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How API-Led Connectivity Addresses Digital Transformation Challenges

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Jul 25, 2018

In the early stages of a digital transformation initiative, there are many decisions to make, including which new technologies to implement, what applications should be moved to the cloud, and what processes should be redesigned.

However, many organizations find that the further they go in their transformation planning process, the more they realize they need to connect.

Everything as a Service (XaaS), the Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile require effective integration for you to get the most out of your investments in your current systems and any new technologies you acquire. Also, achieving your business objectives often depends on connectivity and real-time communication between systems that previously existed in silos.

However, the traditional ways of integration won’t work for the rapidly-increasing number of endpoints and the constantly changing IT landscape. Adopting API-led connectivity and application networks helps organizations meet these challenges head-on, providing a critical enabler to digital transformation.  

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APIs vs EDI: Internal vs External Communications

By John Hawkins | Thu, Jun 07, 2018

In a previous post, APIs vs EDI: Complementary, Not Competitive, I shared my perspectives on the evolution of APIs along with EDI.  I'm going to expand on this topic with the idea that agile methodologies may have more to do with the current proliferation of API Management than the usurping of EDI. 

Let's be clear…EDI is most certainly here to stay for a long time to come. I've read many articles and debates on this subject but, for me, what it comes down to are those well-known business interchanges. 

We can't just ignore the fact that EDI has evolved to where it is today because business needs well-known formats so that they can communicate with each other in a standardized manner. APIs, at the moment, simply don't have those standardized formats. When a company creates an externally-facing API they are, today, writing their own business interchange format (i.e. trying to reproduce an EDI interchange).

Now, that's fine, however, if each company is going to create its own format then communication between companies is going to revert back to being a spaghetti mess of protocols. This is exactly what EDI was meant to overcome, and why EDI has been so successful for so many years.

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API Management Best Practices: Create and Facilitate Communities

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Apr 26, 2018

As discussed in our previous post on API Management Fundamentals, the success of an API initiative is dependent on much more than developing great APIs. One of the most important components of a successful API program is diligent monitoring and measurement.

Performance metrics—such as the number of downloads, uptime, and amount of use—help gauge the success of your API with hard numbers. They can alert you to problems from the outset. For example, you may notice a steep drop in data flow that can indicate a bug in the API.

The metrics may also help pinpoint misuse of the API, such as excessive requests for certain data. Ideally, you will provide unique API tokens for users, which will identify who is making calls to your API. An API Management platform can provide these insights and capabilities.

While this is all very important information, the primary focus of these metrics is on trends and usage patterns. These metrics don’t help to determine precisely how to improve APIs for users, fix the problems they may be encountering, or identify the functionality they would like to see. Without a means to capture this feedback from users, the success of the API program may be hindered, and companies miss out on tremendous opportunities. 

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API Management Fundamentals: View APIs as Products, Not Projects

By Lori Angalich | Tue, Apr 03, 2018

If you build the API, they will come…and then what? Building an API doesn’t stop at releasing the API. While an API is not a piece of software in the traditional sense, API management is critical to ensure that it is helping your organization meet its intended goals.

An API needs the proper controls in place, as well as routine maintenance and monitoring to make sure it’s operating the way it was envisioned. Issues that crop up can be dealt with before they become big problems. Additionally, managing and monitoring the API can help determine ROI and provide valuable user information that helps your organization optimize the API for its audience.

According to an Enterprise Management Associates survey on the API economy, most organizations use API gateways and platforms as their primary methods of tracking API transactions. Additionally, almost half of the companies surveyed have created a dedicated API Manager role within the organization, often under the IT umbrella.

This has become necessary as most of the companies surveyed are delivering and managing dozens of APIs to both providers and consumers. 

The API process is a lifecycle, and that requires ongoing testing, upgrades, and post-deployment support, among other services.  Let’s explore some the basics around managing APIs.

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APIs in Action: How Innovative Companies Leverage APIs

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Mar 15, 2018

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are changing the ways companies do business. From integrating deeply with legacy backend systems to pulling in new data sources, organizations are finding new uses for existing data—and with it, more opportunities for revenue.

