To Get Value From the IoT, Take APIs Seriously

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APIs and the IoT

To realize the IoT's value, business must make the data being collected accessible and useful, so APIs are moving into the forefront of firms' digital strategy.

Decisions related to software architecture and design need to carefully consider how open APIs should be, and how to keep access to their core systems secure if an API is made open. For many, a new balance will need to be struck if an enterprise wants to encourage the development of new service-led, data-fed revenue streams that might be developed by external talent, as well as internal staff.

There’s also the question of the monetization of APIs: Will businesses extend their systems to provide access to people and enable a healthy developer ecosystem, or will they choose to offer only a "premium" API that they can charge a fee for as part of a long-term strategy? All these questions need to be discussed at the beginning of the creation of a digital strategy, and as part of experimentation with the IoT to see where new data-based services might add value.

API Road Maps Must Adapt to Market Dynamics

An API program should have a strategic road map that's aligned to key business priorities. It should be regularly assessed and updated, with resources available to ensure it’s delivering the necessary level of service to users.

The program should be developed and maintained, and should provide ongoing support to every type of developer—internal and external. Having a central hub through which any and all documentation and authentication can be processed will enable control to be maintained over activity and support to be offered to developers whenever needed.

API programs need to be designed as part of a bigger digital strategy within an enterprise, with priorities set with the wider ecosystem and relevant stakeholders in mind. As with all technology projects and implementations, the strategy should always be informed by the business objective.

If that business objective is to grow and expand product and service offerings by taking advantage of the IoT, opening up access to data sets through APIs may be one of the best ways to unlock the potential for innovation and the true value that data holds.

Abhijit Kabra is a managing director for Accenture Digital–Mobility

This article was originally published on 2015-06-05
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