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The API Ecosystem: Critical to Your Digital Transformation

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While API development may have once been thought less critical in digital transformation, executives now see a clearer role. So who leads in the API space?

Increasingly, application programming interfaces, or APIs, are critical to enterprise digital transformation initiatives. Clients use APIs every day, but the demands of this aspect of digital innovation to leverage new platforms and ecosystems require staying on top of APIs throughout their lifecycle.

The latest magic quadrant report from Gartner (available for free on RedHat.com) identifies the key vendors in the API management universe, details their offerings, and aims to help enterprise executives make better choices in their selection of API partners.

Building and managing APIs and gaining new value from this new “API economy” remain fundamentally important to any teams deploying them. But often today, digital transformation in general and conceiving and launching and a platform business as the center of gravity for pulling together an ecosystem of partners takes far more bandwidth.

But it’s becoming apparent to C-suite technology executives that the platform and its ecosystem go hand in hand, and that APIs bridge the communication and fulfillment gap between them. Business use cases for APIs, the role in advancing digital transformation, and their ability to open up new business channels have everyone’s attention.

Building and running an API program isn’t the only ingredient to a successful digital transformation, nor is it the only aspect of building a platform and an ecosystem. But publishing APIs is certainly a great start.

Sometimes, the idea of the platform comes first, and they then start incrementally delivering APIs as experiments to explore how the platform will work, in co-creation mode with partners in the ecosystem.

As such, API development programs are now more business-oriented, focusing on a small number of critical APIs at any single time, targeted at delivering essential components of a corporate digital innovation strategy.

They can also come in response to industry regulations with certain verticals, such as the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) for European financial institutions. But no matter what the reason behind their need, the requirement is to churn APIs out quickly.

As well, with enabling technologies like AI and blockchain and the packaging of AI algorithms in APIs, along with the collected smart devices making up the Internet of Things, API development will change. They are no longer a simple piece of data collection software, they make a digital business — and a larger digital economy —work effectively.

Download the full report here.

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