Effective API management is crucial, especially as the number of APIs an organization maintains grows with its size. The larger the organization, the more APIs it manages. For instance, almost 38% of companies with over 10,000 employees use more than 250 APIs.

To navigate the complex world of APIs and ensure success, consider adopting an “API as a Product” (AaaP) approach. Here are some key best practices from a decade of experience in the digital product specialist field:

Understand API Types: APIs come in various forms, including internal, partner, and public. Recognize the differences and opportunities each type presents.

Manage APIs as Products: Align your API strategy with your organization’s overall goals. Ensure that the “why” (the problem you’re solving) and the “how” (technical execution) are in sync.

Prioritize API Design and Developer Experience: A great developer experience (DX) is crucial. Provide clear documentation, simplicity, and reliability to enhance DX.

Emphasize Robustness and Security: Robust APIs can handle unexpected situations, while security is paramount to protect data and prevent breaches.

Execute API Development, Testing, and Deployment: Proper development, testing, and deployment processes are key to success.

Facilitate API Discovery, Evaluation, and Integration: Make it easy for users to discover, evaluate, and integrate your API.

Implement API Governance and Continuous Development: Establish governance processes to ensure effective management and compliance. APIs are continually evolving systems, so be prepared for ongoing development.

Measure API Success with Metrics: Use metrics to gain insights into performance, usage, and health. Tailor your metrics to your business context, whether it’s a commercial or internal API.

As APIs become more vital to business operations, managing them as products is a winning strategy. By keeping the end-user in mind and adopting these best practices, you can ensure your APIs align with your organizational goals and serve your business more effectively.

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