3 API Management Considerations For Mid-Market Companies

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Even as the mid-market companies walk a tightrope—balancing tiny teams with tinier budgets—they do recognize the value of business technology. Backed by their inherent strengths of specialization and customer loyalty, mid-market companies of today are the aspiring enterprises of tomorrow.

Many local-market-focused mid-market outfits can be seen targeting new customers and territories with the help of API technology. APIs play a major role in helping them realize their speedy business growth ambitions. With APIs, mid-market players can forge new alliances, reach out to new geographies, introduce new products and services, and thus expand their business footprint rapidly.

While more and more mid-market companies are looking at investing in APIs to accelerate growth, a few factors may need to be considered before they can set out on their API journeys. These considerations can help these organizations steer clear of certain missteps on the way and ensure their API development and management initiatives deliver desired results.

- Why you need APIs?

Any technology implementation must begin with requirement analysis. The core business objective—knowing exactly why you want to develop APIs—is the first consideration before investing a single rupee. Defining which information assets will be made accessible to which type of users can be the starting point of this discovery. For instance, when a specialized cosmetics and fashion accessories retailer with two or three outlets in nearby malls decides to augment its physical presence with an online store, it will need to create the API-specific on-boarding policies for brand owners to source products from as well as for service providers like banks, insurers, payment gateway service providers and courier companies. A few useful pointers here could be:

●     Know the potential users of your APIs

●     Clarify the type of products or services that APIs will help you to take to market

●     Identify the existing API ecosystem that your new APIs may have to communicate with

●     Define the channels that users will employ to make API requests

●     Factor in the backend integrations

Are the specialist roles been defined?

Over the past five years, various specialized roles have emerged in the API domain. Starting with API developer, these projects also require specialists such as API business lead, system administrator, operations executive, testers, product managers, and so on.

Identifying the right people for these jobs can help ensure a smooth progress with your API project implementation. For example, the role of a system administrator is essential for precise understanding and maintenance of API infrastructure as part of the overall organizational infrastructure. Accurately defining the requirement calls for product management and operations executives besides the core roles of API designers, architects, developers and testers.

Having a team with differentiated specialist roles in place can help you follow API best practices and procedures covering the entire spectrum of activities including planning, development and deployment. Given the cost constraints, mid-market companies may not find it suitable to hire people. Roping in an implementation partner with API development and management track record can be a useful option to evaluate.

-   Do you have the right API tools and infrastructure?

Even as API and microservices adoption has been on the rise, these technologies bring with them the issues such as those related to access control, authorizations, rate limiting, and so on. Moreover, as different microservices use different protocols, it may result in protocol mismatches. Security becomes another issue that developers need to tackle from day one.

In this backdrop, employing tools such as a complete API development environment or an API gateway may prove useful for mid-market players, as these tools can address several issues at a reasonably small cost. While an API gateway helps manage and authorize API traffic securely, an API development environment (ADE) can streamline the entire API lifecycle comprising the phases of conceptualization, development, documentation, testing, publishing, and the post-launch management.

Last, but not the least

While these considerations can help you place your API development on the right track, you may also need to pay attention to version controls for their smooth functioning in the long run. A good ADE solution may prove useful in this case as it can help you define a version roadmap besides streamlining a range of aspects including backend and third-party integrations, documentation, upgrades and updates.