APIs are everywhere. Companies are exposing APIs to generate new revenue streams. By exposing applications and data to the outside world via APIs, companies can monetize their existing IT infrastructure. That means they can generate additional revenue without significant investment.

Netflix has over 100,000 DVD titles that it exposes through APIs for integration with over 200 devices, including several type of mobile devices. By delivering data through APIs, Netflix not only created a new revenue stream but also became a leader in this category. Stripe is a new start up which processes payments and exposes its services via an API suite. APIs are at the front, right and center of business model transformations happening today.

APIs are here to stay. They are not only impacting the new new revenue streams but are also making an impact on the traditional B2B Integration which connects traditional supply chains. Traditional B2B Integration happens in silos. Customer generates a Purchase Order and send it over the fence. The supplier gets the PO an sends an acknowledgement back to the customer. This approach works for the most part but has its weaknesses. If the acknowledgement is delayed, the customer may re-transmit the purchase order and the supplier may process it as a new order.

Now, let's re-imagine the process in context of APIs. Customer wants to order from supplier and invokes a Purchase Order API which is exposed by the supplier. The systems on supplier side get the purchase order and process it for accuracy and send a response back to customer instantaneously. There is not wait time or ambiguity in this case. The outlined process is very basic. Now lets make it a bit more complex. In this case, customer wants periodic updates regarding the order and a daily status update. It is difficult to do it with traditional B2B mechanisms but very simple using APIs. Supplier can simply expose an API and the customer can invoke it whenever they need an status update.

As the cycle times get shorter and the SLAs get squeezed, the APIs present a viable solution for exchanging B2B information securely. Complementing your B2B Integration with a Partner API strategy will get you the best of the both worlds and meet your future integration needs.

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