What does API Management mean for Your Business?
When it comes to a digital economy, digital technologies are reshaping the development of new products and services by creating new ways for businesses to interact with their customers.
Organizations all over the world are adopting API strategies to respond to the ever changing needs and demands of their customers. However, these demands are not free from challenges. Customers today are facing issues such as ensuring the availability of data in legacy systems, unstructured landscape of APIs; lack of common data structures and making it all come together API catalogues.
The solution to these challenges is not always easy and can be a problem for your business. Thankfully, we have API management to address some of the issues for us.
WHAT IS AN API?
Application programming interfaces (API) refers to exposed functionalities from a system utilizing open standards, which can then easily be called by other systems.
Managing APIs allows organizations to ensure their practices are in compliance with the corporate policies. It also ensures governance through appropriate level of security.
API MANAGEMENT – CORE COMPONENTS
API involves various components that shape the way digital interactions take place. Brokers provide a unified means of gathering and distributing credentials to an API based on multiple sources of authentication.
Gateways are programming services that make it easy for developers to create and publish APIs.
Developer portals are the face of API program for consumers and third-party developers. It is an interface that provides consumers to learn, discover and use your APIs.
API MANAGEMENT LIFECYCLE
APIs go through many stages and cycles in their lifetime. Lifecycles involve the time period from creation to retirement. It provides a means to manage the relevant aspects in each stage and to transition from one stage to another.
Here are some stages involved in the API management life cycle.
- Idea generation
In idea generation stage, the API manager develops and plans the lists of APIs, API designs, visibility and scope of API.
In the creation field, the plans and ideas are used to create APIs as part of the development process.
This stage lists security risks and concerns involved in releasing your APIs.
Documentation is created for consumers to have access to the APIs. Stable and reusable codes for APIs are used to accelerate builds.
In this phase, tests are conducted to ensure functional performance.
Before the publishing phase, APIs undergo a few design configurations. The designs are tested and published on a private DevPortal.
After the APIs are tested, they are published to provide access to designers.
Now that your APIs are published, you can promote them through various platforms such as API Marketplace.
- Plan retirement
In retirement stage, a version of API or API itself is discontinued due to security concerns or technological changes.
- Manage and observe
In this stage you can manage and monitor your APIs that are in production. Though careful monitoring of the usage and functionality of the API, it is possible to reap valuable input for further development of the platform and the individual API’s.
An essential element of API Management includes API governance. Organizations use APIs to provide governed interaction with external partners or information providers. API management is important because it enables organizations and developers to scale, analyze and govern the APIs.
APIs are a great way to improve and facilitate the usage of technological devices. Mobile devices are one example where users can effectively engage with applications. Developers use API Management to create innovative and rich applications that improve the mobile user experience and facilitate business processes.
WHY USE API MANAGEMENT?
API management has become a growing necessity in today’s increasingly digital eco system. It provides security, analytics, and monetization for your business.
API management allow organizations to gain visibility in their API programs through innovative and complex designs. Opening APIs to business partners allows the opportunity to innovate, solve problems and improve business processes.
Unlocks new business opportunities
APIs allows businesses to create ecosystems where others can contribute to the business. The contributions can result in efficient ideas that will help build transformational systems and enabling closer linkage with business partners.
One of the key aspects of API Management is, that it is possible to utilize it to generate revenue and will in essence build a new distribution channel. API monetization therefore allows you to create customized plans and charge for their usage.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Business and thought leaders are increasingly using API management in their business models to produce effective solutions.
Easy to do business with
APIs make your business approachable. If you have a functional API management system, customers will show more interest in adopting your services.
Loyal business partners
API management enables secure and effective business practices which help improve your brand loyalty.
Microservices practice allow processes to be independently deployed to serve a specific business purpose. APIs will help deliver microservices to key business stakeholders – both internally and externally.
Customer experience is essential in the API management process. APIs respond to frequent and rapid changes in customer demands and needs. The process aims to provide improved customer experience and support for your business.
APIs are created, promoted, and published in a secure and scalable environment. Scalable designs are extensible and do not limit functionality in your business process.
API management systems also include functionality which helps avoid security issues and vulnerabilities. Built-in functionality includes traffic control and authentication mechanisms ensuring optimal controlled access to your systems – both on premise and in the cloud.
How to do it?
If you find API Management interesting and relevant for your organization, we at INVIXO would like to help you initiate your API Management journey and help you create your digital foundation.
The below illustration shows the process of how we at INVIXO approach API Management. It is essential to initiate the process with a series of workshops to identify and define your needs and preferences regarding the API Management landscape in your organization. Therefore, we offer to initiate with a kick-off discussing and agreeing on how the series of workshops should be structured, to identify your existing challenges and needs before diving into the API Management journey. Ensuing the kick-off, the next step is proper positioning of API Management from a business and technical perspective. It is therefore crucial to leverage relevant stakeholders, such as executive management, IT-personnel, etc. We find it essential for success to align the needs of the technical organization and the business organization to better position API Management and get relevant stakeholders onboard. The following topics from the illustration are as well relevant to succeed with API Management, the order is however determined in collaboration with you to match your preferences.