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API-driven Revenue: The Developer Portal as your new sales executive

Salesforce

 

In the current times of social distancing and working from home, digital transformations are accelerating. Businesses are becoming increasingly digital and so are the channels with partners, suppliers, and customers. In this article, we are explaining the role of APIs in this digitalization journey and how in particular a developer portal can help you generate new business.

The role of APIs

APIs are the key facilitator in digital transformation. APIs enable the exchange of data and functionality in a distributed setup between different systems and potentially different organizations. This can be done to integrate business processes, or even to offer digital services as the core product. In the latter case, the API can be seen as the actual product.

The API as a facilitator

Think for instance of a payment service provider. Payment service providers facilitate the payment process in any e-commerce process, for instance for webshops. These payments are handling the customer payment, without the e-commerce merchant having to care about dealing with credit card data and providing increased trust to the customers. The providers’ API enables e-commerce merchants to initiate a payment transaction, retrieve the payment status, or refund payment.

In order to have your APIs secured, properly governed, and monitored, we recommend our customers to leverage an API management capability. This gives you all the tools you need to protect your APIs against attacks or unauthorized access, gives you a proper overview of all the APIs on your platform, and on the usage and performance of these APIs.

The Developer Portal

Next to security, governance, and monitoring & analytics, there is also the support for your developer community which is a key feature of API Management tooling, we call this Developer Engagement. A strong Developer Portal is the primary means to engage and support your developer community.

Typically, your Developer Portal contains your API specifications, reference documentation, and code samples. This really helps the consumers of your APIs to quickly understand your services and increases the speed of integration. A test console makes the portal even more dynamic and powerful.

The API developer portal as a new sales channel

But did you realize your Developer Portal could also serve as a new sales channel? Let’s go back to our example of the payment service provider. Imagine an e-commerce company is looking for a new provider. Maybe 10 years ago, this company would look out for different providers, get in touch with them and start discussing the commercials, before being sent a large integration manual and starting the actual implementation. This integration process was typically quite hard, not very interactive, and provided little functionality to test.

Nowadays, this company would rather look online for any payment service which it could integrate easily with. These providers have their developer portal which gives all the information needed. The provider with the most intuitive API, which is well documented and easiest to integrate with, is most likely to be picked for a proof-of-concept integration. The test console helps to dry run the payment process and an account can be provisioned within minutes instead of days. If the integration is successful, chances are high the company will also discuss commercials and sign a contract to have its payments processed by this provider.

The onboarding process of customers (developers who want to use APIs) can also be facilitated by the developer portal. It provides self-service capabilities for customers to sign up and register for the usage of your services. It could even trigger any automated internal provisioning process to get the new customer started.

Our tips to win new customers through a developer portal:

  • Provide intuitive APIs, using the latest API standards
  • Strive for continuous improvement of your API, treat it as a product
  • Use customer feedback and customer added value in improvements
  • Document your APIs properly
  • Provide test functionality
  • Provide integration examples in multiple languages or even using software development kits (SDKs)
  • Let customers sign up automatically, getting them ready to start using your services within minutes

Looking to generate API-driven Revenue?

Our +25 years of integration experience in projects within every sector you can think of, combined with strong a partnership with MuleSoft, enable us to guide your organization through every API related challenge. Looking for help? Or do you simply want to know more about using your Developer Portal as a potential revenue stream? Feel free to contact us and we’ll see how we can help each other.