Q&A: How to co-create value in the API economy
The API economy is transforming the way organizations create value. APIs are now the standard way for an organization to expose business capabilities out to a broader ecosystem of developers, partners and employees to create new experiences for customers. Think of McDonald’s delivering food directly to doorsteps via Uber Eats without deploying its own delivery services, or Expedia aggregating flight information from various airlines in a single view—all possible because of APIs. At its heart, the API economy is about the exchange of value between those providing APIs and those consuming them.
Today, MuleSoft announced the next major release of Anypoint Platform, enabling organizations to build successful API programs that result in a thriving ecosystem of developers, partners and employees co-creating value in the API economy. We caught up with David Chao, MuleSoft’s vice president of product marketing, for his thoughts on the release and how productized APIs are changing the competitive game for organizations across every major industry.
Q: To start, David, can you tell us what API programs are and how they can help organizations participate in the API economy?
An API program is a coordinated effort to manage the creation and usage of APIs in support of a broader digital business strategy. The most innovative companies like Unilever, Coca-Cola and McDonalds have realized that APIs are competitive differentiators and are beginning to manage their APIs as products, investing in programs to manage them. With successful API programs, organizations can build and engage a full ecosystem of developers, partners and employees, who will adopt their APIs and reuse them to build new products and services.
To help organizations thrive and collaborate in the API economy, MuleSoft’s latest release uniquely combines technology and methodology for creating state-of-the-art API programs. On the technology side, API Community Manager enables any company to create and nurture a thriving API ecosystem in order to open new business channels, launch new business models and increase operational efficiency. With this release, MuleSoft is also the first to productize how to build a successful API strategy by extending Catalyst Mobilize, a packaged set of proven best practices and methodologies built on MuleSoft’s expertise working with 1,600 organizations globally.
Q: So this release makes it easy for organizations to share their APIs with external partners and developers to co-create value. Could you illustrate what this looks like?
Air Malta is a great example of co-creating value with external partners. The national airline, carrying more than 2 million passengers annually, knew it would need to broaden its digital reach in order to stay competitive in the API economy. Air Malta integrated flight planning solutions from Lufthansa to optimize route planning, improve flight operations management and handle reservations more quickly. Air Malta also reused these APIs to integrate with Ryanair to sell its flights from the Ryanair website, meeting customers where they are. With reusable productized APIs, Air Malta can easily distribute its commercial relations and flight operations information both within the organization and with partners, dramatically transforming the way the airline builds new customer experiences.
Another example is IP Australia, a government agency that administers intellectual property rights and legislation relating to patents, trademarks, designs and more. It wanted to share its APIs externally in order to streamline cross-government processes. For example, an end-user might go to another government website to register a business name and could be prompted to register a trademark through IP-Australia at the same time. Working with MuleSoft, IP Australia is exposing its APIs to help create “API marketplaces” — allowing third-party software developers to build their own offerings on top of the agency’s services.
Q: How does the newest release of Anypoint Platform help businesses engage API consumers?
Anyone can build APIs, but the real value of APIs depends on their ease of discovery, usability and reusability. After all, every time an API is reused, it saves time and resources that can be put to work elsewhere.The latest Anypoint Platform release ensures that companies are getting the most use out of their APIs by helping them build customizable digital experiences that drive awareness, engagement and success with API programs.
API Community Manager extends MuleSoft’s Anypoint Exchange — Anypoint Platform’s marketplace for connectors, templates, examples, and APIs — allowing organizations to build support around the reusable assets that they already have in order to meet the specific needs of a broader set of cross-functional stakeholders, including developers, partners, API product managers, and other line-of-business users. API Community Manager uniquely combines a full-featured API portal and digital experience capabilities, transforming how teams collaborate across the entire lifecycle of an API program. Furthermore, Catalyst Mobilize provides a guided approach to establishing an API strategy, from planning API programs to measuring the value of integration and APIs. It includes best practices, playbooks, API strategy blueprints and more.
Q: Going forward, how is this release going to change the way your customers leverage the application network?
Our ultimate goal is to help organizations change and innovate faster by making it easy to connect the world’s applications, data and devices. With our software platform, we’re empowering every organization to build an application network of discoverable and reusable APIs to securely share data, regardless of format or source. Over the last few years, we have seen application networks help businesses transform in ways never before thought possible — enabling them to create differentiated customer experiences, efficient business models, and brand new revenue channels. APIs, of course, are core to this transformation, providing the interface by which applications in the network connect to and communicate with one another.
The May 2019 release of Anypoint Platform dramatically increases the consumability of APIs by packaging them as products with full software development lifecycle management, personalization, forums, chat, support case management, and engagement analytics. As a result, our customers will grow and scale their application networks by boosting discoverability and reuse of APIs — not just within the enterprise but also across external developers and partners. Ultimately, we are making it easier to co-create value in the API economy.