a feedback loop will be created for creating an improved version of the API and for support.

Dos and don’ts for creating an effective API Strategy

Here are some of the dos and don’ts businesses should remember when creating an enterprise API strategy-

Understand your current IT infrastructure, especially data, for creating an effective API strategy
Differentiate between must-have features and nice-to-have features and focus more on the must-haves
Prefer an API-first approach, as it accelerates the speed with which you will be able to communicate with customers
Ensure that public API documentation is easily accessible
Avoid redundant API functionalities as they make it confusing for 3rd party developers to select the right API as per their requirement
Never start working on an API business strategy unless you have a defined project and purpose
Avoid using existing security patterns (even of popular APIs) without adequate research as they might not be the best choice in your scenario
Do not neglect the 3rd party developer communities as they your key to increase the reach of your APIs

How a specialist API Strategy and delivery service provider like Torry Harris can help?

Specialist solution providers like Torry Harris Integration Solutions (THIS) offer step-by-step guidance and tools to draft and execute an effective API strategy.

With more than 20 years of focused integration experience, the company provides consultancy and implementation services to several leading Telcos, BFSI customers and Energy conglomerates in defining API Strategy, Implementation of APIs using a factory approach for scale and cost-effectiveness, managed services maintenance and ecosystem creation using a digital marketplace solution.

DigitMarket is an industry-leading, API-driven, marketplace solution that is helping enterprises create & personalize their digital marketplaces in quick, easy steps. It has built-in API Management capability that helps monetize APIs in a secure and scalable manner.

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