How Several Companies Integrate APIs into Business Strategy

By Natalie Kerns in API Industry Trends Posted Sep 16, 2016

API WORLD 2016 PANEL RECAP: Today’s app economy is rapidly transforming how line of business leaders purchase, use and interact with a variety of cloud applications to support their jobs. The proliferating environment of apps is leading to exponential solutions for those to harness the power of connecting data, content and logic to derive revenue. During API World 2016, a panel on Integrating API Management into Your Business Strategy, led by moderator Wolf Ruzicka, Chairman of the Board at EastBanc Technologies, unveiled insights from organizations who took initiatives to publish, scale and manage their API.

We took away three key themes from the panel:

  • APIs are for business; not for technology
  • APIs are the key driver for disruption
  • When we think APIs, we think integration

APIs are for Business, Not for Technology

Frank Mollerop, CEO of Questback starts off with a deeper look at how these organizations are reinventing the way they do business with an API-first strategy. “How can you outsmart your competition? The area where we can build some competitive differentiations, to set yourself apart from the competition, are led by your API strategy. As a technology strategy, you tend to overlook how your API is connected to the business value, therefore it will fail. Your API is for you business, not for your technology. I think that’s important when you put it into the corporate world. Tell me how we can leverage this technology against the competition and how we can create an awesome company going forward.”


APIs are the Key Driver for Disruption

Ernest Chrappah, Government Executive and Acting Director for DC Department of For-Hire Vehicles, provides an interesting perspective on how regulation for companies like Lyft, Uber, Taxicabs, etc, drive their API strategies. Chrappah shares, “To give you some perspective on why we decided to place an API strategy, you have to look back to around 2012 when there was rapid disruption in the for-hire vehicles space. The whole idea of moving from point A to point B, became different and we started having better customer experiences. As a government agency we have to ask ourselves, ‘What is our core mission and how do we fulfill that mission?’ Because profit is not a motivating factor, we had to dig deeper and say, ‘Well, our mission is to ensure that passengers and visitors to the District of Columbia have safe, affordable, and accessible transportation options, then let's change the game."

Ruzicka moderates with a transition to the broader integration strategy: “You all know taxis and the disruption they've gone through, and how Ernest reacts to it, I think is quite remarkable in an embracing way. Speak of one industry that has been particularly disrupted, ServiceNow, second company in the SaaS space to reach $1Billion dollars. You would think that disruption is none of their issues, and what I discovered is it is very much an issue as well.”

When We Think APIs, We Think Integration

Robert Duffner, Senior Director of ServiceNow, elaborates on the rapid growth of ServiceNow, and how the key to their industries growth is integration. Duffner elaborates, “What we see at ServiceNow is that number one priority for enterprises when looking at SaaS applications is integration. Integration is always number one. How are they going to integrate their cloud applications to their existing system of records? How do we want developers to develop custom applications onto our platform and do it in an agile way? When I think of APIs, the first thing that pops into my head is integration. That's been our focus, our focus is how do we make our applications, our platform, easier to integrate with.”

Duffner continues, “This is why at ServiceNow, we're committed to REST APIs. We want to make sure that our application is easily accessible, it's easy for developers to onboard, and it's easy for them to integrate their systems of record.”

As the business app economy rapidly transforms the industry in how line of business leaders purchase, use and interact with a variety of cloud applications to support their jobs, it’s clear there’s much to do around API strategy, all in line with three key themes: APIs drive business value, not technology value; APIs are key drivers for disruption; and when we think APIs, we think integration.

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