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How to Make APIs a Part of Company’s Business Strategy

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There remains absolutely no doubt that the core of any application in current times is APIs (Application Programming Interface). They not only provide a bridge of communication between multiple non related platforms, they contribute in making applications feature rich in fraction of time investment. 

Companies with APIs offerings have multiple varied strategies in place and for some APIs happens to be their core strength. If you are still deliberating as to what APIs strategy would suit your business, let’s have a look at popular few: 

A Source to Capture Business Critical Information:

Nothing is better than current competitive data and trends. Companies offer their APIs to consumers and based on traffic and data that these APIs give access to, companies find out competitive landscape, insightful information and trends gaining deeper understanding of the market. 

With ML and AI gaining popularity with each passing day, we have ample companies offering their complete APIs for free, the consumers are just paying in the form of data access to companies. This shows how valuable and attractive this strategy is. 

Enhancing Offering Stickiness: 

The more resources it takes to switch to alternatives, the more stickiness that product generates. This is exactly what companies like Github, Salesforce and Slack do by offering their APIs to consumers, paid or free depending on positioning and other factors. They create stickiness in two ways, first the more API integrations that are used in any application, the more critical and central it becomes to its success. 

Secondly the more integrations and features are developed with APIs, the more resources are needed to make a switch to alternatives. Learning curve and time, cost investment needed act as deterrent in making a switch and hence the stickiness. 

Additional Revenue Opportunities: 

Additional RevenueMost popular with Public Developers APIs which offer commodity services such as file storages, text messages, social authentication etc. for development of additional features. The model is simple enough i.e. selling and making available their APIs for usage. The revenue model is mostly pay per use and cost directly related to usage volume. One can look at Sendgrid, Twillio etc as examples 

Additional Functionality Offering: 

There comes a time where it becomes overwhelming to keep up with customer expectations of new features. The most successful strategy to deal with situations is to make Public Developers APIs.  This way consumers and third parties have access to all APIs and they are free to make use of it the way they want. Another step in this direction is creation of a marketplace wherein third parties create unique apps using these exposed APIs and different consumers purchase and make use of those apps. 

Keeping Offering Relevant: 

Another model which is more relevant for companies with an established user base, with time they shift their core offering, thereby expanding it’s usage and keeping consumers intact and in more cases growing. The idea is to start offering their services as a platform and make available user details and technology via APIs, allowing app development on top of the platform. 

This is surely easier said than done but we have companies like Facebook who are ideals in this space. There are a number of social networks created with Facebook APIs as it’s core, for example Instagram. 

Final Remarks: 

As we saw there are numerous companies who have done tremendous job when it comes to leveraging APIs, be it generating revenues e.g. Twillio or making it a core part of its expansion strategy e.g. Slack. In today’s software scenario APIs are core of any application and one can leverage this for various benefits like revenues, insights, additional offerings etc. 

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