The part of API’s in digital transformations. Are you paying attention to Application ProgrammingInterfaces?
Digital transformation is on the agenda of almost every organisation. Digital transformations are primarily driven by a focus on innovation from a customers perspective. Fast and cost efficiently improving existing services or offering new services causing an increase in customer satisfaction and improvement of the competitiveness of the organisation. The importance of using API’s is becoming more important because of it. Are you already paying enough attention to API’s?
Every day more and more data is generated in the world around us, this is offering many opportunities for innovative organisations. In the past, ICT was often centrally organised, but in the last years this has evolved into distributed organised ICT. This is essential in order to comply to the required speed and flexibility the market demands. This entails that applications and processes that are constructed are mostly distributed among multiple environments and clouds, cause an urgency for modern, universal integration possibilities. A modern ICT-landscape exists out of a multiplicity of technologies, typical users (personas) and endpoints. In such a modern landscape API’s fulfil a specific part.
Difference in the essence of ICT-systems
Within an ICT-landscape the difference is made between systems of engagements and systems of record. A system of record is a backend system in which crucial data is stored and managed. These systems are fundamental for organisations and often contain data that is not accessible. These systems are often internally focused. Systems of Engagement are systems that originate from digital transformation initiatives. These are systems that offer new services to their clients, services that are more innovative and update more frequently. These systems are often externally focused or even located outside of the organisation. These innovative systems and applications often require data from back-end systems to enable their services. API’s are mainly used to deliver this required data.
API, nothing new under the sun
Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) have existed for years now. An API is an entry in an application, enabling the possibility to request data or make a request and is the technical interface into an application. Nowadays people mainly speak of “Business API’s”. A Business API is an easy understandable interface for consuming and offering data on business resources such as orders and products. By using business API’s and standards, applications can use each other’s data without the necessity to store it themselves. Velocity is one of the advantages of using API’s. Applications and integration can be set up quicker and more flexible which causes value to be delivered earlier towards the client. Or to say it in business terms: ‘the time-to-market for new client services is significantly shortened’. Publishing and consuming an API however is different than managing API’s. A part of the added value of API’s lies in the way they are managed.
API management focuses on how to safely and easily manage the way API’s are used inside and outside of the organisation. API management does not look at API as only a technology but also as a product that must be managed and a product that has a lifecycle. It must be able to locate an API in a landscape, it must be possible to perform tests with the generated data, it must be determined whoever has to this data and the use of the API must be able to be monitored. These aspects allow the organisation to control the services they offer to their clients but also provides insights into the behaviour of clients and information on the use of the offered services. Managing API’s is extremely important for the success of your applications and services.
An API gateway is indispensable
Before, we suggested that a modern IT landscape is continuously being set up more distributed. Applications and micro-services are spread amongst multiple locations and digital services offered to customers demanding data from backend systems. The distributed management of API’s belonging to these systems is too time intensive, circuitous and error sensitive. API management can be efficiently, simply and reliable set up with the use of an API gateway.
An API Gateway is the place where API’s within your organisation can be registered and where the API’s pass their lifecycle. Here developers have access to the descriptive data of API’s and are able to independently look at documentations according to a self-service concept. They are able to perform tests with existing data and request authorization for the use of API’s. The API Gateway plays an important part in the protection of your internal application landscape by placing the gateway in a safe environment inside or outside of the landscape and an unambiguous way to set op.
By implementing an API Gateway business are able to profit the benefits of API’s. They are able to publish documented data from a central location very quickly and safe. Because of this, it is easier to offer new services, connect new partners and customers and lower the costs for integration.
No 'one size fits all' solution
API management is a combination of technology and opportunities which together enable to develop, publish and manage API’s in an API Gateway. With standardization it is possible to quickly realize integrations between different services and applications. API Management is available as an integration pattern within the eMagiz Enterprise iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service). However, please realize that an API is not the solution for all your integration challenges. Modern ICT landscapes are complex and entail different technologies, which maybe do not support API’s. There are also many situations where using API’s is not the best solution. In these cases you must adapt other integration technologies in order to choose the most efficient and effective form of integration. That is where eMagiz API management proves its added value: the possibility to set up and manage modern API’s but also connecting it to other integration technologies within one platform. This provides you flexibility to work from home with modern API’s but also allows you to tackle other complex integration challenges.You no longer have to maintain knowledge of multiple technology platforms, now you can arrange it within one platform. This reduces costs, reduces HR- and educational problems, simplifies our ICT environment and positively influences the organisation. Through shorter time-to-market, real-time data, business decision and fully integrated business processes.
By Tom ten Vregelaar, Account manager @ eMagiz