Ron Huber

Ron Huber is the CEO and co-founder of Achieve Internet. He's an experienced senior executive with over 15 years managing and leading software teams in the online media, Internet, and software development space.

About the Author



For years, APIs have been a popular way for businesses to generate new revenue streams with minimal risk. All you have to do is package the data you already have and expose it to consumers so they can use it too.

Pretty straightforward, right?

Despite being a simple idea, launching these initiatives still comes with a lot of uncertainty, such as how do I start the process and optimize my returns.

While there is no one-size fits all solution to unlocking the full potential of your digital assets, there is a way to truly maximize your revenue (and it doesn't involve those free developer portals Google, Amazon, or Azure give you when you buy their services).

You need an API portal.

We'll show you why the current portal solutions aren't helping you optimize your potential revenue or achieve true digital transformation.

TLDR Key Takeaways

  • API portals are more accessible to a wider audience, allowing you to bring more people to the table.

  • In order to maintain your competitive edge, you need an API portal that can reach across multiple industries.

  • By investing in an API portal, businesses are able to create thriving ecosystems for other applications.

Free Dev Portals Can't Bring Business Units to the Table

Gone are the days when developers were the only ones who needed to access a company's APIs. As more and more businesses embark on a digital transformation journey, business units are now taking a more active role in the process.

That means those simple dev portals that are designed as a central repository for a business's digital assets aren't going to cut it in today's market—even if some big names market them.

It's similar to the evolution of the card catalog in the public library. First, the librarians were the only ones who accessed the card catalog. They were the gatekeepers between your book and the information needed to find it.

Then, they shared their system with the public. But they found that this wasn't necessarily easier for people to use. Visitors wanted something quicker, where they could see a bit more information about the title they wanted to check out.

Finally, they integrated an online catalog where guests could search for their book, find information about the author, the book, recommended titles, and, most importantly, where to find the book.

Those free dev portals that come integrated when you buy a big-name service are like the card catalog—basic, designed for a specific audience, and underutilized. On the other hand, API portals, like the online catalog, open the doors to everyone.

They make it easy for external consumers to explore your products, but, more importantly, they help your internal business teams understand the value of your API assets.

For example, let's say you have an internal API that's not fully built out yet, but your lead engineer knows there's valuable information that would be useful to others.

Are you going to use the simple, card-catalog-style dev portal that not everybody understands, or will you use an enhanced API portal built for users to actively engage with your assets?

If you choose the dev portal, your engineer will have difficulty explaining its value to other teams because they don't understand the clunky catalog, meaning they lose out on a potentially huge stream of revenue.

However, if you choose an API portal, your teams will have no trouble seeing the value in productizing that API because API portals are built to showcase the digital asset for the consumer.

API Portals Focus on Future Customers

Businesses spend millions and millions of dollars on marketing efforts to make sure their products and services get out in front of their customers.

So why wouldn't you invest in a portal that would make it as easy as possible for your customers to interact with and see how useful your APIs are?

While that free dev portal might seem tempting, it won't actually help you grow your business because it falls short in areas where it counts the most, like productization or adoption.

You need a portal that will engage and inspire your audience—one where they can explore your available products, see how they work in real-time, and determine if it fits their needs.

Future customers aren't building APIs. They are looking for data on APIs that already exist and seeing how they can interact with it.

And if you're not making your data available in some capacity, then you're missing out on building ecosystems that pull in more revenue than you could even imagine.

Adoption is the name of the game. At the end of the day, the more consumers you can get in front of, the more revenue you'll end up bringing in. And the fastest way to get in front of more customers is by using an API portal that's built for everyone.

Achieve True Digital Transformation With API Portals

As businesses become increasingly digitized, the need for a robust and effective digital transformation strategy becomes more and more important—starting with a portal that has the capability to build thriving ecosystems.

There are many businesses that took a proactive stance and invested in API portals before they gained traction. The results? They've created agile ecosystems that power hundreds of other applications, which in turn sell or enhance their original services.

For example, Envestnet provides APIs to the banking industry to help them automate certain processes. Their APIs are integrated into other banking apps, which are also integrated into shopping apps.

So, by simply making their APIs available to a larger audience, they're able to tap into additional markets they didn't even think would use their data.

Other (older) banking institutions are getting left behind because they didn't invest in these transformation strategies when they had the chance. Now, they're trying to play catch up.

Bottom line, you never know who could use your data, and you'll never know unless you get your product out there for everyone to see.

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