API U Series

Maximizing the ROI on Your API

When the team here at ProgrammableWeb first started brainstorming the idea of this API University series on maximizing the ROI on your API, we called it “the Decision Series.” In fact, we were calling it that up until the very last minute because of how it covers so many decisions that must be made once your API journey begins.

Even as we “went to print,” we debated as to whether this was really a series about API strategy more than it was about return on investment. But, as you can see from the list of chapters and case studies below, while this series covers some strategic issues such as which service to open up first and picking business models for your APIs, it also covers key decisions that have to be made once the strategy is in place. For example, how to best engage developers and support them with great documentation and portals. And how to measure API outcomes.

Taking the plunge into APIs is not a decision to be taken lightly. One point we make in this series and elsewhere on ProgrammableWeb is how important it is to treat your APIs like you would any other product. Any time you launch a new product, it’s a major undertaking which is why no stone should be left unturned when it comes to maximizing its chances of success. In other words, driving the most return on investment. The decisions covered in this series are the ones that stand between, the success of your API, and maybe even the success of your company.

We also realize that when reading about APIs here on ProgrammableWeb and elsewhere around the Net, much of the prescriptive advice can come across as theoretical. We’re often reminded of the old saying that “those who can’t do, teach.” There are a lot of experts out there who aren’t doers but they’re somehow knowledgable enough tell others how to do it. That’s why this series also ushers-in a more formal ProgrammableWeb effort to publish case studies that use real world stories to bring home many of the core recommendations you’ll find in API University. This series includes four case studies covering Dixons, Dun & Bradstreet, Intercom, and Ziggeo, a company that was literally zigging when it decided it had to zag. Another one of our API University series on real world business strategies contains eight other case studies and, if case studies are all you want to read, ProgrammableWeb is searchable by content type; one of those types being “case study.”

Finally, like most of the articles you'll find on API University, we take the “living content” approach. In other words, we view our educational content as content that lives and evolves over time. As such, we fully expect to be updating these articles as new API approaches, ideas, and techniques for maximizing success come to light. If you feel we’re leaving out some important points, we welcome your feedback and suggestions on how our content can be improved for the betterment of the entire API community.

When a business starts its API journey, it has to make a number of key decisions. Not surprisingly, at each decision point, multiple options branch out it can become easy to become confused and cautious quickly. How do you make the decisions to embark on a successful API journey?
Dixons Carphone is an electrical and telecommunications retailer with an estimated revenue of $15.3 billion annually. This case study looks at how Dixons was able to leverage APIs to reach their business goals, exceed sales and operational targets, and create a whole new product line.
This is Part 3 of ProgrammableWeb's series on maximizing the ROI on your API. In this part we explore how to build a team that can build internal support by liaising with various business units. The article also looks at putting together the right team to drive your API strategy.
At this point in an organization's API journey, the groundwork has been laid and it is time to think about one of the first big decisions in creating our APIs: which data and services to open first as APIs. This article looks at how different API business models can affect this decision.
When defining your API strategy, a crucial decisions to make is what API business model will be used. A business model is a way to understand all of the system components that come together to allow you to create a project and add value. It helps you answer how you will make money from your API.
When a business's various stakeholders consider the decisions to make as they execute an API strategy, the API's business model will prove to be key. But as Ziggeo learned, in the interests of seizing the biggest opportunities, you may have to go back on your initial business model...
As you go through the decisions involved in setting up the business side of managing an API, it becomes clear that you will need to treat the API as a product in order for it to succeed. But what does that mean and how do you do that? This part takes you through the things you need to consider.
Part of our series on getting the most ROI out of your API spotlights the real-life decisions made by providers. Here we show how Dun & Bradstreet maintains and promotes its APIs. See how the company treats its APIs as products, considering them necessary additions that grow in strategic value.
The first few decisions around building an API strategy centered on the business components. With those in place, building the API is now possible. The API strategy moves to becoming more of a technical concern for several steps as you resolve API design, security, and API Ops.
With business decisions in place for your API strategy, we've moved on to some more technical issues, such as the reference and API architectures, and the choice of API specification formats. Now in this part, let's take a look at the range of API lifecycle tooling available.
At this point in your API journey, you have made a number of business decisions and a couple of technical ones. Now, several crucial decisions need to be made around security. Securing an API is an often neglected task, yet doing so is at the heart of an effective API strategy.
Congratulations, your API is now production ready. Next you will need to provide documentation to consumers so they can integrate the data and services you have exposed via API quickly. This part covers API documentation including the role of API specs and a number of available tools.
Now that your API has been published and external developers are beginning to consume it, our focus shifts again towards a balance between business and technical issues. In this part of the series we take a look at how a business can leverage the technical API to grow a developer community?
Our series on getting the most ROI out of your API has looked at the business and technical decisions to make when building your API strategy. We've also made decisions around how to engage with developers and build a developer community. A key aspect to this involves creating a developer...
Deciding what metrics matter depends on the overall strategy goals and business model that aligns with your APIs. This is why defining the business model was one of the first steps in your decision series. Now we need to make sure our evaluation framework matches back up to what we set out to do.
As part of the series on getting the most ROI out of your API, this case study shows how Intercom grew its developer program by tracking key indicators across a range of business goals — platform reach, developer engagement, financial impact — that aligned with their API strategy and business plan.