​Uncovering the application economy… Are businesses maximising the benefits?

“It’s not just about whether you use APIs, but how you implement and manage them.”

While enterprise is flooded with widespread use of APIs in an effort to support essential elements for success in the application economy, not all organisations have the important capabilities in place to help them achieve comprehensive API success.

A global study commissioned by CA Technologies claims that respondents reported using APIs to build mobile and web applications (76 percent and 78 percent respectively), integrate back-office systems (79 percent), enable third-party developers and incorporate third-party services (74 percent each).

In addition, they also cited the customer experience (85 percent), faster delivery of new apps (84 percent) and extending digital reach (84 percent) as the top current and future drivers for using APIs - those elements all contribute to application economy success.

Despite the widespread use and key business drivers for APIs however, few respondents felt they had overcome some top API challenges, ranging from getting the right infrastructure in place and finding the right suppliers, to simply setting strategy and objectives.

“APIs can add tremendous value to a business, but simply having them is not enough,” says Rahim Bhatia, general manager, Developer Products, CA Technologies.

“Like products, they have to be properly created, managed, monitored and secured or bad things can happen, as we saw in recent connected car incidents or the Snapchat breach two years ago.”

As Bhatia explains, the view that overcoming API challenges is a work in progress is supported by the API Capability Index, a segmentation created based on feedback from 920 IT respondents who participated in this study.

The survey participants were asked if they had 10 API-enabling capabilities in place, which were grouped into four categories: Lifecycle Support, Core Security, Run-time Environment and Operational Management.

The responses were assigned a numeric value, scored accordingly and broken into three groups based on how well they were prepared to support APIs - Advanced, Basic and Limited - the global responses were evenly split with 34 percent Advanced and 33 percent Basic and Limited.

“One of the most striking findings from this research is the strong correlation between the level of API-enabling capability and the benefits achieved from API-related investments,” adds Tony Lock, distinguished analyst, Freeform Dynamics.

“On average, advanced adopters are two to three times more likely to be citing significant benefits than their peers at the other extreme with limited capability.

“It’s not just about whether you use APIs, but how you implement and manage them.”

For example, when it comes to API business drivers, the study showed 65 percent of Advanced API users have been able to deliver an improved customer experience versus only 25 percent of Limited users.

Similarly, 61 percent of Advanced users have experienced faster delivery of revenue-enhancing apps versus 23 percent of Limited users.

And in terms of extending digital reach, which is critical in the app economy, three times as many Advanced users as Basic users (61 percent vs 21 percent) have seen this benefit.

“As the leader in API management, CA proudly helps customers maximise the use of APIs by providing them with a secure, developer-friendly environment that can address today’s large scale mobile and IoT initiatives,” Bhatia adds.

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