How Do I Make My Identity API Successful? (Part 3 of 3)
You have followed the high-level plan “How Do I Get Started Building an Identity API” and at this point have a solid Identity API with initial success from your pilot users. But all the work that went into getting this far doesn’t matter if it never moves beyond this point. Evangelizing and marketing your Identity API is critical to ensure continued adoption and long-term value, you need to have a plan to engage developers. So how do you do that?
Access to your Identity API
Once you have your API up and running, you need to make it easy and fast to try with successful results. Developers should be able to get up and running quickly, ideally being able to register and become productive in less than 5 minutes.
Business terms and SLA expectations
The best developer programs are clear and proactive in setting developer expectations about whether they will need to pay for services, expectations around SLAs (or not), and restrictions, if any.
Developers expect clear and accurate documentation for your Identity API. In addition to API documentation, having a developer gallery with examples of applications and actual code that can be cut and pasted from your sample gallery into a developer app is of huge value to developers. Having all of your content easily accessible from a single place, often called a developer portal, is an important part of your developer program.
Awareness of the Identity API
One of the most effective things you can do to drive awareness of your API is to get out in front of the internal customer and business partner developer teams, don’t wait for them to come to you. Put together a “road show” to sell the benefit of what you are offering to them. This is also a great time to get feedback on what challenges they face and how your API might be able to help them.
Focus on the Full Developer Experience
Great developer programs put a lot of energy into ensuring that the end-to-end process from the developer’s perspective is as smooth as possible across the full API lifecycle, including registration, learning, building, debugging, and deploying an app or API integration. Some ways to create a great developer experience include:
- Productivity tools such as test harnesses, API consoles, and sandbox development environments.
- Engagement tools with your team and fellow developers, through forums, blogs, or developer galleries.
- Easy access to support and important information such as FAQs and terms and conditions.
You might be thinking, are you kidding, this is all going to take as much work as actually building the Identity API, and you would be correct! The process, documents, tools, and support that surround your API are just as much a part of the product you are offering as the API itself. That’s why it makes sense to take the time to think through how you are going to approach it. But like that actual API itself, start small and evolve as you go forward.
Building a successful Identity API can be a lot of work, but done well it can bring tremendous value to your customers and partners, and will be a game changer for your IAM program.