APIs: Leverage For Digital Transformation

Here is a brief excerpt from an excellent article by John Rethans for Forbes magazine. He explains how an API (application programming interface) can help to achieve the success of an organizational transformation.

To read the complete article, check out others, and obtain subscription information, please click here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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The ancient Greek scientist Archimedes famously declared, “Give me a place to stand, and with a lever, I will move the whole world.”

His insight — that with the right leverage, a small force can generate huge results — has inspired scores of thought leaders over the ages. It’s time for enterprise executives to consider what Archimedes’ lever means for them.

Increasingly, these executives face only one constant: rapid change. We can all think of examples, from the rise of mobile apps, on-demand culture and digital platforms to the developing implications of augmented reality, machine learning and the internet of things. When change happens so fast, shifts in customer preference and spending behavior aren’t far behind. To the business that stands still for too long, incumbency can mean nothing.

To find footing on this shifting landscape, enterprises should lean into the uncertainty by adopting strategies built for agility, rapid iteration and data-driven decision making. This means turning digital assets into points of leverage — forces that can be applied strategically to offset and influence massive shifts elsewhere in the market.

How does one turn a digital asset into a powerful point of leverage? The “API economy.”

APIs As Leverage

To understand application program interfaces, or APIs, we need to look at how leverage operates in the digital economy.

As I’ve written previously, digital transformation and platform and ecosystem strategies are part of a shift from supply-side thinking (in which a finite supply of goods and services was viewed as the dominant economic factor) to demand-side thinking (in which demand can be amassed behind infinitely scalable digital assets, then leveraged). This article from Harvard Business Review goes into more detail on the strategic value of APIs.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

John Rethans is global digital transformation strategist at Apigee, acquired by Google in 2016.

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