With tech constantly innovating, various tools and software need to be able to work simultaneously. API's are what makes this possible. The API provides software with a way to interact and communicate. This is how different applications connect, whether it's two internal apps or integrating an app into another company's platform. However, with APIs, as in any software integration, many challenges are likely to arise. To mitigate these challenges, an API management strategy should be in place.

Table of contents

  1. What is an API Management Strategy?
  2. Define Your API Strategy
  3. Know Your Numbers
  4. Use the Proper Infrastructure
  5. Ensure Your API's are Secure
  6. Build the Proper Team and Provide API Training
  7. Plan for Scalability and Performance
  8. Centralize and Organize Data
  9. Aligning Xplenty With Your API Management Strategy

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What is an API Management Strategy?

An API management strategy is a business approach that focuses on the creation, distribution, and support of APIs. There are many benefits to having an API management strategy. A few of those include; improved control over your data, increased security through better authentication and access controls to APIs, and reduced maintenance costs associated with integration between applications or departments within a single organization. 

1. Define Your API Strategy

The first of our tips for building an API management strategy is to define the business case behind it. Have a clear objective for why this strategy needs to be implemented and identify your key stakeholders (the people who will influence whether you are successful). Next, write down what problem you are trying to solve, how an API can help get there, and list the essential roles that need to be filled.

Use Case: 

  • Identify the problem:

Your sales department has been using spreadsheets that take time away from selling because of manual data entry. 

  • Solution:

Setting up an automation process by integrating a data management system with your current CRM can save you time and automate the data entry process. 

  • Implementation:

To connect the two software, you will need to integrate the two through the use of APIs. 

2. Know Your Numbers

The second of our tips for building an API management strategy is to understand your financials and know your numbers. Your business case needs to support how it will help solve a problem and why it is crucial for sustaining and growing your company long-term, including revenue growth and cost-cutting opportunities. For example:

ROI: $200k in time savings per year by eliminating manual work from data entry staff at marketing every Monday morning (time saved = employees can focus on more valuable activities).

Cost Savings: Automating our weekly reports would save us $150k/year in salary costs because the employees' time is no longer required for these tasks.

3. Use the Proper Infrastructure

The proper infrastructure is essential for your API management strategy. Integrate with the technology you already have in place, whether it's an on-premise solution or a cloud service such as Microsoft Azure. If you're looking to add additional capabilities or features to your current setup, then this becomes much easier when choosing technologies that integrate well together. Also, APIs can often cause high demand on software and technology, especially if data transfers occur. Make sure you have powerful enough hardware to handle the demand from your API management strategy.

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4. Ensure Your API's are Secure

Your APIs should be well designed and built to ensure security. It is an excellent practice to ensure your company has proper authentication, authorization, data encryption/decryption procedures in place related to APIs. This will help protect sensitive data from leaking into the wrong hands if one of your developers accidentally releases an API key or token that provides access to private information.

One way you can do this is by ensuring that all developer keys are kept within a secure area on the server-side where only authorized individuals have permission to change them. Allowing external users full rights typically results in damage control when unauthorized changes have been made without being detected until after the fact, which may even include breach notification laws depending upon what state or country you reside in.

5. Build the Proper Team and Provide API Training

The fifth of our tips for building an API management strategy is to ensure you have the right team with adequate skill and understanding of how the APIs work.

Building a solid team is critical to your success. It would be best if you had the right people in place with the proper skills and experience as this will ensure that everyone has been adequately trained on how to use this new tool/methodology within their existing roles. Don't forget to implement training sessions at least quarterly so that any additional employees you add down the road are fully prepared before taking ownership of these responsibilities themselves.

6. Plan for Scalability and Performance

You also need to plan for scalability and performance as your API management platform will be handling a great deal of traffic. Work with backend architects and infrastructure experts to make data center upgrades where required, such as adding additional servers or memory depending upon the demands you expect.

7. Centralize and Organize Data

The last of our tips for building an API management strategy is to plan for scalability and organize data. In order to scale, you must have your data organized, clean, and ready for expansion. If you are looking for future scalability, having data in multiple locations and on different software that doesn't align can be incredibly challenging for your business. One way to help mitigate future errors is to centralize your data.

Using an ETL such as Xplenty, you can take your data from multiple platforms, and through the use of APIs, you can clean and transfer the data to a centralized location such as Amazon Redshift and Microsoft Azure.

Aligning Xplenty With Your API Management Strategy

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An API management strategy will enable your business to create an interconnected network of software that can optimize your business's efficiencies. However, with all strategies and new technologies, if a proper system is not in place, it can do more harm than good.

Xplenty is a data management tool that automates the movement of data between on-premise and cloud applications and social media platforms. Using software such as Xplenty can ensure your data is transferred correctly and efficiently so that APIs can be best utilized.

Get in touch with one of Xplenty's experts today to see how Xplenty can help you set up the perfect API management strategy for your business.