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API Use Cases for Every (?) Industry

By Alan Glickenhouse posted Sun November 01, 2015 03:54 PM

What is the most common question I am asked about APIs?  The answer is, “can you give me an example in my industry?”  About 15 months ago I started writing a series of blogs giving API examples for every industry.  First I introduced a way to structure the discussion in a blog called, “Identifying good candidates for APIs”.  I then tackled every industry IBM lists on its industry page showing sample API scenarios.

Industry icons

The complete list of industry use case blogs is included below.  But wait, before you scroll down and find your industry, here are a few suggestions about how to use these blogs:

    • The first thing to point out is that we try to keep these blogs short.  Each one is touching on a few potential use cases to spark ideas and demonstrate possibilities.  These blogs are not meant to be the complete list of use cases.  As your efforts progress, you will find many additional use cases.

    • Second: think about the value chain for your APIs.  What is the value of your API to the developer who uses it?  What will the value be that they provide to the end user of the App that they create?  If you can’t find value for each participant in the value chain, rethink your API.

    • Third: Look beyond your industry.  There are patterns and opportunities that you can find by looking at other industries.  Over a yearlook beyond ago I was at a Connected Car conference and an API leader from Fitbit was walking around the conference and stopped at the IBM booth.  I asked him why Fitbit was at a Connected Car conference. His answer, “just trying to get some different ideas”.  Seems like a good idea to me.

    • Fourth: Look beyond your industry again.  Another thing to understand is how your industry relates to others.  I call this, “the industry next door”.  APIs can unlock partnerships that cross industries. As an example, when people buy a car, they might need a bank loan and insurance.  Think about your industry, but also the industries that might use your APIs to send you more customers and more business.

    • Fifth and finally, Remember that to achieve success you should always put controls around the APIs so that you know who uses the APIs and how much and can map this to the results.  With this visibility, you can use the analytics to determine which techniques are working and which are not.

Here is the list of industry blogs showing API use cases:

What industries did I miss?  Let me know if I did not cover yours.

Connect with me through comments here or via twitter @Arglick to continue the discussion.   You can also read my earlier blogs.






Mon July 24, 2017 01:10 PM

Oh, and one more thought. I'm not saying that I won't do one covering your suggestion. I just have so many blogs in the queue right now, it will probably take a long time until I get to this. So, the series may be a better option to get the information you need in a more timely way.

Mon July 24, 2017 12:52 PM

Thanks for your comment and suggestion. In order to keep the industry list finite I went with the IBM industry list found on the external web site - https://www.ibm.com/industries/en-us/?lnk=min. From a weather perspective the closest one that I’ve already written might be the utilities blog - https://developer.ibm.com/apiconnect/2015/01/08/apis-utilities-lets-something-weather/.

I do recognize that all of these blogs are very broad and may not be specific to any individual company in the industry. So, recognizing this I have started a new blog series on business drivers and the techniques to help you identify specific APIs for your business. This will roll out over the next few months. I published the first one last week and plan to roll this out at a rate of one per week. Here is a link to the opening blog - https://developer.ibm.com/apiconnect/2017/07/20/api-economy-4-business-drivers-7-use-case-categories-series-overview/

Mon July 24, 2017 09:03 AM

What about API candidates for the sector Environment and Weather?
Global warming and environment hazards now a days are a matter of concern.

Mon January 16, 2017 01:07 PM

Scott, sounds like a good idea. Thanks!

Sun January 15, 2017 07:54 PM

Hi, could you add the following to IBM's list of Industries and to your list of API Use Cases? Computer Services/Software. This includes companies like: Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Facebook, Salesforce, Uber, VMware, Intuit, LinkedIn, Autodesk, Intuit, Twitter, Airbnb...

Thu April 14, 2016 12:21 PM

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[…] it is believed that there is an API for every industry, there are sectors where APIs are relatively underrepresented. Chris Wood has taken a look at some […]