API Lifecycle is Critical for API Management Solutions

Graphical analysis of changes to an API

72% of the respondents in a recent survey identified API lifecycle management as a critical capability of API management solutions.  The survey, that we conducted last week, included over 50 IT architects, developers and consultants. 80% of the survey respondents also said that they have either exposed APIs or are planning to do so in near future.

As a refresher from an earlier post – API Management Primer – I shared the three basic capabilities of an API management solution – API Portal, API Gateway, and API lifecycle management. When the audience was asked, “Which capabilities do you see as most critical for an API management solution?” (which allowed multiple choices) the responses were as follows:

  • API Portal – 61%
  • API Gateway – 61%
  • API Lifecycle Management – 72%

Why do these IT leaders think that API lifecycle management is important? To understand this better, let’s consider the personas on either side of an API – the consumers and the providers.

As an API consumer, say a client app developer you have concerns such as –

  • Can version updates to the API break my application?
  • Is my API provider meeting the promised service level agreements (SLA’s)?
  • Is the API provider applying adequate resources to power the API reliably?

Whereas as an API provider, say the API product manager, may have concerns about –

  • Is the API exposed useful and something that will be adopted as expected?
  • Are we meeting our organization’s standards in terms of API quality?
  • What is our versioning strategy? When do we retire our APIs?
  • How do we make sure we understand the impact of changes before making them?

API lifecycle management helps API providers address these concerns for both themselves and also their customers i.e. the app developers. Without addressing the API Lifecycle, API providers will have problems attracting developers to adopt their APIs. In other words, API lifecycle management is critical to implementing a successful API strategy.

Okay, now here’s some food for thought. Of the respondents interested in implementing APIs, over 80% of them said that they are doing APIs for mostly internal use or for both internal and external use. Only 18% were implementing APIs exclusively for external use.  How do you explain that? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

About Navdeep Sidhu

Navdeep Sidhu has written 38 posts in this blog.

Navdeep Sidhu is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Software AG, he focuses on webMethods Integration platform. Prior to Software AG, he was with Sterling Commerce (now IBM) where he was Sr. Product Manager focusing on B2B Gateways and Partner Community Management. Prior to joining Sterling Commerce, he spent over 7 years with Deloitte Consulting managing large scale application development and integration projects.

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