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Digital Disruption at I Love APIs Europe 2016

Technology and culture shifts for the digital revolution
Mar 03, 2016

Shifts and disruptions caused by new digital technology mean that we live in a time of promise and peril. Apigee CEO Chet Kapoor delivered this message Wednesday to 500 technologists from the ranks of business strategy, IT, and developers as he kicked off I Love APIs Europe 2016 in London. The themes of the day were opportunity and disruption.

The importance of the shift to digital for people, businesses, and societies was underscored by the discussion of the fourth industrial revolution at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, Chet said. This shift is characterized by a range of new technologies that is fusing the physical, digital, and biological world, impacting all disciplines, economies, and industries, and even challenging ideas about what is means for how we interact with the world around us.
The focus was on the promise of digital technology and the challenges of the culture shift that must accompany technological shifts. In short order, the giants of the previous industrial era—the masters of the old linear value chain—were displaced by platform businesses. Companies such as Apple and Uber became disrupters and highly valued businesses. Many other companies across multiple industries are also making a shift. Apigee chief marketing officer Denise Persson described how digital is driving amazing business results for many companies worldwide, highlighting the growth and payoff for Emirates NDB, aWhere, Pizza Hut, Philips Hue, and Burberry.


Ed Anuff, Apigee's head of product strategy, described the critical technological requirements for digital business success. He highlighted the importance of building systems that support massive scale and high availability, security for people and systems across a new digital value chain, providing an awesome developer experience for developer success and productivity, and building a data-driven enterprise. Ed underscored developer centricity, microservices, hybrid cloud, and adaptive learning as the technological underpinnings to future proof a modern digital business.


The great peril that Chet mentioned arises if people and organizations are unable to adapt. Strategy services lead John Rethans took the stage to describe how moving fast and delivering a radically different and better digital experience requires companies develop new communication mechanisms and challenge the software development lifecycle. Avoiding disruption requires companies to:
  • get cross-functional
  • get agile
  • eliminate liaisons; put marketing and developers together—and in the driver's seat
  • use APIs to abstract out the complexities of back-end systems and increase the speed of iteration
  • set metrics on speed and iteration
Cultures—both corporate and world cultures—are defined by what they value, how they invest resources, and how they create value. Digital transformation and speeding time to value require that IT organizations move from a project culture that is time-bound, itinerant, and risk-averse to a product development culture focused on value creation and customers.
The most successful companies adopt a top-down priority approach to digital. They shift their mindsets to nix the traditional idea of organizational structures and leverage their employees, as well as their partner and customer ecosystems, to act quickly on the right set of priorities.


Chet closed the keynote sharing some of the data from the State of APIs Report released on the morning of the conference. The increased pace of digital transformation in enterprises is evidenced by a tremendous growth in API traffic in the Apigee cloud: 280% year-over-year. It may be a surprise to many that B2B use cases—more than the connected digital experience that is so readily observed in our day-to-day—drive enterprise APIs. Fifty-six percent of enterprises are using APIs to extend their business capabilities through partner channels and ecosystem engagement initiatives. Internal operations initiatives focus on empowering sales and support teams to deliver superior customer value.
Technology has changed the game. Every industry now understands that APIs are the key to corporate survival in our increasingly digital world. The ability to adapt will determine who wins. Speed matters most; companies must succeed—or fail—fast.
These notions of speed of changing technology and adapting to change were reiterated by Jack Ramsey of Accenture Digital in his subsequent presentation.
"The question is not will things change, but rather, how fast will it happen and what will be the consequence for us?" he said.
Jack took us on a journey of companies disrupted and disrupting and the societal, technological, economic, and environmental impact of the revolution that we can't stop—but that we can shape if we adapt and move fast.
The keynote presentation is available on SlideShare.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Join the conversation (or start one) in the Apigee Community.

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