Going beyond the mobile app gold rush

Recently, I wrote a blog on What powers the mobile economy?which created lot of interesting conversations. A few large enterprise customers reached out to me and suggested they can relate to things I said in my post. In my follow-up conversations with them, a couple of more interesting views came up.

Sadhu-baba-with-mobile-funny

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What powers the mobile economy?

Recently, my colleague Claus wrote a blog on whether you need API management if you already have a decent mobile initiative. The topic was so good that I thought I would pile on and provide my opinion on it as well.

One of the points he established was that if you are deploying very few mobile apps on a few selected devices, for one or two LOBs (Line of Business or Business Units), then it is a wash. You might do better without having an API initiative. I completely agree. Problems begin to pile up when you have multiple mobile apps and want to have a common baseline across them.

[Image Courtesy: https://pandawhale.com/]

Multiple silos of Mobile initiatives

A major issue that I keep hearing from many executives is the proliferation of mobile initiatives with or without IT approval and/or oversight. Unfortunately, given the excitement, need and necessity to produce mobile apps quickly, the IT departments can’t cope with the demand from LOBs. There are times mobile initiatives are run by LOBs, in parallel, without the knowledge and oversight of IT. Unfortunately, most of these haphazardly-built apps access your enterprise data without proper controls. This is when your mobile apps (and APIs) become liabilities instead of assets. Read my article on this topic here: Is your API an asset or a liability?

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What are your “undocumented” APIs up to?

Do you know “Snappening”? It is a story about private Snapchat pictures turning from Casper, the friendly ghost, to a scary Halloween ghost. Recently, there was a second incident at Snapchat in which users had about 200,000 private pictures exposed (mostly pictures of under-aged users, aged from 13-17) online. Most had no knowledge of these photos being stored by anyone. Given the nature of some of those pictures (under aged/minor compromising pictures), these can be considered illegal to possess.

[Image courtesy: Casper’s Scare School]

[Snappening is a little different than the Fappening that occurred a few months ago in which female celebrities’ nude pictures were hacked from iCloud. In that case, the attack was targeted at specific celebrity accounts with a combination of brute force and phishing. Hence, the attack was limited to very few accounts and not massive scale like Snapchat.]

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Is your API an asset or a liability?

This article was originally published on VentureBeat.

A touchy API topic is data ownership and liability, regardless of whether the APIs are open or protected. Obviously, depending on your business model and needs, you will choose to expose the APIs and the underlying assets to your developers, partners, public developers, your consumers, or others that I am forgetting. While almost everyone talks about the API business relationships, the liability concern brings the legal relationship to the forefront.

[Image courtsey: jasonlove.com]

liabilityAPIs are considered a contract between the data supplier (or API provider) and the app provider. If you have different API providers that publish APIs from a central place, and multiple third parties use that API catalog to build apps for their consumers (end users), then it becomes complicated. While you can fix some of this by writing detailed contracts and making the app providers and end customers agree to the terms of usability before they use those APIs, as a provider, you are also responsible for implementing controls around your APIs to mitigate most, if not all, of the risks involved.

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API Strategy Conference – Chicago

api-strategy-practice-chicago-logoI am on a panel with Kin Lane this week @APIStrat conference, discussing (looking at the panel members, it will be more like debating) about the “Politics of APIs” and the enterprise/ top industries adoption in general. Unfortunately, it is the last session on the last day of the conference, and I know the mad rush to the exit starts around that time. But we would love to see you stay and listen to the fireworks. I am interested to hear from you on specific topic(s) that you would like to see discussed on that panel.

If you are attending the conference, let us catch-up.

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Are Public APIs Going Away? – Part Deux

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

And so it begins…

When I wrote part one of this post, it set off a heated controversy. A lot of healthy debate, some agreeing and some opposing me. But, as I reflect on the whole episode, some of them seem to have missed a major point I was making.

If you read my article in full, you will know that I made one speculation and stated a few obvious facts.

1.I speculated about the question, “Are Public APIs going away?”, which as the title itself suggests, is a question, not an affirmative statement, and I asked it while citing some examples, and suggesting things might change along the way.

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Are Public APIs Going Away?

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

You might have noticed in the news recently that ESPN has shut down its public API program. According to ESPN, they are trying to “better align their engineering resources with their core product development,” though the actual reason seems to be that they want better control over their unique and licensed content, and better monetization, which public APIs may not offer.

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