The API Management Platforms market has been consolidating year after year, and there are a bunch of evidences that show how it has been growing constantly. Among these evidences, I can highlight the growing investment companies have been doing in Tools and Platforms of this kind.
According to Gartner, the global API Management Market has been growing above two digits in the past 3 years, and apparently, there are no signs to believe that 2019 is going to be much different.
On top of these financial indicators, there are other ones that show us how much companies from outside this area of expertise are getting more and more interested, such as the recent acquisitions of Apigee, CA, Mulesoft and Red Hat around the millions and billions of Dollars. Although CA and Red Hat are not exclusively in the API Management business, they do hold this offer as a very meaningful part of their business. In the other hand, Apigee and Mulesoft have most of its revenue through their API offering.
As those acquisitions are making the first page on the newspapers, another very important evidence is the way that other Players are deciding to compete by a part of this market. Companies with distinct offers, such as iPaas, WAF, ESBs and others are adding basic API Management features to try and take a bite of this fast and constantly growing market.
But what the future holds for these API Platforms? As days goes by, it is gaining momentum in companies’ strategies, making it more relevant and bringing new challenges into managing APIs.
Once proven its value in the companies’ strategies, other areas start to demand APIs, and that takes the Governance challenge to a whole new level, and maybe the question that lies here is: How to manage all this APIs and who is going to be responsible for them?
Is it worth to put together a dedicated API Management Team? Or is it better to give autonomy to other teams? Those are questions that do not have a specific answer to them, they obviously demand some experimentation, it is necessary to understand the API program and then design your governance approach.
Some of the largest players in the global Tech market are aiming the API Management market, and that happens mostly because of the way that the APIs are largely impacting major technology trends, after all, integrations have always been critical to operations.
At this moment, there are some of these global tech player becoming more focused, investing their efforts on more specific offerings, like SAP (which has an API Management solution embedded) restructuring to prioritize AI, Blockchain, IoT and Quantum Computing.
Recent acquisitions were made by companies with much larger scope, for example Broadcom acquiring CA, Salesforce acquiring Mulesoft and IBM acquiring Red Hat.
In the past, we saw companies with larger scopes choosing which aspects of their offering were to receive more attention — For the ones considering APIs as a key part of their business strategy, it is a good practice to pick a Platform that ensures its evolution and adaptation to the main trends coming up.
Talking about experimentation and different business models, a question rises: Which is the best API Management for me?
This is a question that needs a bit more context to be answered. A good advice here is to look inside your business, to you companies’ core and understand how the APIs fit in that context.
I’d say that if they play a vital role in your business model, you’ll need a partner who deeply knows APIs and how it’ll transform your business.
Having said that, you’ll need to assess some Platform attributes and features to make a decision:
Pick a platform that delivers API security specific features, the market standards are usually the most efficient ones, an important lesson is to not reinvent the wheel. Some companies even consider the API Management as another layer in their “defense in depth” strategy.
If your strategy will demand 1, 2 or 300 APIs, it is necessary to pick a Platform that facilitates the exposition of those APIs, after all, time to market is extremely important in innovation scenarios, and be held back for not exposing an API can cause a big disappointment. In that situation, Connectors, Graphic API Design tools and Wizards and other features are fundamental for someone willing to Design and Expose APIs quickly.
How fast can your team get used to a new platform? Usability here is of utmost importance. The chosen Platform must deliver all those features you prioritized and at the same time, it must be easy and simple to implement them. Besides, if you’re really considering APIs on your business, you might be looking to increase your “API Specialists Team”, and they will have to get used to the Platform really, really fast.
As many companies are looking into API Management as an “experimentation” and a way to implement the more “agile culture”, your Platform must adapt to different scenarios, helping deliver internal APIs, Partners Onboarding and help manage a Open Innovation model. Many companies start with one type of “Digital Platform”, but they also develop other strategies throughout this journey.
The Platform’s evolution is very, very important. I’ve mentioned before that the API Management market is evolving very fast – it means that your Platform will have to evolve at the same pace if you want to keep up with the latest trends and innovation use cases, and keep support of the most consolidated standards at the same time. In those scenarios, companies with little focus on API Management might not respond quickly to that.
API Management is a consolidated market, but don’t think for a minute that it is not evolving fast. Until very little ago, GraphQL weren’t even mentioned in the “corporate world”, but there are successful stories outside Facebook already, and that goes on to Stream APIs or Mesh Architecture.
Those topics jump up when talking about the evolution of API Management, and API Platforms willing to support the most innovative companies should aim to evolve at the same pace.
More than that, it is necessary to identify these trends and understand how it can really impact the business and draft an adoption Roadmap.
If you’re adopting APIs to make your company more agile, integrated and innovative, you’ll need a Platform with that resonates with that: It should be fast to adopt and evolve at this pace.
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