APIs are becoming a necessary component of digital ecosystems for enterprises. In fact, 85 percent of them view web APIs and API-based integration to be critical to their long-term success. API early adopters who saw their business value are now seeing extraordinary growth and return on investment. This explains why, according to a Harvard Business Review article, Salesforce generates 50% of its income through APIs.
It’s critical to develop a comprehensive API integration plan if you want to use APIs as a digital transformation facilitator for your company. When designing your first API integration project, keep the following five stages in mind.
Understand Business Goals
Consider the business consequences of your API integration project before focusing on the technical components. Despite the fact that it is a vital stage, many companies disregard it as a ‘developers’ initiative. The first step is to set goals that are in line with your company’s vision and determine how you will assess success.
Here are some examples of KPIs to consider before and after implementing an API integration project.
- Time of development
- Speed to market.
- Cost of operations
- Direct revenue
- Customer churn rates.
- NPS (Net Promoter Score)
- API adoption and retention
We constantly advise our consumers to start with small, attainable goals and work their way up from there. As a starting point, consider the following:
- Who will make use of the API?
- What is the current problem that exists within your systems and how can you solve them?
- What day-to-day tasks need to be completed to reach the ideal end goal?
- What are 5 main KPIs to be considered while implementing APIs?
Pull in Key Stakeholders
After you’ve identified your key stakeholders, whether they’re developers, partners, or other internal resources, you’ll want to make sure they’re all on the same page when it comes to your first API integration project. If you’re working for a larger company, you’ll need to get a number of teams to participate and agree on API strategy. In any case, they should be aware of the advantages of using an API and how it may help them streamline their processes. Discuss the business goals you have in mind with them, and urge them to participate in the project. Put the 5 important KPIs you’ve put in front of them so they can get a feel of the business value gained from the APIs. This will make it easier for you to move as a group.
Analyze Your IT Environment
It is critical that you understand your organization’s data architecture before beginning any API integration project. Before sending it to your developer group, examine how information flows and whether everything is in its proper position. To make an API project a success, both the business and IT teams must collaborate and ask the correct questions before getting started. Here are a few examples:
- Are there any existing active software licenses?
- Where is data residing at the moment- a CRM or an ERP?
- How will you access data from multiple sources?
- What are tools used by departments for handling data
- Are there any chances that the applications and systems are disconnected?
- How advanced is the IT infrastructure currently?
- What methods are in place to ensure security best practices?
- Are there any public APIs in use in any of your instances?
Understand the Ecosystem and Integration Capabilities
The next stage is to determine which systems need to be connected to your APIs now that you have a good grasp of your IT infrastructure. Identify legacy systems, data silos, and application silos, and determine which approaches will work best and what may go wrong when connecting these systems to APIs. Some current systems may not need to be connected, while others may require special attention since they are department-specific.
Assemble Your Resources
After you’ve established your company goals and produced an API integration execution plan, the next step is to recruit a professional team to carry out your plans. You’ll need to assemble a team that approaches API implementation from a commercial standpoint rather than a technical one. Developers, product managers, designers, an architect, and QA should all be on an API-driven integration team. Will you be able to provide thorough training to your team members or do you have adequate resources to cover these roles? Is it necessary for you to entirely outsource the project? These questions should have definitive answers.
Do you want to use APIs to build a digital ecosystem? Contact our team to discuss your company needs, and we’ll work with you to develop a tailored execution strategy.