How an API KPI Dashboard Accelerates Improvement and Return on Investment
As we’ve worked through our series on the importance of API measurement and setting KPIs, one thing should have become apparent - having an API metrics strategy isn’t an option; it’s an imperative.
You may have great metrics defined and KPIs that align well with your operational goals, but if you can’t see them, understand them, or share them, they aren’t going to be as effective as you need them to be.
What you really need is a straightforward means of parsing and viewing the data so that you can make confident, data-driven decisions and communicate to your organizations the value of your API-led integration strategy.
To get the value out of your API measurement and your KPIs, you need a dashboard.
The Value of an API KPI Dashboard
An API KPI dashboard offers a host of benefits, from communicating the value of your MuleSoft investment to offering directional insight to the business on the value your API-led strategy is delivering.
Consistent and Accessible Data Access and Information
When initially researching and proposing your MuleSoft implementation, you probably combed through use cases, reviewed ROI data, and discussed real-world benefits for your applications and systems with your MuleSoft account team.
What measurable value have you gained from your APIs since then? How do you know what you’ve gained? And what does it take for you to find out?
You’ve got the data you need to understand your API strategy's impact on the business. But if you’re doing manual data extraction and manipulation to create reports, looking through log data for information, or pulling information into a tool that merely aggregates data, the effort to see what’s going on with your APIs may be more than you have to spend on it. API measurement is too important to be relegated to a backlog of tasks no one has the time or energy to do.
At the same time, if you’re working to prove the value to your business leaders, delays in providing meaningful metrics might call into question the validity of the information. It isn’t that stakeholders may not believe what you’re reporting - but if it takes significant time to produce a report, the information is out of date by the time it’s ready to review and discuss.
An API KPI dashboard provides real-time access to the data about your applications and their usage. With accurate, objective information at your fingertips, you can be confident in the decisions you make, measure progress, and provide the business with easily digestible insights that are timely. You’ll have the ability to peek behind the curtain and see what is really going on with your apps quickly enough to plan changes for your next sprint, project status, or management meeting.
Better Management of Your Existing APIs (and Your Future Ones)
We’ve all heard the quote attributed to Peter Drucker -“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Despite Drucker’s actual views on measurement being a little more nuanced than that - and leaving aside the fact that he never actually said it - there is a nugget of truth in the statement, at least when it comes to many aspects of APIs.
Improving your APIs, making the right decisions about expanding MuleSoft usage, and even resource decisions are better managed with data and easier to process when the data is readily accessible. A dashboard provides both at-a-glance performance information and the ability to dive deep and create a more cohesive and complete picture of API usage, governance, security, reliability, and support.
For instance, viewing data focused on a single dimension might show that you have an API with reliability issues. Your incidents associated with that application are significant. At the same time, a separate set of data shows that the dev team that is responsible for that API has stellar velocity. Taken individually, the API appears to have issues while the team is receiving productivity kudos. Taken together, leadership has an opportunity to figure out why the team is cranking out code that’s causing quality issues. More importantly, they can measure if the corrective actions taken make a difference or if a more significant issue needs to be addressed.
Determine Your ROI Objectives and KPIs, and See a Path to Get There
Everyone wants to know their return on investment (ROI) for a process, a project, or a platform. The discussions around implementing the MuleSoft platform and moving to an API-led strategy were likely centered around an impressive ROI..
MuleSoft probably made that information easy to obtain. Case studies, fact sheets, even customer reference interviews offered up a host of ROI numbers that are meant to prove the platform's value.
Unfortunately, that was the ROI for those organizations. What’s been your ROI since adopting MuleSoft? What’s been the value to the business of your pilot project?
Importantly, are you realizing value from new features or reuse of the code faster since that first project? Are the newest applications benefiting from the lessons and reuse of the previous ones?
An API KPI dashboard offers the ability to really see the ROI of your investment - both at the platform level and the project level. That information can be gathered quickly and used nearly anywhere - internally, across business units, and even externally when needed.
It also offers the ability to see how you are trending with your ROI and KPIs over time. Those trends can shape future IT investments while helping the business overruns, missed deadlines, and increased costs of opportunities by pointing out at any point where and how successes are occurring, or change needs to be made.
Determine Productivity Goals and Understand How to Reach Them
Business objectives and their associated KPIs are the focus of a lot of the discussion around API measurement strategies, and rightly so. But they aren’t the only reason to measure.
Whether it was a key reason for implementing MuleSoft or not, the productivity of development teams and the applications influences nearly every other possible goal.
Speed to market? Teams must be able to respond and develop APIs quickly.
Code reuse? Best practices allow development groups to follow code and documentation guidelines that deliver faster development and higher quality.
Innovation? IT Teams can establish “guard rails” to enable business analysts to use low-code tools and existing APIs to create innovative solutions. . These solutions can then be introduced and controlled via existing DevOps processes.
And the list goes on.
The API KPI dashboard can expose all the right information for the level of decision-making needed to sustain or increase productivity.
Regardless of your current state, the initial implementation of the dashboard will give you a baseline to set your KPIs against. As you make changes, it will be easier to double down on those things that are working (“Our dashboard shows that API reuse is on the rise!”) or pivot away from what isn’t (‘The dashboard reveals that only one department is using the new ERP API, even though it should be widely used by now. We need to communicate and evangelize its use to all the development teams”).
A dashboard can provide you - and the business - with quick, easy-to-read, accurate, and timely information about your APIs. It expands the usefulness of your API measurement strategy by making the data consistent, accessible, and objective.
Are you ready to define your API measurement and metrics strategy? Contact us to learn more about how our dashboard can catapult your strategy forward and help you continue to prove the value that MuleSoft brings to your business.
And implementing a dashboard for your MuleSoft APIs can be done quicker and easier than you think. With an accelerated implementation of Big Compass’s KPIs for APIs Dashboard, you can be up and running with a baseline dashboard quickly, ready to use with a set of out-of-the-box KPIs to get you started.