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Building an API Integration Platform for your Digital Business Strategy

APIs Drive Your Digital Business

Technology is both driving strategic decision-making, with its ability to automate and simplify business processes, improve customer relationships, enhance productivity, monetize intellectual property, and reap cost savings.

According to IDG’s Digital Business Survey, 89% of enterprises have plans to adopt or have already adopted a digital-first business strategy.

The use of technology and sharing of data has far evolved since organizations existed within their four walls. Today’s connected world value has created a data economy and organizations that don’t adopt strategies to embrace information will be left behind. Unfortunately, implementing a digitization strategy has proven challenging and involves a plethora of increasingly complex day-to-day IT operations, which often involve thousands of applications, disparate user groups, unmanaged devices, and hybrid environments located in diverse locations. Application programming interfaces (APIs) have become the essential component to link data and automate communications for these organizations, enabling a structured format to acquire and distribute information to and from the digital identities that value it.

A Typical, Modern API Integration Example

The rise of APIs has created a data economy and new application architectures to capitalize on the wealth of information available. The days of a three-tier application architecture are gone and organizations are designing applications to leverage other applications and services both internal and external to the organization through APIs.

An example scenario would be to create a trip planning application. Desired features would be a traffic monitor, route planning, weather, scenery and places to see, parking, etc., but how many of those should be developed in-house? With the new API economy, it is more efficient, cost-effective, and timely to evaluate and pick the best provider services for the features needed while focusing on the UX/UI and providing the functions consumers demand.

The application user experience would now enable consumers to plan a journey that would avoid traffic hot spots, figure out when the best time to travel is, assess what the weather would be like at the chosen times, stop and see a famous historical statue, before arriving at their hotel while parking where it’s cheapest. Users could trawl the internet for this information – but they choose this app to type in a few details and get everything figured out for them.

Development times and infrastructure costs are a fraction of what they would be in a three-tiered application architecture. …and the ability to monetize the app’s functionality as an API provider is there as well! Maybe Uber would integrate the API into their own so passengers would have a choice in the scenery along their rented drive – or maybe this app would integrate with Uber to enable a ride to take consumers along their planned journey. Choices are no longer limited by resources.

Maybe your enterprise is looking for a way to provide programmatic access to all of your API enabled network equipment – on premise. SSH is so 2000. The appropriate API integration platform would enable this efficiently and securely. A digital business strategy demands an API integration strategy that enables your teams to provide the solutions your business demands. What are your use cases?

Legacy API Integration Chaos

As we’ve seen, APIs enable effective information sharing and the achievement of a digital transformation strategy. Unfortunately, integrating with APIs hasn’t always been as straightforward as you would expect. Earlier we mentioned “thousands of applications, disparate user groups, unmanaged devices, and hybrid environments located in diverse locations”. This “chaotic” API environment has led to the term “hybrid integration platform” (HIP) that is defined by four disparate integration platform technologies that fit different API use cases:

  • Legacy on-premises data integration platforms, such as ESBs
  • Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) enabling developers to consume APIs
  • API management platforms (APIM) enabling the publishing an organization’s APIs
  • Integration Software as a Service (iSaaS) which allows citizen integrator flows that allow automated consumption of data and then
  • Publishing it elsewhere

Gartner predicts that through 2020, integration work will account for 50% of the time and cost of building a digital platform. By 2022, they believe at least 65% of large organizations will have implemented an HIP to power their digital transformation – using technologies from multiple vendors.Unfortunately, the SmartBear The State of API Survey Report 2016 shows us that “easier integration between tools” is the second largest API challenge facing organizations after security – whether it is the business, operations, testing, or development.

Multiple vendors and API products don’t make integrations easier. And as a security guy, I can assure you that multiple products typically have an adverse effect on security. Our above example would use two of these technologies. Your organization most probably will need more. Maybe not today, but tomorrow for sure.

The aapi Way

Simply put, aapi was designed to combine the disparate hybrid integration platform technologies into a single, intuitive API solution where security is the foundation and not a feature. (More on aapi’s unique, advanced security in an upcoming blog…)

You really don’t want disparate API solutions. You need only one.

Try it today for free!