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Sure, I understand the question may be a little self-answering in nature. But I would love to hear other's views. Furthermore, would you create an API for your product PRIOR to demand? i.e. create the demand yourself, etc.

  • SK

    Sean Kirby

    over 2 years ago #

    1. Reach. When other solutions integrate with own, you have the potential to reach customers who may otherwise have never even heard of you. This can be huge if you link up with a big enough company. Think PayPal with Ebay and Zynga with Facebook.

    Companies also usually promote their integration capabilities, so you get a bit of free marketing out of it.

    2. User value. The more you get your customers using your product, whether it's on it's own, in conjunction with another product, or even through another product, the less likely they are to churn.

    • MB

      Mike Barwick

      over 2 years ago #

      Awesome, thanks for the response Shaun. This is in tune with my line of thinking on the matter. For one of my SaaS products, an API hasn't been requested by our users. But I'm thinking it could be really useful - and as you mention, could expand our reach a bit more. Question is - do I risk the development, without user demand, or risk it for the biscuit in hopes of all the glory... *chin rub*

  • RC

    Ruth Cole

    over 2 years ago #

    We built an API for our platform Glasshat towards the end of last year. For us creating an API was all about opening up the possibilities of working with partners - before we had the demand to do so. We viewed it as a way of opening our product up to a new market via third parties - with the hope of gaining some traction.

    Primarily it also opened up the possibility of like developing an integration into the Zapier platform, developing a plugin for CMS platform's like Wix, or an API market place. So some short term and longer term opportunities there.

    It's been a way of getting our foot in the door and starting the conversation with companies who have an interest in accessing our data, rather than our full solution.

    However some of the challenge has been around the time it's taken for full sales cycle with potential partners - it's a long and drawn out process and never as simple as just giving them access to the API.

    • MB

      Mike Barwick

      over 2 years ago #

      Thanks Ruth! Great points - I think this is the direction we'll head. Though we're not rushing it.

  • JA

    Jason Amunwa

    over 2 years ago #

    A few important ones (there are tons, though, I'm surely missing a bunch):

    + Broader reach through 3rd party integrations - Marketing your product is made easier by acting as the foundation for others' success. You can try and build and promote an amazing product all by yourself, but you can reach way more people far quicker, by enabling multiple other products to function - any one of which could blow up in its own right.

    + You'll be better positioned for Voice & Chat interfaces, and the AI/ML explosion - In ~5–7 years, super-slick, UX-optimized visual interfaces won’t count for much as a competitive advantage, as SaaS businesses replace them with invisible voice, text/chat and gesture-driven interfaces powered by digital assistants (OK Google, Alexa, Siri, etc.), which are as intuitive and engaging to use as a transactional conversation with a real person. (www.dtelepathy.com/blog/design/the-ux-of-voice-the-invisible-interface). Your visual interface will soon be a bottleneck to the data and functions contained within your product.

    "many happy customers may only ever interact programmatically — no more interfaces, dashboards or logins to remember. Just value and connectivity." ~Noah Jessop, What comes after SaaS (https://hackernoon.com/what-comes-after-saas-1f71ec40de45)

    + Distribution through Developers - If you make it easy for developers to solve common problems by hooking into your product's API, they will reuse it time and time again, and advocate to their clients/stakeholders to use it. As the "last man in the chain" between an idea and execution, most developers don't like being responsible for completing a project on-deadline and under-budget using unfamiliar APIs. Loyalty goes a long way!

    + It's your innovation lab - If a 3rd party creates a popular tool that leverages your API, it's a sign of features/benefits your product may be lacking. They find and validate the customer need, and you can then either acquire/partner/build your own version.

  • GW

    Gosia Walendziewska

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey @mikebarwick ,

    I would say - depends on your product type and resources.
    If you can do it and you know how clients would benefit from it - sure, do it.

    But sometimes it's worth to know your clients better, collect a bit informations and problems that they're facing on daily basis and then consider if it's worth your money.

    That's what we did at Sotrender - normally we're also working on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube API's but some time ago we've learnt that clients still need API from an analytic tool!

    Cheers!

  • VB

    Vipul Bansal

    over 2 years ago #

    Besides what @seankirby has already mentioned, here are some of my findings:

    1. Flexibility - APIs help your customers get more benefits out of your product through custom implementations. There might be a few things that your SaaS product may not readily provide. Using your API, your customer can fill the gap/

    2. Use cases - Users from different verticals will have different use cases. Providing an API helps identify these use cases for your product.

    • MB

      Mike Barwick

      over 2 years ago #

      Good advice, thanks Vipul! Never thought about a "use cases" scenario in great detail. Will add this to list. :)

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