One important business reason to enable APIs in your business is to monetize¬†your business capabilities. For example, if you are a credit reporting agency and¬†you produce an API that establishes credit scores and facts regarding a¬†consumer’s credit history, then many banks, loan companies, insurance¬†companies, and solicitation companies would be more than happy to use¬†(consume) your API for money. It provides them with the ability to perform the¬†API functions, yet avoid having to develop and maintain their own API functions.
In addition, they can easily disconnect yours if a better one comes along. This is¬†the differentiator for APIs in an API economy: the ability to quickly subscribe to¬†or unsubscribe to business functionality. It makes business more agile by driving¬†a healthy competition for business function.
The term API economy refers to the opportunities associated with productizing¬†the exposure of your business functions as APIs. Consider that your API is a¬†consumable product, and you need to market and position your product correctly¬†for maximum profit. So API economy deals with the additional channel¬†opportunities associated with the proper exposure of your consumable business¬†functions.
As part of the API economy, it is also needed to understand the role of API¬†marketplaces. Think of API marketplaces as ‚Äúapp stores‚ÄĚ for APIs. Many different¬†marketplaces will evolve, from public, to private, to business partners. These¬†marketplaces offer a variety of capabilities including multitenant. Business¬†partner exchanges are good examples of multitenant. Multiple business partners¬†can have access to API catalogs with search and access capabilities being¬†based on the authorization of a partner.
You can also read more on what API economy comprises and how IBM reference architecture encompasses the entire API economy in this document.
To learn more please read the Redbook¬†here.