As the Internet of Things (IoT), omnichannel strategy, and hybrid cloud continue to evolve, APIs will be the glue that holds systems together and the key that simultaneously unlocks the door to opportunity.

Many organizations are looking to APIs to solve their integration challenges and move toward a more digital organization. According to MuleSoft’s Connectivity Benchmark Report, 72 percent of enterprises already have an API strategy−and generating revenue is the top priority.  

As your organization moves forward with its own API strategy, it may help to draw inspiration from some of the most forward-thinking companies already leveraging APIs to better serve customers, employees, and partners—including the world’s most popular music streaming service, a logistics company that needed to serve a new market efficiently, and a retailer that needed to create better in-store and online experiences for customers.

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API Basics for Business: What They Are And Why They're Important

By Lori Angalich | Tue, Feb 20, 2018

With all the chatter about digital transformation and digital economy, application programming interfaces (APIs) have moved into the spotlight. As organizations are striving to transform by connecting their disparate systems, adding new capabilities on top of legacy software, and expanding into new channels, geographies, and business models—APIs can help solve integration challenges and enable organizations to focus on growing the business…not on IT issues.

APIs can open up numerous business opportunities and play a critical role in a company’s digital strategy. However, many enterprises aren’t leveraging them effectively to make their data stores and applications more accessible—and are therefore missing out on opportunities to serve internal and external customers better.

Also, this can mean missing out on significant revenue opportunities. The 2017 MuleSoft Connectivity Benchmark Report reports that over 50 percent of companies surveyed already are making money from their APIs or plan to in the near future. Additionally, 80 percent of large companies—those with over 10,000 employees—already make more than $5 million a year from APIs. If your organization doesn’t have an API strategy, it’s time to look at what APIs are and what they can do for you. Let’s explore this.

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API Management 101: A Functional Overview

By John Hawkins | Thu, Jun 22, 2017

API Management is a hot topic at the moment. Many have heard about it and have seen the flurry of products that have been introduced into the market in recent years. However, when speaking with our customers, it's clear to me that many do not know exactly what all the elements are that make up API Management. This can lead to a lack of understanding of the architecture and sometimes the benefits of API Management for their business. To help address this, we have created this post to help break down API Management into its constituent parts and help you see how your organisation might benefit.

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Real-Time Information Delivery in the Logistics Industry

By Lightwell | Wed, Mar 08, 2017

Logistics companies are constantly under pressure to deliver newer and more competitive services. Their customers have high expectations, drawn from experiences with online services such as Amazon, regarding the information they expect, and how they expect to receive it.

As we all know, the supply chain is already under immense pressure, and providing real-time order information can prove a headache in certain areas such as in-transit and customs.

Traditionally, these information requests have been managed using Web Services and EDI, but there are issues. EDI is great for interactions that trigger business processes, such as order and purchase order transactions, or initiating returns. However, when it comes to “secondary” interactions such as “where’s my order?” using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to make those calls is faster to set up and execute than Web Services or EDI.

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Lifesaving, Real-Time Information Sharing in Health and Life Sciences

By Lightwell | Fri, Aug 19, 2016

Recently IBM teamed up with Pfizer to set up real-time patient monitoring for those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

While clearly this involves a heavy dose of the Internet of Things, using devices such as sensors, mobile devices and machines, getting the resulting data to the correct medical person is crucial. 

Historically, once that information had been sent to the data collection point, whether that be a hospital data center or a third party, web services would then be used to access it for further human or automatic processing. Web services are great established enterprise communication pathways, however APIs can be enabled no matter what the size of the asset or location capability.

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The Case for API Management Over Web Services

By John Hawkins | Thu, Aug 11, 2016

Back in the day, Web Services were the de facto standard for accessing "systems of record." Out of this grew the secured ESB architecture that is synonymous with enterprise architecture.

More and more, projects are utilising API Management in those architectures now and pushing on Web Services' door.

In this blog, I'll explain why social factors—as much as technical onesare enabling API Management to make inroads into 'traditional' SOA architectures. I'll also show that API Management is much more than the "API Economy."

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