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2014: The year of the API consumer

At last it’s really happening. Throughout 2013 there has been a real buzz around the potential of APIs (application programmable interface) in banking. At last people are seeing the benefits of APIs - quick and simple application integration and development of innovation eco-systems. 

For example, Stripe, an online and mobile payments start-up, has been successful with APIs that integrate functionality to instantly enable businesses accept and manage online payments. BBVA’s Innova Challenge made real trade data available to a community of developers via API, allowing them to participate in BBVA’s creative technological development process. 

Three trends that stand-out from 2013 include:

  • Increase in the number of publically available financial and payments APIs – reaching above 800
  • Significant uptake of API programmes
  • Estimated over $400 million investment in acquiring API management technology and service capability

These trends suggest that API provisioning - along with the technology and services that support it - are booming. But a word of caution here. The API management sector is currently dominated by a handful of companies with large corporate backing and relatively mature product offerings, such as Mashery (Intel), Layer 7 Technologies (CA), Apiphany (Microsoft) and Apigee (Accenture). So, where will the opportunities for new entrants in the API market come from in 2014?

If 2013 was the year of the API provider, 2014 will be the year of the API consumer.

A great developer experience is a win-win for both API consumers and providers. APIs that make it quick and simple to access data and services will attract developers, benefiting API providers by increasing traffic via this channel. This year, expect expansion in products and services that improve the developer experience of working with APIs, including:

  • Increase in the number of companies that offer API developer experience certification and design assurance services
  • Increase in the number of organisations offering developer tools, including testing and monitoring
  • Increase in the number of financial data API aggregation services, e.g. bank transactions
  • Organisations adopting specialist API discovery tooling for internal API programmes that replace spreadsheet and SharePoint catalogues
  • Evolution of written API documentation to integrated development environment (e.g. Eclipse) plug-ins and truly restful services that employ hypermedia
  • Focus on building developer communities and crowdsourcing ideas along with the feedback to develop and improve products

What’s next?
2013 saw more external and internal APIs published than ever, coupled with an increase in the number and maturity of API management platforms. With hundreds of clients now using these products, the market for API management tooling is relatively saturated. 2014 is the year of the API consumer –  developer.  

The key questions:

If you are an API provider, how well are you learning from developer experience best practice to improve your APIs and build an innovation eco-system? Are you leading or lagging?

If you are a technology firm, keen to start or expand your portfolio of API technology products, are you tracking start-ups offering developer API tools and API aggregation products?

If you are a developer, are you looking forward to being able to integrate APIs into your applications with even more ease and greater speed? You should be.








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