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Webinar Highlights: Perfect Your API Ecosystem

Yesterday, Laurie Allen, SVP of Operations & Account Management, and Paul Nerger, SVP of Strategic Account & Product Management, co-hosted a Webinar, “Your API Ecosystem, Perfectly Executed”. Not only did they cover an overview of the API Ecosystem and its three-sided nature, but they also discussed how organizations can craft their models to ensure a virtuous cycle of success.

Of the many highlights, these were my favorite takeaways:

  1. Overall Importance: Understanding that the API Ecosystem is a three-sided economic model composed of customers, developers, and partners allows organizations to build an API business that creates a virtuous cycle capable of sustaining itself to reach maximum market potential.
  2. The Whole Product: By themselves, APIs have limited use. However, when developers build solutions that allow customers to get additional value, it becomes a whole product around which an API business can succeed.
  3. The Developer Portal: This interactive website needs to allow members of an organizations developer community to gain access to the resources required to understand the API and get the job done. Furthermore, it must entice externally focused developers to take the next steps, joining a partner program.
  4. The Partner Portal: The companies that externally focused developers work for should be incentivized to join a partner portal. This allows an organization to build a catalog of solution partners that extend the API. The most important thing about this portal is that it is able to be built and managed in a self-service way that scales.
  5. Expansion & Retention: Organizations must implement a marketplace to help partners achieve their goals. In a marketplace, partners sell value-added services and apps that are built upon an API, capturing new customers for both parties. This keep partners happy and inclined to stay where they are.
  6. Cyclical Success: By attracting externally focused developers that become partners, organizations add value to an API by making it more “whole” through marketplace offerings. This leads to increases in sales and consequently success. As success increases, more developers and partners are attracted, starting the cycle over.

Though these highlights provide an overview of the API Ecosystem and how it can impact an organization, it is important for individual organizations to understand the economics within the scope of their business, and it is equally as important to understand the various monetization points.

If you are reading this and looking to dive deeper, establishing your own API Ecosystem, ask yourself: “How do I turn an API Ecosystem into a viable business model? Which monetization points make sense for my business?”.

After answering these questions, build a go-to-market plan that includes the build out a developer portal, partner portal, and marketplace overtime. Be prepared to constantly test your assumptions, to pivot when necessary, and to innovate as changes come up along the way.

In need of some additional insight to help you get started? Check out this white paper, The Economics of an API Ecosystem.