Who are the API Stakeholders? There are four main groups of stakeholders: API providers, API customers, API consumers, and end-users. API providers build, expose, and operate APIs. API customers decide what API to buy and use. API consumers develop applications that use APIs. End-users don't use APIs directly. Instead, they use APIs indirectly via the application that is developed by the API consumer and provided by the API customer. The following figure shows the four main groups and how they interact.
In the following, we describe each group, their competencies, as well as their interests.
API providers build, expose, and operate APIs. In other words, API providers are the ones that provide APIs to others.
API providers need to know how to design, build, and operate APIs.Typically, API providers use an API management platform to build, expose, and operate APIs. Further, they provide a developer portal to engage with API customers and API consumers.
API customers are the ones who decide what APIs to use, especially commercial APIs. Generally, API customers have a problem or rather a job they want getting done. More precisely, API customers look for solutions to their problems. Since they don't have the resources, the time, or the right data, they choose APIs from API providers. Using APIs can boost time-to-market enormously.
To find the right APIs, API customers are looking for the API with the relevant value proposition. For that reason, it is paramount for the API provider to present their APIs as an interface to a value proposition and present their unique value proposition (USP).
API consumers develop software applications or Web sites that use APIs. Typically, they are the developers who integrate APIs in their applications or Web sites. In other words, API consumers are the users of APIs. Often, they are mistaken as customers. They aren't. API consumers are probably the most important stakeholders for API providers because they interact the most with the APIs and the developer portal.
API consumers look for simple APIs, proper documentation, and instructions on how to use the APIs. They are the primary users of the developer portal. On the developer portal, they look API credentials to use the API, API documentation, SDKs, and an API sandbox.
End-users don't use APIs directly. Instead, they use applications or Web sites that use APIs in the background.
Nevertheless, the availability, performance, and security of your APIs have a direct impact on the user experience of end-users. A bad end-user experience leads to unsatisfied API customers and API consumers. As a result, they might look for alternatives to your API.