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Adapt or Die: It's Time To Go Big With APIs

Aug 16, 2016

General Electric, that icon of the industrial era, has committed to generating $15 billion in annual digital revenue by 2020. Pitney Bowes reports that new digital services already account for $1 billion in annual revenue—and the company is gunning for more.

Nike built the world’s largest digital fitness community. Under Armour invested over $700 million in acquisitions to up its digital game.

And Walmart this month agreed to pay over $3 billion to acquire digital retailer Jet.com.       

Using modern web APIs strategically and at scale to create value underpins the investment thesis of each of these big bets (and in many more at many other companies).

The future of profitability and growth

If you work at a Global 2000 company, your board of directors is going to want to go big on creating value with APIs, too.

They may not have worked through things to the point of taking action quite yet.

And they may wind up reshaping the organization, its business model, or both without specifically discussing these three letters (although in the long run, I think most will).

But the bottom line is that people entrusted with the future of profitability and growth are realizing that their only option in response to digital competition is to lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Or, to cut to the chase: adapt or die.

Adapting to a world in which—as JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned his shareholders in his annual letter—“Silicon Valley is coming” means rising to the challenge laid down by today’s API masters: the companies that have established both a clear vision and strong track record of connecting digital to growth.  

Yes, that includes Amazon, which has been forthcoming about its  “flywheel” strategy for years—but also Walgreen’s, which has been every bit as clear about its strategy of “putting an API around our stores”).

Time to roll up your sleeves

Facing these new digital challenges also helps explain why we changed the name of our annual conference to the Adapt or Die World Tour and retooled the agenda.

We’ve dramatically expanded the number of small-group, roll-up-your sleeves, peer-to-peer powered roundtable discussions. And we’ve rebuilt the “main stage” track with a relentless focus on what we’ve learned from customers, partners, and a network of experts about turning APIs into drivers of revenue and growth.

We have a strong point of view on how digital natives and first movers among the digital immigrants have moved the needle, where they’re heading next, and what “digital know how” other organizations—and individual agents of change within them—need to compete at their level.

The “Adapt or Die” experience aims be one part no-holds barred conversation and one part rigorous curriculum with a little bit of the spirit of a cage match sprinkled in. Because the time has come to tackle whatever’s holding back your organization from reaching the next level of API mastery.

Starting with this post, we’ll share our point of view, and invite you to share yours in order to build collective insight and wisdom across a community of Apigee customers, partners, and those of you we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting or working with yet.

Our first topic: culture

“Culture change” is often cited as the hardest part of digital transformation. But it’s also a domain where I’ve been  struck by practices or behaviors that make me think “that’s exactly what ‘adapting’ looks like!”  Case in point - this was a comment from a telco:

“[Our] DevJams often included business people who wanted to understand APIs.”

What’s on your list of  signs of cultural adaptation others can learn from--or symptoms of failure to adapt that the community may have ideas on overcoming? We’ve posted this question in the Apigee Community and we’ll revisit the topic here in the near future.

So sign up, stay tuned, and chime in: join the “Adapt or Dialogue” today.

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