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This is a story of a team initiative skyrocketing into a company-wide developer tool. It is a story about how a small idea to improve the speed at which PayPal launches new merchants and partners took on a new meaning in a cross-organizational context. It is a story of a community of developers and technologists growing together on the Postman Enterprise platform to onboard to new APIs faster.
Postman is an industry-standard development tool used by 15 million people globally. Postman’s collaborative API platform simplifies each step of building an API from API design to automated testing. In 2020 Postman became the fourth Indian SaaS company to become a unicorn, entering the one billion dollar club in record time.
At its simplest, Postman is a tool to send an API request and get an API response back. Using Postman, you can build collections of API requests representing a product, solution or API schema. These API collections enable developers to rapidly onboard with your API in a self-service manner.
To scale PayPal experiences faster with our merchants and partners, we saw an opportunity to move to Postman Enterprise for greater:
The opportunity, however, was bigger than that.
Thousands of developers at PayPal already use Postman today as part of their daily workflow.
Extending the Enterprise license beyond Global Professional Services would allow API best practices and tribal knowledge to spread between domains, organizations and platforms. It would encourage collaboration between teams, and enable users to learn from each other through bidirectional knowledge sharing. This momentum would empower API consumers to self-serve, onboard to new APIs faster, and scale new experiences to our customers faster.
This became our mission. Over the next 18 months, Postman Enterprise grew from a handful of users to a company-wide developer tool. So how did we get there?
Community engagement was the key ingredient for success. We wanted to create a grassroots movement and go on a journey together with the community. The following factors were important to build momentum in the community:
Global Professional Services leadership challenged us to innovate and to try something new. When presented with our vision, they took a leap of faith and invested their budget. Their initial investment enabled us to test and learn with early adopters. We were able to capture demand from the early users who immediately benefited from Postman Enterprise’s richer API collaboration functionality.
As more and more users from across PayPal joined the platform, we experienced a large wave of users creating demand. These users invited other users to join them to collaborate more efficiently. As a result, we quickly ran out of licenses.
Keen to support the growing number of Enterprise users, we constructed a deal with Postman’s leadership team. Postman took a leap of faith in our partnership and extended additional licenses in support of our vision and the community we were building. However, even with additional licenses, demand soon overwhelmed supply, and we once again reached a limit on licenses.
With licenses maxed out we had to think like a startup to grow further. We created a waiting list which helped us to:
Equipped with a full platform and a growing waiting list, we were ready to begin discussions to deepen PayPal’s partnership with Postman.
Data driven insights were critical for the Postman Enterprise expansion business case. We tracked team and individual engagement meticulously. At any point, we understood how a user was utilizing Postman (individual or Enterprise license) and whether they were on the waiting list. While the raw totals of these metrics were somewhat useful, connecting our data with PayPal’s Organisational APIs enabled much richer hierarchical reporting. This provided meaningful insights into where the demand for Postman was across PayPal for next-level discussions.
Furthermore, Postman provided key insights around productivity. For example, we learned that Postman Enterprise users at PayPal spend 1.11 hours per week less in Postman compared to those with individual licenses. This supplemented qualitative feedback from PayPal developers on the time saved through Postman Enterprise functionality:
In December 2020, the seeds we planted for the prior 18 months were ready for harvest: Postman is now an official developer tool alongside Github and Jira.
A small idea to improve collaboration, transparency and productivity in our organization skyrocketed when we introduced it into a cross-organizational context. The Postman Enterprise community grew from 10 to 750 users by the end of 2020 with developers across PayPal joining to rapidly adopt and test APIs. We’re delighted to see the growth of the platform across PayPal. Quicker API onboarding accelerates the speed at which PayPal connects products and platforms together which ultimately means we can launch new experiences to our customers faster.
From day 0 our focus was on community and collaboration. We’re excited where the community will take the Postman Enterprise partnership in 2021 and beyond.
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