I really like this quote I just found: “Wind is what happens when air falls in love with itself.”
It’s from Canadian writer Barry Webster. I was looking for some text to use in a blog about a wind farm but which is actually about APIs. Huh? Wind farm? Love? APIs? How does this all fit together, you ask?
Well, it all boils down to business. You see, in a recent webinar on using enterprise architecture and portfolio management for API planning and management, my colleague told a story of a wind farm to exemplify how, in an IoT-based business model, many different APIs are involved.
You’ve got APIs connecting to the turbines (the “Things”), collecting information on the status of the turbines and the electricity being generated. This information is sent via another API to Big Data processing systems doing analyses and looking for patterns. Another API would send requests to a partner to repair or do some maintenance on an ailing turbine. Yet another would be involved when the maintenance engineer is using a tablet to update the system with information on things he or she has seen and done on site. Another API will be used by the person (or people) using dashboards to monitor the wind farm. So APIs can be very prevalent in a single business and operating model and a strategic topic.
But even for non-IoT business models, APIs can generate a significant amount of revenues. In their Harvard Business Review article on “The Strategic Value of API’s,” Bala Iyer & Mohan Subramaniam use examples including Salesforce - with 50% of its revenues coming from APIs that it provides customers to extend functionality and partners to develop new products. Also it mentioned eBay, with 60% of its revenues coming from APIs used to list auctions on other sites and exchanging information on price levels, and Expedia with a staggering 90% of its revenues coming from APIs used to book flights and hotels.
These companies realize the API usages should be driven from a top-down business perspective and not just created as they bubble up from projects. This is so that you can see where they are necessary and where they are impacting the performance of business. There are several business-oriented constructs in enterprise architecture and business process analysis that let you do this, for example modeling of the business ecosystem, customer journeys, business capabilities and business processes. In having APIs as part of your IT asset portfolio you can assess cost, performance, re-use and risk just as you would assess your application and technology portfolios.
Software AG is very committed to APIs. Its webMethods and Alfabet products offer a lot of functionality for planning, managing, promoting, protecting and defining API’s – for using them as a strategic business asset. Alfabet’s support for API management was even noted in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture Tools. Alfabet is helping its customers keep pace with the requirements of digitalization. It was named a leader in the Gartner MQ for EA Tools report. Read about it below.
So APIs are not just a lot of hot – and heavy (remember the romance?) – air. They need your love and devotion.