In the 1990’s when the World Wide Web (WWW) was relatively new many companies focused¬†their business toward creating a web presence. As Internet access became more readily¬†available, speed limitations lifted, and technology improved, many companies migrated from a¬†relatively flat and static web presence to a more dynamic, content rich and interactive¬†approach. Today we live in a data centric world of connected devices where we expect data to¬†be readily available at our fingertips. These devices include, but are not limited to, smart¬†phones, tablets, games consoles, and even cars and refrigerators. As the number of devices¬†has increased, so too has the complexity to manage and maintain the code for each of these¬†devices and this is where an “API First” approach has really gained the most traction. If the¬†data is exposed via a common API this allows a single point of maintenance, security,¬†versioning and control. In this way data can be exposed consistently across multiple devices.

Furthermore by exposing and socializing APIs companies can outsource application development to third parties or business partners, which is becoming increasingly important as the number of devices increase.

APIs can help companies expose data that they wish to make available to the¬†outside world or select business partners. These APIs can be used to create applications as¬†well as act as a powerful means to market a company’s product and to help carve out new¬†market opportunities. Once APIs are established they can be used to drive brand awareness¬†and increase profit. Most importantly the APIs, which are a now a core part of the business¬†also need to be treated as a product. Whether or not you or your company are considering¬†exposing APIs it is very likely one of your competitors are. In the highly competitive world we¬†live in today, this in itself is a significant reason to start considering an API strategy. With this¬†in mind it becomes important for you to start creating an API strategy as we predict that choosing not to will¬†have similar consequences to those who decided to ignore the WWW in the 90s.


The above figure shows a fundamental shift from websites as being the information technology access mechanism for the majority of businesses, to the rapidly growing ecosystem of internconnected devices that require APIs to consume business function. Today, we have applications in cars, appliances, smartphones, game consoles, and other devices, that communicate with back-end business functions through APIs.

This ‚Äúinterconnected revolution‚ÄĚ is here today, as in the following examples:

  • Refrigerators can tell their manufacturer services systems when maintenance¬†is required.
  • Cars can do the same with routine maintenance notification.
  • Smart electric meters can provide usage and consumption information to the¬†utility company.

All of this is possible through APIs.

To learn more please read the Redbook here.

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