#SDPGlobal #API Focus Day

Last year, the same day was dedicated to WAC and we know what happened to that. However, this has been a genuinely interesting day. Despite the demise of WAC, there are still efforts to create global APIs. Many reasons have been cited – developer acceptance, portability and so on, but it emerged during a panel we chaired this morning that a more important (and striking) motivation is the need to reduce OPEX.

Telecom Italia noted that they have 40 or so APIs in their network. This presents a management problem and co-ordinating all of these internal resources is costly. Reducing these costs is a key aspiration, even if not necessarily achievable. Other operators in the room noted similar problems, so although standardisation from the point of view of developers may be desirable, in fact, it's more likely to be driven by cost concerns from the point of view of the provider.

At the risk sounding hyperbolic, it was also interesting to note that one other old shibboleth was demolished. For some years there has been a presumption that the long tail of developers represents a significant opportunity and that operators need to capitalise on this by providing suitable APIs and resources. We have never really bought into this, as there has never been any credible evidence to support the hypothesis.

In fact, all of the operators quizzed noted that, while third party developers are important to them and represent key stakeholders, it's not small independent developers that are of primary interest. Instead, the APIs that operators offer have been provided for larger systems integrators, large enterprises, the Government and so on. These are the kind of partners who will either pay or whose business operators want to retain. They are strategic partners with proven value.

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