In reviewing the feedback on my last post (the bulk of which can be summarized as: “you silly silly man, have you only just now comprehended the basics of SOA? Where have you been for the past decade?“), I realized what I was really describing is the current state of SOA, and while the technique of architecting things as loosely-coupled services that can be strung together in new ways is not new, the number of easy ways there are to do this (what I called “democratization”) is relatively new – and the number of service-oriented things available to enterprises (both in their internal systems and in the cloud) that can be strung together in this easy way is reaching critical mass. In fact there’s an entire industry of new companies that are built exclusively on this new opportunity. In short – the sheer number and availability of interesting APIs is multiplying at an exponential pace. It is the impact this is having on businesses that I find so interesting.
So what does this all mean to the average organization? Well, I think it means that organizations need to understand the possibilities this brave new world offers, and have a plan for investing in those possibilities. For some organizations, this will simply be a better way to do things, like market to customers or design products. For others, it will include actually producing and publishing their own APIs – as a way to directly produce revenue, or as a way to reach new customers (hell, even NPR has an API!). Either way, organizations will need to adapt to this trend, or risk getting left behind by competitors who are discovering ways to use this to their advantage.