This is the API entry point that you have probably heard the most about. “Monetize your data” is based on externalizing insight or function in a form that entices third parties to “pay” for its use. Importantly, payment can be in many forms and is often not even of a monetary nature. For instance, on-boarding partners via APIs is a use case for the “Monetize your data” entry point. So are cases where you are actually paying someone to use your APIs, the return value being a broadening of reach and a strengthening of ecosystem.

Due to the nature of “Monetize your data”, success most likely requires careful planning. While you can and should do some amount of experimentation “opportunistic style”, the end product must be a set of stable enterprise APIs that a third party can depend on for a prolonged period of time:

– The desired outcome is either monetary or based on increasing your influence

– The audience is inevitably a third party. Typical cases are partners or 3rd party external developers. Treating a different line of business within your enterprise as a partner or 3rd party is not uncommon, in particular where the different lines of business are treated as economically independent entities.

– The APIs required to engage the audience are whatever provides the value you want to “sell”. This requires careful thinking, not just in terms of the root value provided, but also in terms of form that makes consumption attractive. Don’t forget to include in your considerations the Ts&Cs under which such consumption may happen, for instance freemium, pay as you go or pre-paid contract.

– How to curate the data and function to implement the APIs more than anything else comes down to quality and reliability. Some would say that cost is most important, yet while certainly a parameter, your implementation cost is not what will make or break a “Monetize your data” strategy. What decides the long term viability is whether the intended consumers experience both value and trustworthiness.

– In some cases there is a need to also consider which APIs to consume. While the primary value generation is through providing APIs for others to consume, implementing those APIs may involve creating higher level composites of existing APIs, most often blending those existing APIs with something uniquely yours.

I stated at the beginning of this post that “Monetize your data” is the entry point everyone has probably heard the most about. Having said that, it is not the entry point I see the most in practice. A significant majority of current API initiatives are internal use cases and I suspect this may remain so even when public API exchanges become fully mature. More about internal API entry points some other time.

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1 comment on"Think APIs – Monetize your data"

  1. […] an earlier blog I defined Monetize your Data as one of five API entry points. Charging money directly for your APIs is the obvious form of […]

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