API economy and platforms in Finland — recipe for initial success

APIs and API driven business in Finland has been gaining more traction lately. Too bad for us, we are some years too late to be counted as the innovator country or leader quadrant. Despite of that APIs are surfacing more and more in corporate communication. I’ve been in “API business” for a few years now. I’ve done API economy related management and product development both in public and private sector. I’m an APItalist — I make €€€ with APIs. Part of my job is to tell and show others how to make money with APIs. In addition as part of my life as APItalist, I’ve started to see more and more traction with platform thinking. All hope is not lost.

Easy API on-boarding and speed matters

What is not understood is the value of developer programs and excellent developer experience. Most of the companies seem to think that just publishing the API and putting out static documentation is enough. It’s not.

Fix your developer experience. Bad developer experience equals revenue loss.

On top of that companies expect developers to fill in forms to contact API owner to get first level access to API. Self-service is expected and free tier to try out your API as part of service development. API consumers expect to use your API in minutes, not after waiting for your response for days. By that time you have responded to the request, developer has probably found an alternative API or other solution to the problem at hand.

Fix your developer experience. Bad developer experience equals revenue loss. If you don’t know how, contact me and I’ll help you. That is what APItalists are for.

Stop trying alone — build ecosystems

It’s ok to try and fail. That is what startups do and they do it a lot. Trying to succeed in API economy and platform driven business alone is a dead end. Lone stars will not succeed unless your company happens to be Facebook, Amazon or Google.

Trying to succeed in API economy and platform driven business alone is a dead end.

Start building platforms together. On such example is VAMOS! project. They are building APIs driven platform where mobility as a service and leisure services in Lapland are combined. The platform offers for example companies in China to build traveller packages on top of APIs. From the platform you can get MaaS services, hotel and event bookings, as well as car rental services. What VAMOS! Is building is Lapland as a Service. In the ecosystem, there are sports and skiing centers, parking service providers, shared car rental services, event organizers and several other businesses. Some of them are after the same buck. Despite of that they have deciced to build joint platform because getting more travellers to Lapland benefits all.

Start exploring API as a product

Major part of Finnish companies utilizing APIs in systems do not see APIs as products. APIs whenever used or build are just add-ons. API is attached to the product which is some kind of service. Often the API is not even commercial or sold separately. If it is sold for example as part of premium package then it’s a business model and API is helping in getting more revenue.

Some Finnish companies have found APIs as products already.

To put it in black and white, companies focus 95% in the web service and 5% in the API. Then there is the question of dog food. How many of the API providing companies use their own APIs in internal service development? If not, then it’s a sign of doing API just because it is expected. I would reconsider again to build anything on top of such APIs.

Some Finnish companies have found APIs as products already. For example F-secure sells APIs as products in AWS platform. Another example is Quriiri which offers API driven SMS gateway as a service. F-Secure’s approach has been to ride with the giants thus offer services in AWS. Quriiri has selected lone wolf approach as far as I know. The two are just examples of different business models.

Get in touch

Invite me to event or for brief meeting in your company to discuss the above matters in your context. Lets seek out solutions for your company.