Return to site

What is an API? A product, service, integration or something else?

Taxonomy of all shapes and forms of API

· API,Public API,Partner API,Private API

API can be a product, a service, a way to access a resource or a platform.... and some more..

API can be any one of these things:

  • Important feature of a tangible product
  • Productized service
  • Part of a digital or real-world service
  • Customer-specific service
  • Interface to resources
  • Interface to platform (boundary resource)
  • Part of an integration

The API is a product -chant has taken over most of the stages in API conferences all over the world. And for good reason. But is API always a product? Or can it be something else, too? What do we actually mean by the word product in this case?

We questioned this with the co-authors of a book on API Economy published 08/2018 in Finland (currently only in Finnish, but let's see). We had a scientific approach but intended to also clarify concepts to the greater audience, even business people.

I made this taxonomy of shapes and sizes an API can take for the book, with helpful comments from my co-authors. This version is slightly improved and translated compared to the version published in the book, API-talous 101 (API Economy 101) by Moilanen, J., Niinioja, M., Seppänen, M., Honkanen, M. API-talous 101, Alma Talent.

What do you think? Comment in the blog or in Twitter (@mniinioja) or why not in LinkedIn.

Important feature of a tangible product

API is part of a tangible product or productized service. Customer gets the API as part of the deal when buying the product.Add paragraph text here.

Examples: Internet of Things (IoT) APIs for controlling and analyzing state of things like home appliances or sensors

Productized service

API in itself is a productized service, offered to all customers in the same way

Part of a digital or real-world service

API is part of the service experience, for example maintenance service is ordered with an API, or you can monitor package delivery with an API.

Example: Logistics API

Customer-specific service

Add paragraph texAPI is part of a service offered to customers as a tailor-made solution including for example an integration to a service providers system.t here.

Example: APIs in customer specific applications

Interface to resources

API is just a means to access a resource the company is selling.

Example:

Company info APIs (risk category, owners, contact information).

Cognitive APIs etc.

Interface to platform (boundary resource)

API is a means to connect with a platform and get added value through participation in the interconnecting relationships of the platform (in Platform Economy business model).

Example:

Online auction API, Apartment sharing API

Part of an integration

API is means to connect in to applications and devices

Example:

Product API, Employees API, business transactions API

What do you think? Is something missing? Can you think of better examples? Is this perfect?

All Posts
×

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly