API Product Management

What can APIs do for Your Competitive Response Strategy?

When competition calls, your API strategy should enable you to respond flexibly -- in real time.

The facts: to add to the competition, Amazon is coming for every sector.

First came Retail… next came insurance… Amazon will undoubtedly dip their toes into Banking next.

And why wouldn’t they? At this point, they own nearly all of their own supply chain. They’re scraping fees off of one link at a time with every acquisition into a new sector.

But how do to leverage your own competitive response strategy.

You know we’re going to say APIs. But stay with us.

Here’s the thing — we all know Amazon got so efficient because of their API strategy. When they enter your field you want to be able to repond swiftly. Here’s how.

Step one. Unlock the Functions. Start unlocking those business functions so you’re working with live data and you can meet your swiftest launch — you don’t even know your swiftest launch until you’ve digitized every business service, or function. If you do this, in the goal state you will be selecting the resources from your digital catalog, wrapping them together with a few details, and clicking a button to deliver a shiny new service. All development will need to do is integrate and push live.

Step two. Tie design catalog to automated lifecycle to scale. When things pick up, you want the engine to be able to handle the speed. Do you want all of your business functions unlocked? Heck yes, you do. But you can’t build Rome in a day. Start with the products you already know you need to build — build from the inside-out, so you’re answering to customer needs first. As you do build, build with reuse in mind. It might feel somewhat slower at first, but you can automate much of the lifecycle, like mappings and code generation, to speed things up (ignite helps with this). As soon as you use that service the second time around, or the 100th (yes, reuse % will get that high and greater), you’ll see the benefits.

Step three. 3rd party power. If you don’t offer it, and don’t plan on acquiring a company who does (it’s not in everyone’s budget), use your APIs to integrate with a 3rd party who adds a similar flavor to the competition. The beauty of this competitive free market so many of us are in is the fact that there are new affordable players coming up all of the time — and they could use your business just as much as you can use theirs.

Step four. “And then some” — do the same thing but extra. Use your 3rd party integration abilities to add an extra service. Integrate with 3rd parties to innovate before you feel the competition. Stay ahead of the curve. With real-time reporting, you’re going to know what works or doesn’t in a hurry. And while we’re at it, what else can be handled by a 3rd party? The beauty of the API economy is that no matter what you need, someone out there offers it.

Step five. Partner up, as they used to say in my grandmother’s line dancing class (yes, I went. several times.). As you gain more and more coverage, you’re innovating more. Not all of that innovation has to come from the inside.  If you built those business functions for reuse, you can likely publish a few of them as is. Offer some in an Open Web API portal, see what happens. At the very least, you’ll open up new revenue streams through a handful of APIs you already built. Anytime you can make money on a byproduct, you’re winning.

Step six. Modernize with APIs. Before you know it, you’re living on the cloud. Or maybe you’re onto the next great thing — decentralized internet, anyone? — and you’re able to move off of the heavy mainframes and monolithic code strings that once slowed you down so. The point is, when all is decoupled, changing the integration from design can be the easy part. Think of a 3d printer — you can print the same design in any material, right? In a similar way, you can keep your business functions in their designs, but publish them for any language or technology. You can adjust to any framework. Restructuring, rip and replace, modernizing, these things aren’t so scary when you have the lineage and the automatic mapping of microservices architecture from ignite.

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