API360 Takes API Strategy Full Circle

CA/Layer 7’s API knowledge bank, API Academy, will host API360 in Washington, D.C., on Friday The free, all-day summit is geared to all roles involved in managing an API business strategy and will include a key focus on using open data APIs. Matt McLarty, VP of API Academy, spoke to ProgrammableWeb about what attendees can expect.

“This is a collaborative event that brings together real voices,” explains McLarty. “There has been a surge of noise around APIs and we work for a software vendor, so we are as guilty as anyone of talking about the API economy. But it can be a bit hyped and we wanted to get into what can we really learn from best practices and what specific industries are doing.”

While part of CA’s API management provider arm, Layer 7, API Academy has set about offering its knowledge resources to anyone — customer or not — who wants to skill up on various aspects of the API economy, from business models to API design and implementation. It is this same contribution to the overall API industry that McLarty is hoping will come through in API360.

McLarty explains:

I think that whereas a year or two ago, there was a lot more teaching around what are APIs, we have definitely seen a maturing of the market. Now people want to go a level deeper around ‘What can I do right now to jump ahead of the curve on APIs?'

For example, there is a lot more understanding of hypermedia APIs, and now it's about ‘How do I apply this?’

The event — which so far has seen registrations predominantly from developer and technical roles, but is just as much aimed at business strategists and marketers — tries to reflect all partners of an API strategy in its very title, says McLarty:

The 360 is because we feel that you can’t look at any one part of the API piece in isolation and be successful. You fundamentally need to be aligning all of your business plan — strategy, architecture, design and emerging technology. We want these events to cover all of those different perspectives as well.

Given the event location (Washington), a large part of the agenda will focus on developing and using open data APIs.

“Gray Brooks is one of our keynote speaker, and 18F have done a really good job at collaborating with a lot of public sector agencies, so we are seeing a lot of representation from different agencies. ... The National Institutes of Health’s 3-D shared-print services department will be attending,” says McLarty.

Other speakers include Lisa Wolfisch, deputy director of the Center for New Media and Promotion at the U.S. Census Bureau — a crucial data source needed to be made available via API to help businesses across multiple sectors. Private company representatives include Dave Goldberg from Capital One and Michael Pritchard (who will be speaking about API design from the developer-consumer perspective) from WillowTree.

McLarty is confident participants will be able to discuss and enhance their real-world thinking about how APIs fit into a wider business plan. “Part of the myth out there is with the vendors all saying, ‘Hey, open up your data and magically you will have a new business.’ But it is so important to put yourself in the shoes of the API consumer to understand the value of an API, and that’s what we hope to discuss and learn from.”

Developers, business strategists, product managers, public sector workers, C-level executives and marketers are all encouraged to attend. Registration can be made via the API360 website.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.

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