The API economy is exploding. As internet-connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices become ubiquitous, the strategy of using application programming interfaces (APIs) to transfer data and communicate will become an everyday occurrence. Our economy is being driven largely by APIs — communication channels and business protocols that provide secure transfer of data. Let me share where I believe we are headed with the API economy in 2017.
AI APIs are Everywhere!
We are in the midst of a digital transformation that is changing the face of society. Digital technology is pervasive — for example, you can purchase running shoes that connect to your smart watch to help you track your workouts. Large financial institutions are digitizing parts of their businesses enabling new use cases for everyday users to access their finances. Almost every aspect of life will have a digital element that provides more convenience and better experience.
The shift to a digital-first approach is being enabled by APIs. There are more than 12,000 public, open APIs and a large number of private systems. APIs allow brands, marketers, and developers to transfer data quickly with low latency over large geographic areas. APIs are helping companies add value and new features to their existing products, transforming their value proposition in the marketplace.
Microservices Migrations Go Mainstream
In the last couple of years, microservices and containers have been a dominant point of conversation among managers and technical specialists when discussing how to move from legacy systems to a more adaptable, flexible IT system. The overwhelming focus on microservices and dockerized containers may be overshadowing the value of APIs in helping create fast integrations and open digital platforms. This creates a danger of relegating APIs to a technical discussion rather than a business solution.
The Event Economy
The API economy has quickly become the event economy. The rapid growth of web automation apps such as If This Then That (IFTTT) and Zapier have taken much of the drudgery out of integrations and made them streamlined, simple, and effective. The technology that makes the magic of these services work is webhooks. When a certain event takes place, a second event is launched via HTTP POST. Webhooks are the base of an "evented" web. Using an API, when a certain event takes place, they send an HTTP request with the specified data.
The ability of webhooks to be on the alert for events and respond when they happen opens up tremendous opportunities. Businesses and workers can easily automate email processing, text messages, server events, document handling and even code changes. APIs are accelerating the expansion and adoption of automation in business, manufacturing and consumer life.
Digital Transformation Becomes Enterprise-as-a-Platform
As digital transformation gained steam and companies began to increasingly adopt cloud computing solutions, they maintained concerns about efficiency, flexibility, security and governance. Enterprise-as-a-Service (EaaS) and Enterprise-as-a-Platform (EaaP) solutions emerged to address these issues. EaaP provides an end-to-end solution for business processes and control, allowing firms to leverage services such as Microsoft's Azure, Amazon Web Services, and IBM cloud to create value by making transactions, processes and systems self-contained in a single ecosystem.
API Integration at Scale
One of the exciting qualities of APIs is the ability to scale quickly. Several of the fastest-growing companies in the world, famous for their ability to unlock value and create disruption in a number of industries are all largely built on APIs. Spotify, Twitter, and Uber are examples of the power of APIs to amplify the value of data. More than 160,000 drivers for Uber have provided 2 billion rides in 450 cities, and the Uber app is installed on 21 percent of Android devices in the U.S.
New Ways of Working
In today's API economy, tools and technologies need to leverage their value through APIs to maintain their viability and market value. As organizations continue to integrate the best technologies available through APIs in 2017, new ways of working, collaborating, and sharing data will open our economy and world.