So You Want to Monetize Your APIs?
APIs are the way developers leverage data, functions, and apps to create new things, and when companies make their APIs available to others, remarkable things can happen.
When we use a voice assistant to order coffee, for example, systems across a range of companies communicate—inventory APIs that let us pick our drink, payment APIs that let us pay for it, voice APIs that let the coffee app utilize a new interface, platform APIs that let the coffee app exist within a mobile ecosystem, etc. If rather than being its own app, the coffee-ordering experience were to surface within the context of another app, such as a location-aware mapping app with contextual search, still more APIs would be involved. With more developers getting their hands on more APIs, the diversity of use cases multiplies by the day.
All of this is to say, APIs aren’t just some systems integration detail—they’re products that empower developers to delight end users. But not all products come with a price tag.
Some companies offer free, open APIs in an attempt to build developer communities around their brand and unlock ecosystem opportunities by adding partners at scale. In other cases, the API provides access to data or functions that are so valuable, the API can be monetized and even create new lines of business. How does an enterprise know which path to pursue?