It's an exciting time for organizations that have valuable IT assets in place and are seeing the opportunity to expand their revenue streams through those assets. Vibrant API offerings that leverage in-house data and skill sets are particularly enticing.
A few years ago, McKinsey predicted that as much as $1 trillion in global economic profit would be up for grabs through the redistribution of revenues that APIs have put into play. As such, there are many opportunities to provide narrowly tailored but competent services across sectors and monetize those services.
The number of organizations with mature API strategies remains small. Most offerings are just a dozen or so APIs instead of the hundreds needed for a robust portfolio. Most companies do not have any mature API strategy, and upper management is still largely unaware of the growth opportunities and margins available from monetizing their API portfolio.
If you are an early mover in this field, how do you get other departments on board (especially the C-suite) with a robust API monetization strategy? How can you promote internal adoption?
An API or developer portal is your gateway to monetizing your API offerings. Demonstrating lower TCO and higher ROI by adopting an API portal for your API offerings is a strong starting point to changing your organization’s culture regarding API strategy.
ROI on the Path to Monetization: 3 Non-monetary Returns of an API Portal
An API portal can generate returns in a number of ways, but before we speak about monetary returns, let’s delve into the indirect benefits and returns on investment you can find along the way to monetization.
1. Enabling Development and Innovation
The form of returns you can rely on, is the enablement of developers to do what they do best; Build and innovate. Without a centralized developer portal with a catalog, advanced search functions, and tools for communication and collaboration, developers will struggle to find the documentation and APIs they need to build quickly and efficiently.
2. Streamlining Partnerships and Integrations
With your APIs, documents, assets, stored and presented centrally, partners of all types will find it easier to work with your technology. Integrations between your technology and third-parties will also hit the market faster.
3. Bridging the Gap Between Business and IT
With the right social tools in place, an API portal can be a hub for innovation as well as a bridge for communication between departments.
Modern API portals (unlike legacy developer portals NOTE: link to Dev portals vs API portals here) are not built exclusively for the IT department to use. On the contrary, a well-designed API portal enables business users to expand their client base and explorer new markets driven by the start up community. A great example of this is the Fintech industry reshaping the insurance and banking markets.
ROI with Monetization: APIs Open Up New Approaches to Expanding Revenue
API monetization is becoming an important concept as we move through 2021. Major players, like Red Hat and Google, have started talking in-depth about generating revenue for the use of your APIs rather than through traditional software offerings.
IT departments are shifting to revenue-generating roles in organizations, and away from being sunk cost centers simply supporting other business units. While most CEOs and boards still share that view — 80% of IT resources and budget are spent on running the business and only 20% on growing the business — nearly half now view IT as a revenue generator instead of a cost-center.
A robust IT effort focused on monetizable API offerings usually improves the overall innovation happening within an organization. Keys to success in the effort involve modernizing the internal processes and workflows that developers touch during their work, affecting the entire IT operation. Customer bases are widened as opportunities to use APIs across sectors are recognized - often by customers independent of your internally identified niches.
The SaaS business model, which Gartner predicts could generate up to $121 billion in revenue in 2021 is heavily dependent on reselling third-party API offerings in tailored service packages for various niches. This makes it the hottest niche of entrepreneurial activity in the world economy today.
API Portals Improve Both Sides of the Ledger
Having robust API offerings, a monetization strategy for them, and gathering documentation and instructions for using the APIs in a central location are the first steps to leveraging the revenue opportunities sleeping in your IT department. But for the money to come, your offerings have to be attractive to developers and drive awareness and understanding of your organization’s product line.
An API or developer portal provides a better overall developer experience and increases engagement than ad hoc aggregations of API documentation and access instructions, improving your bottom line. They simplify the onboarding of new developers and allow developers to work more efficiently by putting everything they need in one place. An API portal enables exploration, encouraging the adoption of additional products while maintaining data security, access, and permission levels. And they provide structure for all of a company’s API offerings, reducing silos in the organization and providing a consistent interface to access offerings.
How A Top U.S. Insurance Company Benefits from its API Portal
This U.S. based insurance giant is one company that benefits daily from a forward-thinking and globally connected API portal. Prior to working with Apigee along with Achieve Internet, this insurance carrier had a number of challenges that they needed to overcome, including:
A lack of visibility and adoption of APIs internally and externally.
A resource heavy service model for their Roadside Assistance program with an absence of activities that drive efficiency, cost savings and new revenue opportunities.
A shortage of technical talent to successfully create and support a Drupal developer portal.
A limited understanding of how Apigee Edge can be optimized.
These issues were driving up costs, stifling the user experience, and stunting revenue growth. But together with the team at Achieve Internet, an Apigee Edge and Drupal-certified partner, they were able to achieve four key outcomes that optimizes workflows, lowers their costs, saves them time, and secures the future of their development ecosystem:
A Streamlined Developer Experience: With the right technical support in place, the company, along with its external partners and internal developers, began to see the developer experience streamlined and improved. This resulted in a 181% increase in digital engagement across the business. The developer portal was also significantly improved, allowing developers quick access to their API’s with clear documentation accelerating innovation.
Speed on the Ground: With Achieve Internet’s Apigee and Drupal experts, they can stay focused on their core business of improving their customer’s roadside service experience by getting them the help they need in an expedited fashion while increasing capacity (over 2,000,000 digital rescues) and reducing costs (approximately $3,000,000 cost savings).
Expert Support: Their smooth transition to Achieve Internet for support allows them to focus on the bigger picture while experts connect the dots behind the scenes and sustain their award-winning user experience.