By Devon Biondi
Recently Daniel Jacobson, the Director of Engineering for the Netflix API, wrote a great article on “Why you don’t need an API Strategy” which I highly recommend you take a few moments and read. The key takeaway was one that we are constantly pressing our customers on:
“…Most companies should be focusing on their core business and then designing APIs that support larger strategy. In pursuing that route, most companies should not be discussing their “API Strategy” they should be talking about their API as a tactic in support of their broader business strategy and objectives.”
I couldn’t agree more with Daniel. An API program can increase brand awareness, create new distribution channels or engage customers in new and innovative ways but in the end these goals need to map back to the bottom line of your business. For most customers they want to drive revenue or increase customer base (which in turn drives revenue), but every business is different. If your API program isn’t mapping toward one of your business goals than it will be difficult to get the internal resources and support that you need.
When we begin an engagement we ask our customers a few basic questions so that we can get a thorough understanding of how their API program will make an impact to the company as a whole. I’ve listed the questions with sample answers so you can get a sense of how they relate to each other. Even if you already have an API program, you should walk through these questions now. Does everything align? Are you making an impact to your overall business or are you siloed in your execution?
Having a strong understanding of your goals allows you to validate your success by defining actual metrics around the API. When the CEO is looking to allocate resources, skunkworks projects rarely get fed a second time around; however projects that add real value to the bottom line are given the ability to grow.
If you are questioning whether your program is mapping to your company’s overall business goals, give us a shout – we’re here to help.