Today, most organizations have significant internal datasets and digital services. These resources have the potential to be converted into new revenue streams by securely exposing them to customers and partners as web services. The availability of a number of open source web service frameworks, has meant that it has never been easier to develop RESTful APIs and expose these resources to customers. This allows organizations to validate an idea or hypothesis and capture customer feedback in a matter of weeks or possibly even days.
While the internet has leveled the playing field in delivering new products and services, paving the way for small companies or startups to compete and disrupt far larger and better funded organizations, it has also meant that competitors can bring their own offerings to market more quickly than ever before. Developing a sustained competitive advantage for products and services has never been more important.
Every successful web services organization has one thing in common. They each adopt an agile approach to software development and have an obsessive focus on customer centricity. This allows them to significantly reduce the time it takes to incorporate customer feedback into their products and services. Reducing the time from months to weeks or days means they can often increase the feedback effect by a factor of 10x. The ability to reduce the time from idea to customer validation will be one of the greatest contributors to help organizations sustain a defendable competitive advantage.
Organizations that grew up as digital service providers have already figured out how to securely and reliably provide services over the internet, but what about organizations that are going through digital transformation and entering new territory? Developing and sharing web services outside of an organization requires significant additional effort compared to simply exposing services internally. It is necessary to increase the focus on security, scalability, reliability, track consumption, access control, ensure Quality of Service (QoS) and subsequently bill customers. Building this capability from scratch requires significant heavy lifting and resources, resources that would be better served developing web services rather than a management platform to support them. To this end, most organizations adopt an API management platform to remove this burden and allow their teams to focus on what’s truly important, developing digital services to meet the needs of their customers.
Back in June 2016, Red Hat acquired 3Scale, a leading provider of API management. In addition to addressing the challenges I’ve highlighted around API management, 3Scale also provides valuable data analytics that can be used to show how customers are using each service. This further amplifies the feedback signal from customers and allows organizations to be even more customer centric.
Is your organization going through a process of digital transformation? Are you exploring creating web services to expose datasets and digital services to customers and partners? Do you need help developing an API management strategy and platform to support your business? If so, please contact the Red Hat Consulting team so we can help accelerate your journey towards open innovation.