Integration has historically been viewed as a necessary headache. However, by using APIs to drive integration from the inside out, CIOs are now turning integration into a competitive business advantage instead of a frustrating piece of housekeeping. API growth is exploding in 2020, with more than 12,000 published at the time of writing. One of the reasons APIs have become so immensely popular is the versatility they can offer. In an age where user experience trumps everything, APIs can offer levels of integration that would have seemed impossible a short time ago.

The Evolution of APIs

The idea behind APIs has been around since the beginning of computing. However, in the last ten years they’ve grown significantly, not only in number but also in sophistication. APIs are now being managed like a product, albeit a complex one with a technical footprint that includes legacy systems. This change in attitude toward APIs has seen them evolve from little more than a development tool to an entire business model driver.

Next-Gen integration, which focuses on turning data into critical business assets to be monetized, will be crucial to success in the API economy. It’s hard to overstate just how important integration will be in the next decade, helping businesses derive value that may mean the difference between success and failure in a given marketplace. The ability to transform an existing business into one where the digital platform and “ecosystem thinking” are the dominant mindsets is key to participating in the API Economy. Take Uber for example. The Uber app interfaces with Google Maps to direct cars on the ride-hailing service. Expedia uses British Airways APIs to calculate discount fares. The list is surprisingly long.

The apparent benefits of this digital transformation are indeed whetting the appetites of many ambitious businesses. Even beyond tech, a broad spectrum of industries is already embracing API, from telecommunications to banking. Even governments are investing millions in order to reap benefits that only an API ecosystem can offer.

Democratization: The API Economy at Work

What we’re seeing is disruption and, in many cases, the democratization of an entire industry. Entrenched players in financial services are exploring open banking platforms that unbundle payment, credit, investment, loyalty, and loan services to compete with new entrants such as PayPal, Billtrust, Tilt, and Amazon—all of which are riding API-driven services into the payment industry. Netflix receives more than five billion daily requests to its public APIs. Is it any wonder that the usage of the company’s services and its valuation is so high?

In this environment, APIs act like indirect digital channels that provide access to IP, assets, goods, and services previously untapped by new business models. Companies are clearly driving new revenue as consumers benefit from new products and services. New tools and disciplines for API management have evolved to help realize the full potential of the API economy.

Next-Generation Integration as a Crucial Facilitator

Within today’s digital ecosystem, business is driven by getting information to the right people at the right time. Staying competitive is less about how many applications you own or how many developers you employ. It’s more about how effectively you trade on the insights and services within your company. In other words, integration is the new business facilitator.

The next generation integration mindset will go beyond merely connecting applications. Instead it will drive new avenues for business growth and even impact how businesses are run from the ground up. As a result, next-gen integrators (including the likes of Infostretch), will not only survive, but thrive in this API economy. To find out how Infostretch can help you start reaping the benefits of an evolving API economy, get in touch today.

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