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How a Robust API Ecosystem Encourages Productivity

[Oleg Lyfar / Getty Images]

Discover how a thriving API ecosystem looks, along with 3 reasons you need an API portal today – powered by MuleSoft and Salesforce.

APIs help power much of our digital lives and make many online products and services possible. Nearly every (99%) company uses public and private APIs to integrate and connect systems and data, and they generate 38% of the average organization’s revenue. An API ecosystem is a network of APIs that coexist and work together to provide a valuable and differentiated experience for customers. 

However, the reality is that experiences are often disjointed because building a thriving API ecosystem is a tremendous task, especially as API adoption continues to increase. The average enterprise today uses up to 500 APIs across its ecosystem, leading to API sprawl. API sprawl describes a state where it becomes challenging to maintain and operate APIs of different functions, use cases, and requirements. 

What does all this leave you with? APIs that could be valuable to your organization collecting dust and being left behind. Without visibility and access to existing APIs, organizations end up caught up in a cycle of recreating already existing APIs, losing time, energy, and money in the end.  

Build API Ecosystems faster on MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform

Learn how the new Anypoint API Experience Hub, built on Salesforce Experience Cloud, allows you to quickly build engaging API experiences using APIs cataloged in Anypoint Exchange.

What does a thriving API ecosystem look like? 

A thriving API ecosystem allows the reuse of APIs as building blocks for a composable enterprise and promotes engagement with APIs for better business value. Essentially, you want to maximize the business value of APIs that you create. This means that developers, whether internal or external, need a frictionless experience to utilize and engage with the APIs. With each API reuse developers participate in, your organization is priming developer productivity, reducing costs, and opening up your enterprise, partners, and customers to new innovation possibilities. 

All of this becomes possible when you have a single source of truth that allows users to view and interact with APIs they can reuse. And that’s where an API portal comes in. 

3 reasons you need an API portal

A single source of APIs in a developer-friendly portal helps to create an API ecosystem that heightens the visibility, reusability, and engagement of valuable resources. An API portal becomes the vehicle to share the information to both internal and external audiences, with proper security and governance, of course. We’ve compiled a list of the top three reasons you should invest in an API portal. 

1. Improved API discoverability

An API portal provides a searchable single source of truth where you can put in your API information such as: 

  • Lifecycle State 
  • Categories and tags 
  • Documentation
  • User requirements

When the information is propagated to an API portal, users can easily find the API that aligns with their business and technical requirements. 

2. Increased developer productivity

An API portal provides a self-service model where developers can gain access to APIs without having to go to multiple channels. In addition, often many APIs are created without documentation, making it hard for developers to build on top of it or maintain the API. Through a dedicated API portal, developers can find documentation on APIs within an organization. 

Some API portals may additionally have a “try it” feature to allow users to test the API and see example responses. This allows developers to save time testing the API on their own environments, which may require setup. 

3. Enhanced API security

Through an API portal, users can request access to APIs and are required to use a particular client ID and client secret that identifies them when they make calls. This allows you to keep track of who is using a particular API and how much. You can also productize your API to generate revenue with this information.

Why if I don’t have a web development background?

You don’t need to be a web developer to create an API portal. Anypoint API Experience Hub lets companies build personalized, branded API portals in minutes using out-of-the-box templates to simplify access to APIs and increase their usage and adoption. 

API Experience Hub is part of MuleSoft’s Universal API Management which enables your enterprise to catalog, govern, publish, and engage with any API built across any gateway or environment. 

Grow your API network

API use will only grow as more systems become interconnected. By reusing your APIs through an API portal, your organization can create a thriving API ecosystem that promotes productivity and collaboration. You already have APIs in your organization that can be productized and re-utilized, so why not start now? 

Sue Han Siao

Sue Han Siao is a Technical Product Marketing Manager, MuleSoft at Salesforce.

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