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The Ovum report “Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting an API Management Solution, 2016-2017” reveals several interesting API management market and adoption trends, with clear indicators that it continues to evolve as a key enabler to digital business initiatives. The report also identifies market leaders that have established a commanding market position with their API management solution demonstrating relatively high maturity, good innovation and enterprise fit, and the capability of effectively meeting the requirements of a wider range of use cases.

API management is a key ingredient of middleware stacks catering for digital business integration requirements

According to Ovum’s comprehensive evaluation, specialized API management vendors and a couple of major middleware vendors are among the market leaders. We believe that continued success in this market will not be determined by technological prowess, size of customer base, or aggressive sales and marketing tactics. It is less about selling a good software product and more about developing competences to function as a strategic partner to enterprises embarking on digital business/transformation initiatives involving the use of APIs. Moreover, API management is gradually evolving into a broader discipline, which we define as “API platform-as-a-service” (APIPaaS). Several vendors are working toward offering an API platform that delivers comprehensive API creation/composition capabilities along with end-to-end API management.

It is equally critical that API management vendors focus on selling more than a piece of software, and that they develop competencies as a strategic partner for digital business initiatives. Without doubt, this add-on to API management solutions represents a growing market opportunity in terms of API technical and strategy consulting services.

We see “x+API” as the new mantra for innovation in an increasingly digital world where enterprises need to respond to new market opportunities at a pace that cannot be supported by traditional approaches. The component “x” in “x+API” equation can range from a specific data set, service, application, or an API, to an integration flow allowing the mobile enablement of existing business processes. This translates into the exposure and combination of various software components for the development of new applications and services.

It is quite clear that API management is a critical component of a middleware stack catering for digital business integration requirements. The “API economy” will be a hot topic in the near term, but we expect enterprise interest to shift toward the monetization and development of new API-enabled business and engagement models.

Enterprise APIs will continue to evolve and so will the need to govern API usage and support complex use cases. We expect to see microservices (micro APIs) providing greater flexibility for composing new APIs that can be combined with other APIs and services to develop new applications. API providers will have the flexibility to tweak components of an API mix to develop another set of applications/services. With API-led innovation driving development of new digital services and business models, API management will increase in scope and complexity.


Further reading

Ovum Decision Matrix: Selecting an API Management Solution, 2016-2017, IT0022-000652 (April 2016)

2016 Trends to Watch: Integration and Middleware, IT0022-000566 (December 2015)


Saurabh Sharma, Senior Analyst, Software – Infrastructure Solutions

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