API Evangelism is Equal Parts Internal, Partner and Public Outreach29 Sep 2011
Historically APIs are deployed to provide data and resources to business partners. However, in the last 5 years we have seen a shift in focus to also delivering more open, publicly focused APIs, based upon the success of popular services like Google Maps, Twitter and Twilio. In the last year, many companies are also seeing the benefits of deploying and consuming APIs internally, in addition to partner driven, and open public APIs.
3Scale, Apigee and Mashery all advocate for evaluating the deployment of APIs for internal and partner consumption as well as carefully weighing the value of a public facing API ecosystem. As an API evangelist I aslo have found the need for equal distribution of resources when it comes to evangelizing the benefits of APIs as well.
- Internal API Evangelism - I spend ⅓ of my time educating internal departments from IT to marketing about the benefits of APIs. I want everyone to understand that APIs will make our company more flexible and nimble, and help us out-maneuver our competitors. APIs also will assist us in delivering mobile content and applications within our company and to our customers.
- Partner API Evangelism - I spend ⅓ of my time educating our partners about the various APIs we have, how they can be used, and provide as much material as I can about our web services. I also evangelize about other APIs that compliment our services and can provide benefits to our partners. Its not just about selling our partners on our services, its letting them know we are invested in their success.
- Public API Evangelism - I spend ⅓ of my time blogging, tweeting and generating code samples, prototypes and any other materials that will help get the word out to the public about our APIs. Public API evangelism is not just about SEO content, its about social engagement. Reaching out to developers and companies where they already frequent, making sure I listen, participate and add value to those communities on behalf of my company.
APIs are not just an external interface. Although they do offer tremendous benefits when interacting with the public or sharing information and resources with your most valued partners, they can also make your company operate more efficiently.
API evangelism shouldn’t be just about reaching out to your public or partner developers. Your API evangelism strategy should also focus internally within your company and across all departments. Make sure your API evangelism strategy is equal parts internal, partner and public outreach and eventually you will find the success your looking for.