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Master's Thesis - Irena Stoilova

Last modified Jan 20
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Motivation and Goal

In today's world the need of inter-connectivity between systems is gaining greater importance. An enabler of such connections are Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). APIs allow access to big volumes of data, services and processes. Companies value their strategic potential and are getting a better understanding of the benefits of building APIs. In today's economy organizations do not operate solely, but often collaborate with others to create a competitive product in the vastly changing business. By opening internal projects via APIs new partnerships are feasible and by doing so hidden potentials of existing projects are realised.
Numerous valuable advantages of APIs in regards to collaborations
have been studied. They provide a high level of data security and management of access. They bring agility, scalability and accessibility to big data systems. Further, their implementation allows for the developers of the API to track usage of the service they are providing. 
However, many projects end with the development of a functionality for internal use and rarely the development of an API afterwards lies in the scope of the project. Thus, development teams need to be incentivized to create APIs. Goal of this thesis is to research and design a process for incentive mechanisms for opening internal APIs. 
The process will focus on defining and overcoming the challenges that exist when developing an API in internal solutions, e.g. big organizations. Further, existing incentive mechanisms will be gathered and examined in the context dependencies of a corporation. The resulting findings of this analysis will be then defined into a process for incentivizing teams to provide partner APIs. 
The proposed solution for motivating teams is adapted to the specifics of an organisation, but takes into account the requirements of interviewees from more than one project. The process is based on related literature and semi-structured interviews. It spans trough different approaches such as gamification and evangelism and covers methods from demand to motivation encouragement.
The evaluation of the process is done qualitatively by conducting interviews with experts from the field.


Research questions:

  • RQ1: What are the challenges for providing partner APIs in internal solutions?
  • RQ2: What are existing incentive mechanisms motivating teams to provide partner APIs?
  • RQ3: What incentive mechanism/mix of incentive mechanisms can be applied within the context dependencies of Siemens AG?
  • RQ4: How could a process for incentivizing team to provide partner APIs look like?


Industry Partner

This project is conducted in cooperation with Siemens AG.



Halderman, J. A. (2010) ‘To strengthen security, change developers’ incentives’, IEEE Security and Privacy, 8(2), pp. 79–82. doi: 10.1109/MSP.2010.85.

Herranz, E. et al. (2016) ‘Towards a gamification framework for software process improvement initiatives: Construction and validation’, Journal of Universal Computer Science, 22(12), pp. 1509–1532.

Lane, K. (2012) The Secret to Amazons Success Internal APIs, The API Evangelist. Available at: (Accessed: 20 January 2020).

Narain, R., Merrill, A. and Lesser, E. (2016) Evolution of the API economy Adopting new business models to drive future innovation IBM Institute for Business Value. Available at: (Accessed: 22 November 2019).

Platonova, V. and Bērziša, S. (2018) ‘Gamification in Software Development Projects’, Information Technology and Management Science. Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 20(1). doi: 10.1515/itms-2017-0010.

Willmott, S., Balas, G. and Weiss, D. (2013) ‘Winning in the API Economy’, Journal, p. 69. Available at: (Accessed: 14 December 2019).

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