In previous articles we have discussed what an API is and how they are transforming the digital economy. Today we go one step further on the subject and discover what an “API Marketplace” is.
What is an API Marketplace?
A marketplace is, by definition, a place where two stakeholders who need each other meet: someone who offers something, and someone who is looking for it.
Therefore, when we talk about an API Marketplace we are referring to a structure of this kind, but in relation to APIs.
On one hand, we have API developers, and on the other API consumers; but an API Marketplace goes beyond being a meeting place. It is an environment that fosters creativity in the creation of applications; activities are organized and incentives are offered.
Therefore, we could define it as an “evangelizing” element, which intends to boost both the product and the consumption of APIs.
API Marketplace benefits
If a company it thinking about following a line of business based on APIs, the API strategy this is most likely to succeed is the creation of an API Marketplace.
To better understand why, below we will see some of its benefits:
1- It allows APIs to be known by consumers
The developers can browse the API Marketplace until the find the APIs that provide the features they desire.
2- Fosters participation
An API Marketplace has forums which imply a valuable communications channel that allows you to know market demands, while offering the much-needed feedback.
3- Encourages the development and use of APIs
In an API Marketplace, you can find all kinds of educational material for developers – from guides to online events. Without a doubt, they are a valuable resource for the creation of applications that require the use of APIs, as well as the creation of APIs themselves.
4- Offers incentives to stimulate the offer and demand of APIs
From the use of money rewards to the simple ego boost of the developers, an API Marketplace fosters participation by establishing rankings, tables and statistics that advertise the most successful APIs and applications.
5- Allows the effectiveness of APIs be evaluated by means of statistics
Statistics are the tools that let you know their degree of success, which is closely linked to their chances for monetization.
Steps to follow when developing and managing an API Marketplace
Are you convinced yet? Well, like with any other activity, success does not depend on the activity itself, but on implementing it correctly.
Creating an API Marketplace that truly becomes a business requires walking a demanding path. Let’s take a look at the steps you should follow in order to accomplish it.
1- Defining the API management technological strategy
A comprehensive API Management platform is paramount for the creation of an API Marketplace, and here the developers’ portal is especially important.
2- Decide where and how to implement it
Another key decision: work on the cloud, on site or a combination of both?
3- Define an external or internal API Management strategy
The organization needs to choose between promoting a community that fosters the reuse of internal APIs, or go for an open approach that lets external developers build applications around the APIs.
4- Get the community involved and turn it into your best advocate
In order for a marketplace to be successful, it needs its community to get involved – that is, to use the platform. Therefore, you need to encourage them to do that, both in relation to the publication of the APIs, and to getting application developers to use them.
5- Encourage reuse
Analytics and KPIs are key elements when it comes to encouraging reuse, since they allow for a higher level of competitiveness, by means of tables and ratings.
6- Monetization and cross income operations between businesses
APIs are the core of the business, whether through their direct sale or through the consumption of APIs by different entities involved in the marketplace.
7- Analytics and Governance
The publication of the right APIs following specific standards can be accomplished by means of a governance that leaves room for a much-needed creativity. In order to do this, analytic tools are key.
WSO2 API Marketplace
When developing API strategies, it is necessary to have the best solution for your business. One of the best options available on the market is WSO2 API Marketplace.
However, it is important to highlight that, in order to reach the end goal of an API strategy, it is better to have traversed each and every intermediate stage in a consistent manner.
The first level is API Management, and therefore, in this stage your focus should be on the specific goals of an API manager: connect with API producers, with their consumers, and create a safe environment where companies can manage, design and publish them.
Only after having successfully completed this stage is when it is worth studying the possibility of creating an API Marketplace.
Now comes the time to incorporate new aspects that encourage API producers to provide tools and documentation, providing them with incentives through different means.
So, is an API Marketplace the end goal of an API strategy? Actually, no. Following this same scheme, if the applications start multiplying exponentially, there is still room for a new level.
This new level is what we would call a Marketplace Ecosystem, which is none other than applying the same concept to an applications Marketplace instead of an API one.
As you can see, you can develop a much broader API strategy as a result of the benefits brought on by API Management.
The key to success lies in working day after day in accomplishing the best possible implementation of the phase of the project we are immersed in, but without losing sight of the destination of this trip since day one.
Do you want to learn more about how to get started with your API strategy, or how to improve it? At Chakray we can help you. Contact our experts, they’ll be thrilled to assist you!