Summary of APIDays Conference in Melbourne, Australia

technical api api management events conference

APIDays Melbourne, Australia

March 1st - 2nd 2016

Summary of the event

The event was well attended (400+) by customer organisations, system integrators, and software vendors. It was a good mix of developers, team leads, senior-mid range managers, and we even had a few CEO/founders.

Theme for the event was Platform for Innovation. And it was very apt, as besides the API Management vendors, no one was pitching/barracking for any specific product. More often than not presentation topic was around how an API enabled platform is driving innovation.

In hindsight, there was a bit too much focus on the cultural change required to deliver on the promise of API and not enough content to highlight how technology can enable it. The business lens on using API to to enable and innovate was well worth the time.

The attention economy

The evolution of handheld devices is placing extreme premium on consumer attention. We as a producer/supplier are constantly competing with other producers for consumer’s attention. If we can not make our interactions with the consumer engaging, someone else will. Net effect is that value offered by our services is a very close second to our ability to engage the customer; because the engagement model will define if we capture and keep customer’s attention or not.

Sell unfinished product

A product/service is unfinished until it interacts with a consumer. Feedback is received from the consumer and incorporated in the next unfinished release of the product. This ensures that the consumer is emotionally invested in the product.
Innovation is not achieved by using finished products. Finding shortcomings in an offering is a by-product of innovation process trying to drive an edge use-case.
Whereas a finished product will only allow a business to commoditise a well established capability.

API allows businesses to transform at a rate they are comfortable with

Technically speaking API(s) have been around for a long time. Though the current evolution around API is top-down, in terms of the API(s) having a business focus which in turn could drive improvements and enhancements in the required assets.
In simpler terms, API allows a business to build or scaffold a stable facade for their consumers. The backend might be a straw-man service providing that capability - PoC in technical terms. This enables the business to monitor usage of API consumption, and then make appropriate investment decisions.
So in a way you could argue that API management needs to be almost decoupled from your innovation factory/process.

There is no more buy vs build decision

Businesses are increasingly employing technology to deliver unique consumer experience. Thus by design having a common product that suits every business is a notion of the past. Businesses must look at buying core platforms and building capabilities on top of it. There is no turn key innovation product.
Preference should be given to platforms over a product as it gives businesses more options. But selection of a platform should not be at the expense of a best practice method to handle standard use-cases.

Think of value over cost

The producers should consider the value a service/API offers the consumer especially when calculating the cost of the service. This is especially true when a producer is offering an API to an internal consumer.
So essentially, don’t rush into charging/monetising your API. You could miss out on a very important value conversation with the consumer; many revenue sharing opportunities can only be realised when everyone involved in the transaction understands the value of the service.

Fintech, healthcare, and government agencies were well represented at the event