A Business Value of an API

Published 26 November 2014 | Updated 24 October 2019 |


Presently, we are witnessing a lot of profound changes in conducting online trade taking place on the market. And no wonder, as things are humming, and e-Commerce world isn’t stable as well. Day by day merchants observe how API penetrates the business world. However, not all of them realise the its effect on their profit-making.

Continuing our blog series about API technology, I have found an article, written by Matt McLarty, Vice President of the API Academy from CA Technologies,  who smartly explains the business perspectives of APIs. Previously, it was a pleasure to interview Matthew where he shared his expert’s insight about Application Programming Interface and the pool of advantageous it brings to online trade. And now this newly-baked article is at your disposal here at API2Cart.

APIs are at the heart of every major information technology trend today. Mobile devices, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, Big Data and social networks all rely on web-based interfaces to connect their distributed components and deliver innovative and disruptive solutions to every industry in global business. Smart grid technology is transforming the energy industry. Connected Car solutions are viewed as a key differentiator in the automotive industry. Amazon is disrupting every industry it touches. In all of these cases, APIs are both catalysts and enablers.

This article will examine APIs comprehensively from a business perspective, whether or not they are open and overtly monetized. I will cover the importance of tying your APIs back to your business value, look at the type of data that should be used, and study the API success stories of Amazon and Twilio. I hope that these lessons will help you build useful and usable APIs.

Measuring API Business Value

The general business value of APIs can be measured. It all starts with data. For many companies and organizations, the data they collect is viewed as a liability. Servers and storage are expensive. However, in today's increasingly digitized world, it is obvious that data can also be a precious asset. Data provides insights on clients that can be turned into differentiating business opportunities and new revenue streams. The “Big Data” craze seeks to sort out the digital confusion through high value analytics. The imminent Internet of Things (IoT) explosion will bring an exponential increase in data, making it even more critical for companies to be on the right side of the data ledger.

The degree to which a company’s data is an asset as opposed to a liability is driven by three things: its accessibility, accuracy and applicability. Any web API provides accessibility to some data to some degree. Valuable APIs provide access to accurate data that applies to their core business. This enables companies to achieve an iterative approach I call “Data-Enabled Disruption”, which I will explain below. Furthermore, these three data attributes provide a methodology for determining which data and services should be exposed through APIs, and how those APIs are implemented:


Examining this methodology from the perspective of APIs, these three data attributes can be consolidated into two attributes of APIs:

  1. “Useful APIs” provide accurate and applicable data
  2. “Usable APIs” provide accessible data

Obviously, the most valuable APIs are both useful and usable. For further definition of these API attributes examine the whole article here.

Hope that you have found this article useful, and it helps to understand API better.  In case if you have some questions about API2Cart’s unified API or have a desire to discover what perspectives our service brings to your business, schedule a FREE Call with our expert.