API Providers Remain Unclear Over Enterprises’ Requirements for API Services

Charlotte Dunlap

Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • Vendors prioritize API management technologies as part of MADP and PaaS offerings.
  • There are mixed messages over how enterprises will consume API services.

Recently, while at Oracle’s fall conference, I attended a session on the new API economy. The speaker began his presentation by asking how many developers in the audience had begun API projects with the aim of achieving new monetary revenues as a result. Most in the audience raised their hands. He then asked how many would like to have API solutions provided by said vendor, and no one raised their hands, much to his amazement.

This situation begs the questions: How do enterprises want to consume API services? And do they even want/need them for most use cases, as these folks are likely handling the process to a certain degree themselves? Of course, the answers depend on a number of variables, such as what a company is trying to accomplish with its mobile app development and what type of internal expertise and budgets constraints a company has. Primary reasons enterprises are adopting API services are: to reduce in-house development costs via reuse and connection; to publish external services for new revenue streams; to publish free external services to up-sell other capabilities; and to leverage SOA investments and achieve advanced app development via analytics, etc. Initially, we see enterprises as adopting API services primarily through API pure plays, as part of a PaaS solution, as part of a mobile application platform solutions, possibly packaged in containers.

App platform providers are anticipating how customers wish to consume API services through a variety of product rollouts in recent months. Strategies include partnering with API management leader Apigee or making acquisitions of API management vendors.

API management’s most obvious route to market is through the integration and analytics capabilities of leading app platform providers, such as IBM and TIBCO. Building on its StrongLoop acquisition, IBM is hoping customers will want to consume its API management solution, in some scenarios, as part of cognitive computing, leveraging its Watson technology and being delivered through its platform services. Following its acquisition of Mashery, TIBCO offers an API portal made stronger when customers leverage the company’s security and event-based policy management portfolios.

Over the next couple months, Current Analysis will be conducting research on API services, to better determine the buying plans of enterprises. Meantime, expect a lot more activities around DevOps solutions integrating these capabilities. The next year will be an important one for API services as enterprises reach a better understanding of the API economy.

About Charlotte Dunlap
Charlotte is a Senior Analyst for Application Platforms at Current Analysis. She covers the technologies that provide the infrastructure necessary to build and run enterprise applications and services. She analyzes the software, services and professional services necessary to integrate disparate systems, create cross-business and cross-technology communications, deliver rich, collaborative applications, and build software that is transparent, optimized and reusable.

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