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APIs published, APIs consumed: mainstream enterprises increasingly behave like software vendors

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The phrase "every company is now a software company" has been a talking point for several years, and now data from a recent industry survey bears this out. The proliferation of APIs -- both consumed and published -- both software provider to enterprise as well as enterprise to enterprise -- means the lines have gotten very blurry indeed.

Photo: Joe McKendrick

That's the word from the latest API integration survey[1] released by Cloud Elements, which finds 83 percent of the 400 integration professionals and IT executives surveyed consider API integration a critical part of their business strategy, driven by digital transformation initiatives and cloud application adoption. While Cloud Elements is an API management provider with a stake in these results, the implications are worth exploring. 

The crossover between mainstream enterprises and software vendors is evident in the results: "a surprising number of enterprise respondents spoke of integration priorities like 'streamlining integration with third parties' and 'helping bring new products to market' and 'integrating with all the CRMs,'" notes Ross Garrett and his team of co-contributors. "Enterprises are launching digital products and platforms that put them in direct competition with disruptive ISVs. Some of the most iconic enterprises have always been software companies -- SAP, Microsoft -- but many are now services companies that look like software companies."

Tellingly, 80 percent of the enterprises in the survey indicated they offer customers software development kits, and 20 percent also offered a platform or iPaaS through which partners and customers can interact with their processes. There is plenty of opportunity in building up these capabilities: "large enterprises usually have large installed bases and longer-tenured bases,' the report's authors state. This fact seems to insulate them from competitive concerns related to integrations. It could also mean that that enterprise

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