What is the API economy?

The application programming interface (API) economy refers to the controlled digital data and services exchange through APIs. The API economy is the combined value exchange between providers and consumers of APIs — existing within a company and beyond. 

The API economy is neither a technical concept nor a financial model. Instead, it reflects an ecosystem of mutually beneficial data exchange and digital services.

Companies participating in the API economy build their services and products with an eye toward either (or both) of the following:

  • Consuming APIs from the marketplace to speed up the development of entirely new features and enhancements to existing features, often to augment and improve an existing digital experience.
  • Exposing APIs to add value for consumers, whether end users or other companies, to extend reach, market share, and monetization opportunities.

To participate in this economy as a technology-oriented business, you need to decide which of your digital services should be accessible through APIs, and whether they should be consumed or ingested.