Connect parties in your supply chain more efficiently with the help of an API gateway

Vorige keer schreef hij al over de transformatie mogelijkheden van de API gateway. Dit keer gaat Leo in op het 'self-service' concept van de gateway en legt hij uit hoe dit jou kan helpen om ketenpartijen efficiënt aan te sluiten.

In this blog

As we discussed in one of my previous blogs we spoke about the transformation possibilities of the API gateway in eMagiz and explained how it can be used to unlock services in your landscape. In this blog I will discuss the ‘self-service’ concept of the API gateway and how this can help you to connect parties in your supply chain efficiently.

Many organizations are dealing with monolithic applications in their IT landscape. The reason for this is often the progress of growth with regards to digital solutions within organizations. A solution is often added ad hoc to an existing IT environment and subsequently expanded upon. Only when data and architecture start to play a bigger role, it becomes apparent that the existing solution is too large and difficult to adapt. In the meantime, the organization has become dependent of the system. That does not mean that every monolith is a problem, after all a well-designed digital monolith is often still effective. Nevertheless, we are seeing a shift towards more ‘broken down’ systems in the form of microservices.

Splitting up your digital landscape and setting up a microservices-oriented landscape is a way to make your landscape more flexible and scalable. This allows you to carry out maintenance on various parts, replace individual parts and develop more easily. In such a landscape, the inclusion of a self-service component, in the form of a self-service API layer, is a valuable part of offering, discovering and managing available (data) services.

The concept 'Self-service'

But what exactly is self-service? An illustrative example of self-service can be found in the supermarket. To do your groceries, you physically go to the supermarket, pick up everything you need, and by the time you’re ready, you pay at checkout. Nowadays, some supermarkets also offer another option, namely the use of a self-scanner or a do-it-yourself checkout environment. This makes it possible to avoid the checkout and check out yourself. Here self-service is the purchase of a service without the need for external personnel.

You can apply the same kind of method to applications and services and the convenience that an API offers to the developer or consumer who wants to use it. APIs help make sub-processes of an application available to external users. They support the collection and import of information when necessary, or they provide data. APIs help users to provide (complex) solutions to issues that are spread over different applications and are therefore indispensable in a micro-service oriented landscape. By offering APIs in a self-service manner by means of an API gateway, you can achieve more speed in your IT development.

What would this look like in your IT landscape?

Suppose your organization builds a new, modular landscape in order to further develop and maintain parts of the landscape with small teams. These teams are also responsible for providing parts of the functionalities of the applications they manage. The teams do this through APIs. The teams register and manage the API and associated documentation on an API gateway. The API gateway has a centrally available portal where all developers can log in. This allows development teams to view documentation about APIs in a catalog, easily test them and ultimately connect to other parts of the IT landscape, without the need for other teams. After all, they can directly consume the registered APIs. As a result, the lead time for new development can be significantly reduced.

Just as in-house development teams can make use of the self-service concept, external parties in the supply chain can as well. One of the great advantages of the portal is that it offers a uniform and standard-based approach to integration through APIs. This way, only one interface for external parties is created. This makes it possible to use integration to open up backend systems that require transformations, reduce complexity to the outside world and reuse integrations.

It is also possible to shift part of the integration effort to the connecting party. After all, as an organization you offer a standard interface and catalog, to which external parties can connect. You can use your own standard, so you have to deliver less customization and can easily manage your environment. You only need to arrange API access, which you can perform centrally on the API gateway. This allows you to organize your organization more efficiently and gives you the opportunity to change your data supply more quickly.

Enable your development team

In short, you can realize the following benefits with the self-service API layer:

  1. Being able to connect parties in your supply chain more efficiently to already published API’s.
  2. Support development teams with full focus on their own domain and expertise.
  3. Reducing lead time for integration development.
  4. Better registration and maintainability of already published API’s.

The eMagiz integration platform offers you the above beneftis and more. Are you curious how this can help your organization? Do not hesitate to reach out to us!

By Leo Bekhuis, Software Engineer @ eMagiz