An API (Application Programming Interface) at its most basic level, allows your product or service to talk to other products or services. In this way, an API allows you to open up data and functionality to other developers and to other businesses. It is increasingly the way in which companies exchange data and services, both internally and externally.
API management is the process of publishing, promoting and overseeing application programming interfaces (APIs) in a secure, scalable environment. It also includes the arrangement of end user support resources that define and document the API. The primary goal of API management is to allow an organization that publishes an API to monitor the interface’s lifecycle and make sure the needs of developers and applications using the API are being met.
Mobile and Smart Device Penetration
Number of mobile users reached to 5bn, and users are motivated in performing consuming services and data through their mobile devices.
Organizations must expose their valuable data and services to their developer community or ecosystem of partners in order to deliver best end-user experience and APIs are the key in enabling this integration.
A well designed and available API program help organizations to react faster to the changes in market trends.
APIs are the key in enabling organizations to eliminate complex internal interactions required to deliver specific functionalities by the IT team. For instance, Netflix has reported that they have received more than 2 Billions API calls daily, when they launched Netflix API which allows device manufacturer to expand their services to end users.
Enablement of Ecosystem of Partners
APIs enable organizations to interact seamlessly in a standardized way. As a result of this, organizations could create an ecosystem of partners that delivers best experience to the end-users. Expedia, Inc., has created its affiliate network with enabling more than 10,000 partners, driving traffic of 70 million room nights per day. The API provides user reviews, bookings, search results.
Understanding the key elements API Value Chain is crucial, in order to address how an organization could leverage API Economy.
- API Providers expose valuable data, services, and audience via APIs. While exposing the APIs, API Providers use API Management solutions.
- API Consumers (Developers) use these APIs to build applications.
- End-Users use these applications
Understanding all actors in the API Value Chain is important as all actors have different expectations.
The business assets are the starting point of the value chain. The API will only succeed when there is a value in the business asset that a company is allowing other parties to access. Creating an API to expose the business asset is the following step. It is the API provider’s responsibility to create an API which is useful for the target group.
Developers’ community will then use the published API to create apps. Once created, the application must then fall in the hands of the users. This implies the app should easily be discoverable and accessible to the target group of users.
As a final point, end users will fashionably make use of this app so that all the above stakeholders will benefit from it.
- Access Control & Security
- Routing and orchestration
- Lifecycle Management
- Traffic Control
- Monitoring KPIs
- Flexible Business Models
- Developer Engagement
- Exposing valuable services, data, and audience
- Improving Internal Development Process
- Accelerating Innovation within Company
- New partnerships
- Externalizing R&D
- New distribution channels
- New business models
- Fighting against competition
Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading integrated telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 5 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G services, fixed line, high speed broadband through DSL, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G mobile services. Bharti Airtel had over 246 million customers across its operations at the end of February 2012.
Airtel India deployed API Manager to manage location aggregation business. Currently there are different location and map providers available in different circles (regions). Airtel deployed API Manager to expose all location related capabilities to business partners and charge them.