Why Mule Organizations Should Monitor and Measure Their APIs
When you think of API monitoring and measurement, a few different scenarios are likely top of mind.
Monitoring? Sure, you do some endpoint monitoring for security purposes.
Measurement? You spot-check API usage or verify performance during regression testing.
Monitoring and measurement can do so much more than just handle a few specific use cases. Implementing a well-planned and comprehensive API monitoring and measurement system shifts your API strategy from cost to value, creating a data-driven powerhouse that promotes engagement and usage across the organization.
To do this effectively, you’ll want to start by understanding the reasons behind measuring and reporting and what it means for your business before diving into the types of KPIs to use.
What’s the Value of Measuring and Reporting on Your KPIs?
The $10,000 question, of course, is why bother? Defining what to measure, adding in the right hooks, designing and creating reports - a lot is involved in making API measurement both useful and meaningful, especially if you’re already doing a few measurement tasks.
The answer to that question is probably embedded in the reason that you adopted MuleSoft, to begin with. You were looking to innovate faster, generate revenue, empower the business, or create reuse. Whatever the reason, well-planned, well-executed measurement and monitoring can tell you if you’re accomplishing those goals and what direction you should be moving toward to do so.
Beyond that, your API reporting can help to drive greater adoption, helping you evangelize the strategy and offering data-backed proof of the value that API usage offers in enabling business objectives.
With the right measurements defined, you can:
- Quickly answer and prove the value of APIs within the organization
- Make data-driven decisions about new or expanded API offerings
- Improve usage and adoption
- Evangelize re-use across the business
- Promote secure API usage
- Improve API performance
- Establish or enhance service reliability
- Direct MuleSoft and API investments appropriately
- Have data-backed proof of how your API strategy is positively impacting the business’s bottom and top-line performance.
Tailor Your API KPIs
Different organizations have different drivers for API adoption. What are the business objectives around API usage for your organization?
Faster: The business is looking to respond faster to market changes and pressure. There is a need to develop more features or services in less time. Key measures for this might include API re-use, number of deployments, measures around APIs per SDLC stage, and number of launches per year.
Better: Is the business in need of improved offerings or ones that are more reliable? Indicators like uptime, number of incidents, and even usage can help prove out the value and performance of the APIs.
Cheaper: Cost savings can be achieved in many ways with APIs, so there may be a broad number of measures that can point to success or the need for improvement with this objective. For instance, increased deployments can show that more features are being developed in less time, thus creating cost savings. Or a more straightforward measure like Cost and time to build an API can be useful.
Whatever the key business objective is, KPIs can indicate where improvements are needed, or that movement is happening in the right direction.
However, focusing only on those few metrics that prove the value against the objective is a mistake. For example, if speed is important, you might be looking at app dev velocity or the number of launches per year. If these are going up, but you don’t notice that the number of defects and the time to resolve incidents is also increasing, you could be in for a world of hurt down the road.
KPIs for your APIs must be considered based on what the business wants, but they have to be viewed in context. No one wants more services if they are all broken or unreliable. As we’ll discuss later in this series, having measures is important - having a fast, reliable way to view those measures is the foundation of a successful API strategy.
4 Categories of Measurement and Monitoring
Gaining the benefits of API measurement requires defining meaningful KPIs that can be used and re-used to answer key business and technical questions. Knowing API usage data, for instance, can be valuable in establishing the need for the service and also in promoting its use to other internal groups or defending the assignment of resources to a feature enhancement project.
Big Compass groups KPIs for APIs into the following four key categories.
Adoption & Expansion
These KPIs help you to understand the current state of adoption of your APIs while offering information to drive and provide focus to their expansion and the expansion of the MuleSoft platform as a whole.
Security & Vulnerability
KPIs that help monitor unusual activity and ensure proper access governance are helpful regardless of additional business goals.
Efficiency & Cost Savings
While cost and time savings may not be the drivers for API usage, having data related to savings and efficiency can help promote and build the case for additional use, new development, and value establishment for the platform.
Measuring your APIs can show the value they bring to the business, but they can also unearth the teams' accomplishments. These measures can also point to the services in greatest need of attention and tuning or even those that need to be refactored.
Get Ready to Accelerate Your API Measurement
What’s driving the questions around your API strategy? What business needs are being met by APIs, and how well are they doing it? And what might you be missing about how your APIs are performing?
A powerful combination is a baseline set of KPIs to work from and leveraging those to answer how your MuleSoft APIs are performing against business objectives. It gives you the ability to prove the importance of your MuleSoft implementation to leadership and your business partners while paving the way for continued and even expanded adoption of an API-led strategy. You can make data-driven decisions about additional features, services, implementation, and even support. And you can show how crucial to the organization’s success APIs can be.
Are you looking for a streamlined way to see your API performance data? Big Compass offers its KPIs for APIs Dashboard that puts information about API adoption, reuse, and development velocity at your fingertips so that you can show the business and financial impact of your MuleSoft implementation quickly and easily. Learn more about our Dashboard Accelerator and get a demo of the KPIs for APIs Dashboard by contacting Big Compass today.