Strategic API Analysis and Planning: APIS Technical Report

11/01/2019 ∙ by Jennifer Horkoff, et al. ∙ 0

Traditionally, software APIs (application programming interfaces) have been viewed from a technical perspective, as a means to separate implementation from functional calls, and as a way to define a contract of software functionality. The technical benefits of APIs have been reported in numerous studies. Several reports from industry offer useful practical design considerations for APIs, including advice on collecting usage data, monetization strategies, and at what point to open an API to external parties. Although this advice can be useful, the focus is still often on the API, only without considering the role the API plays in the wider organization or how it fits into an organizational strategy. Our industrial experiences show that more information is needed about the challenges and best practices of API design and management in an organizational context. Furthermore, it has become apparent that APIs are able to play a key role as part of a strategic business plan for software-intensive companies. In this report, we present the results of our work with companies to build a framework that synthesizes and summarizes API strategies from several perspectives, including: strategic API lifecycle, lifecycle stage characteristics, lifecycle use cases and transition points, API layered architecture, BAPO, value modeling, ecosystem mapping with goal models, API metrics, goal models with metrics, and API governance guidance. Our research was carried out with an industry-academic collaboration. The framework was developed iteratively through workshops and discussions with company partners. We show how conceptual frameworks can be used to drive API strategy development, drawing on our research with several companies in practice.

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