5 Ways APIs Provide Value for Business
February 12, 2016

Pete Goldin
DEVOPSdigest

Agility is a key reason behind most companies’ API strategies and for fueling growing interest in microservices, according to MuleSoft's European API survey.

With new opportunities in the digital era to connect the unconnected, business success will be defined by how effectively enterprises can connect their applications, data, clouds and partner ecosystems. APIs offer a new way for businesses to connect not only these assets, but also their customers, other businesses, internal employees and new technologies.

Pressure to Deliver IT Services Increases

Over three-quarters (78%) of IT professionals surveyed said pressure to deliver IT services from across the organization had increased over the past 12 months. Of these, two-thirds (66 percent) said that change was needed in order to meet a “significant” or “drastic” increase in pressure. Whereas pressure has traditionally come from mainly sales and marketing departments, it is now also coming from finance and operations, C-level executives, and research and development. Almost 30% of respondents said they are getting ad hoc requests from departmental business groups.

“IT is now critical to a company’s ability to stay competitive in a rapidly changing business environment,” said Ross Mason, Founder and VP of Product Strategy, MuleSoft. “IT teams are facing growing pressure from the boardroom and from every corner of the organization. The old IT operating mode is fractured. IT leaders are looking to an API strategy to reduce the complexity of their landscape, unlock assets and enable much greater agility through accessibility and reuse. Organizations are increasingly seeing the benefits of APIs, including the ability to generate value by connecting their existing assets with those of their customers, partners and employees.”

APIs Take Center Stage for Enabling Business and Agility

Of companies with an API strategy in place, the majority said they are currently using APIs to free data, specifically link new software with existing systems and applications (72%) or unlock data silos (55 percent), according to the survey.

52% also indicated the need to increase agility and enable business teams to self-serve IT as a reason for having an API strategy.

When asked about the values APIs add to the business, the top five reasons were:

1. Enabling applications (71%)

2. Agility (67%)

3. Ability to enable partners and affiliates (56%)

4. Driving innovation (47%)

5. Engaging and developing new channels (47%)

Mason added, “We are seeing CIOs shift from traditional IT delivery models to delivering capabilities to their business, allowing the consumers of these capabilities to build their own applications and processes. This is the decentralisation of IT, where IT no longer owns the applications but are governors of the data. This contributes to the expanding partnership between business and IT. The key step will be decentralizing IT by opening up APIs to developers and lines-of-business, so they can gain access to reusable data to try out new products or explore new digital services.”

More than 80% of respondents said they plan to generate new revenue streams from their APIs within the next five years, up from 22% who do so today.

Accelerating Microservices Trend

Agility was also shown to be behind much of the interest in microservices. Respondents using or thinking of using microservices identified the ability to add new features or capabilities without re-writing a whole application as most important. However, many expressed concerns about implementing a microservices architecture due to growing complexity associated with the increasing number of microservices that a business would manage.

38% of respondents said they were currently using microservices. Of those that weren’t, 44% said they were planning to do so. 26% were planning to leverage microservices within the next six months.

Survey Methodology: Between November 3 and November 12, 2015, MuleSoft surveyed 800 IT professionals across Europe to assess how organisations of all sizes are using APIs and changing the way IT operates due to increasing demand to deliver services. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval.

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