97% of Enterprise Leaders Agree APIs Are Essential for Survival but Most Face Challenges in Rollout of Comprehensive API Strategy

RapidAPI’s inaugural global enterprise survey uncovers the biggest opportunities and challenges facing organizations as investments in APIs continue to soar to $23.6 million annually

APIs continue to grow in importance not only with software developers but also with the leading enterprise organizations they support, as companies increasingly rely on APIs to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. To shed light on the trends that businesses encounter as they rely more heavily on APIs, RapidAPI today released a new report: The State of Enterprise APIs – Understanding API Uses, Challenges and StrategiesConducted by Vanson Bourne, the survey of 300 global IT leaders examines the current API landscape, highlighting adoption and usage trends, as well as the challenges most organizations encounter as they struggle to manage the APIs that are driving innovation and collaboration throughout the organization.

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“While many companies are funding digital transformational programs with APIs at the core of their strategy, they struggle to use APIs effectively”

The survey found that nearly all respondents (98%) believe that APIs are an essential part of their organization’s digital transformation, and 97 percent agree that successfully executing an API strategy is essential to secure organizations’ future revenue and growth. However, as organizations realize the importance of an API strategy, most (95%) are experiencing challenges along with their increased API usage.

“While many companies are funding digital transformational programs with APIs at the core of their strategy, they struggle to use APIs effectively,” said Iddo Gino, CEO and Founder, RapidAPI. “The data shows what we’ve heard consistently from our customers – that their existing set of API tooling isn’t built for the scale and breadth of APIs that companies are currently building. To accommodate this growth, many have engaged with RapidAPI to help them establish a more centralized hub where developers can collaborate on work on APIs.”

Complex API Tooling, Security and Governance, and Lack of Collaboration Among Top Challenges

As companies execute their API strategies and adapt to the rapid evolution seen within the API landscape, they’re also faced with new challenges. The five biggest challenges organizations face regarding APIs include:

  • API management and tooling: existing tools are too complex and require too many resources to support
  • Security and governance: there is a lack of visibility across all APIs and consistent policy enforcement
  • Access control: inability to provide the right access to right individuals
  • Vendor lock-in: many solutions are “closed systems” that don’t integrate well with other solutions
  • Collaboration: most organizations lack the right tools for users and teams to share effectively

Many organizations either have an API program/strategy in place (34%) or are in the process of building one (64%), underscoring its significance to the majority of enterprise API leaders. However, most respondents (88%) realize there are ways to leverage APIs more effectively. The top three improvements organizations wish to make in their API strategy execution are:

  • Improving customer experience
  • Speeding the pace of innovation
  • Solving the problem of too many technology silos

Collaboration Driving API Usage

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of organizations rely on APIs to improve collaboration with partners and enable partner innovation, while 60 percent share APIs internally among development teams to deliver products and services faster. Slightly more than half (53%) consume third-party APIs as part of their development, while 46 percent create APIs as products for consumption by external developers.

Additional survey findings include:

  • APIs Bring Organization-Wide Benefits, from CX to Innovation: APIs have a direct impact on customer experience and business outcomes. The top five benefits organizations hope to achieve through API usage include:
    • Improved customer experience (49%)
    • Accelerated innovation (48%)
    • Improved collaboration among internal development teams (42%)
    • Improved collaboration and joint development with partners and third-party development teams (41%)
    • Improved developer experience (38%)
  • API Strategies are Still a Work in Progress: Less than one-third of organizations (31%) have a fully executed API program or strategy, while 64 percent are currently building one.
  • A Platform for API Centralization is Key: Nearly all (99%) agree that it is important to adopt a centralized platform for APIs to enable developers and consumers to build, manage, publish, and consume APIs from one place.
    • However, only 13 percent or organizations currently have a single platform in place to centralize access to APIs. The majority of organizations are using multiple platforms, each with varying levels of access to APIs across the organization.

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