What is the API economy?

Today’s leading enterprises are transforming digitally, jumping head first into the API economy. Transformations are being driven by connected devices and consumers’ thirst for compelling brand experiences—all generating a vast and ever-growing amount of data.

In the API economy, application programming interfaces (APIs) act as the digital glue that links services, applications and systems. This allows businesses to make the most of their data to create compelling customer experiences and open new revenue channels.

Learn More About the API Economy - Download Publication.
Learn about the opportunities of the API economy from Marie Wieck, IBM Middleware General Manager, and John Musser, Founder and CEO, API Science.

New API economy business models are emerging

Successful organizations see APIs not as technical tools only, but as sources of strategic value in today’s digital economy. Adopting an API-centric business model enables you to:

  • Create value by offering APIs that others want.
  • Use APIs to help developers innovate freely.
  • Support mobile development teams with APIs.
  • Make APIs the common language in a hybrid world.
  • Link devices to data on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Drivers of API adoption include a focus on the customer experience, a desire for frictionless access to ecosystems and a need for faster time to market.


Business models in the API economy can be based on direct consumption, market-making endeavors or ecosystem enablement.


API monetization strategies can be indirect, transactional or product-based.

See how you can get started in the API economy.

Count on IBM to help guide you into the API economy

Our industry skill and experience in hosting and securing back-office data for leading enterprises makes IBM uniquely qualified to host the world’s growing engagement data and to help enterprises digitally transform for a world whose future is increasingly built on data.

Our comprehensive set of solutions for the API economy can help you manage and cash in on the value of data to drive customer engagement.

IBM offers a complete solution set for the API Economy.
See IBM's perspective on the API economy.

Developers, are you ready to drive the API economy?

Featured solution

IBM API Connect: Helping you thrive in the API economy

The IBM API Connect solution gives you the tools you need to create, manage and share APIs in a security-rich and scalable environment.

Success in the API economy comes
down to you

Get started with APIs—flexible ways for you to join the API economy

Your organization depends on you to develop innovative and engaging applications faster, using APIs. To do this, you must be able to:

  • Easily find the right APIs to use in your applications.
  • Quickly develop and deliver scalable APIs.

IBM provides the tools you need for your application development. Our solutions also support open-source technologies, so you can work the way you want. IBM API Connect Essentials and Professional include a programmable micro gateway that can empower developers and support teams just starting their API journey with a single departmental project.