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Understanding App Connect Enterprise as an API Microgateway

By John Hawkins | Thu, Apr 11, 2019

One of IBM's best-known secrets is that they have two solutions that can act as API Management microgateways.

This is a short post to highlight the various ways that you can expose APIs using IBM products and, in particular, the IBM App Connect Enterprise (formerly IIB) microgateway functionality.

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Want a 360-Degree View of Your Customers? Look to APIs.

By Lori Angalich | Tue, Feb 05, 2019

It’s no secret that customers want a connected, on-demand experience—but companies often fall short of delivering on those expectations.

According to the Consumer Connectivity Insights 2018 report, 81 percent of consumers are frustrated with what they perceive to be a disconnected experience, and more than two-thirds of consumers say a disconnected experience would make them consider switching service providers.

Part of this may be because 65 percent of consumers also want to interact with companies via messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but a large part of the disconnected experience is because companies don’t have a 360-degree view of the customer.

The research found that less than 10 percent of companies have a 360-degree view of the customer. They only have access to a fraction of customer information in real-time, which not only hampers customer service levels but also makes it challenging to create personalized Web and mobile interfaces, applications and other tailored experiences for their customers.

However, organizations often face challenges when attempting a 360-degree view of the customer, usually due to their current IT architecture. Manual aggregation is too time-consuming and doesn’t deliver data in real-time. The data changes quickly, making it difficult to process in a timely fashion. Their static data lakes are not flexible enough to allow companies to get the most from their data, and integrations can be complex and brittle due to the number of disparate systems and the data silos they create.

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6 Shocking Truths About the Real Costs of Data Breaches

By Lightwell | Wed, Jan 09, 2019

After its massive data breach, Equifax estimated that its related costs would total $439 million by the end of 2018—but the real costs could be upwards of $600 million after dealing with government investigations and civil lawsuits. While this could be the most expensive data breach in history, the sheer volume of records drove up the costs exponentially.

Data breaches are costlier than most people think—and the cost keeps on growing. The 2018 study Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach Study found that the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, an increase of 6.4% over 2017.  According to the overall findings from the study, data breaches continue to be costlier and result in more records being stolen year after year.  And no matter the size of a company, records are at risk.

Data breaches are the most expensive in the US and Canada, averaging $233 and $202 per capita, respectively, according to the Ponemon Institute. While cost fluctuates across industries and countries, the number clearly shows a dire truth: data breaches cut significantly into a company’s profits, often deeply.

But the real cost of data breaches goes much deeper than just the data lost; factors at play include missed opportunities, lost customers, and costs associated with remediating the data breach. In addition, certain factors like third-party involvement can increase the cost of data breaches. Let’s explore some of the additional costs.

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3 Ways Financial Services Companies Are Capitalizing on APIs

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Jan 03, 2019

While some financial institutions may not be known for being on the cutting edge of innovation, several powerful forces have been driving the need for digital transformation, the development of new products and services, and more compelling customer experiences in the financial services industry.

Market conditions like an uncertain economy and increasing regulations, combined with increased customer expectations and agile new entrants to the market, have led financial institutions to move forward with digital initiatives to help be on the leading edge of technology.

However, this has not come without its pains. Business leaders are under pressure to deliver digital transformations faster, along with reduced costs. IT leaders must deliver increased volumes of projects, remove IT as the bottleneck to innovation, and move the focus of the department from keeping the business running to growing the business. Application architects face pressure to incorporate new digital technologies into legacy stacks (including the trusty mainframes) in an agile, flexible way to avoid creating brittle integrations that require constant maintenance. The IT department is being called upon to drive change.

At first glance, traditional, point-to-point integrations may seem like the most logical choice to link together disparate systems and provide access for customers and partners. However, these types of integrations are time-consuming, very system-dependent, and costly to maintain. Each additional system requires new coding and connections, and when the system needs an upgrade, developers and architects are left scrambling to ensure the code is compatible with the upgrade.

Is there a better way than this duct-tape approach?  Leading financial services institutions have already discovered it: APIs. With an API-led integration approach, these institutions are improving their expense to revenue ratios, attracting and retaining customers, and responding rapidly to industry threats. Furthermore, their API Management solutions provide important connectivity, security, and change management capabilities to meet the needs of line of business users, customers, and partners.

In this post, we’ll explore three real-life examples of financial services companies leveraging APIs and the advantages they have achieved.

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How to Choose the Right API Management Platform for You

By John Hawkins | Fri, Nov 30, 2018

Many of our customers are currently deciding which API Management Platform to use in their organization. With so many of them to choose from and a confusion of terminology, this is not an easy task.

I see RFPs with long lists of criteria, but I often think that the choice should be based on some other, softer, questions.

I'll outline here some thought processes I use to help our customers choose which API Platform is right for them.

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API Security: More Than Just a Throttling Policy

By John Hawkins | Fri, Oct 26, 2018

API Management promises a nirvana of exposing and securing data using well-known and simple techniques. Vendors focus on how easy it is to create the APIs and nearly always mention security as part of their API lifecycle story.  

Yet, we've all seen the headlines screaming the latest security breach. So, what does “Security” really mean when it comes to API Management? 

In this post I’ll try to differentiate the basic policies that all vendors discuss from the many other attack vectors that we need to be aware of. 

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Why Successful Digital Transformation Requires Integration and APIs

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Sep 19, 2018

Digital Transformation Is a Must

Digital transformation is on the minds of many senior business executives. They realize that digital transformation can no longer be discussed in the abstract; it must be a part of their business strategies and goals.

According to research firm Gartner, most CEOs understand the importance of digital business, and half of those surveyed expect to see digital transformation in their industries. The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and autonomous transportation all played a role in their responses.

More immediately, mobile and omnichannel are necessary capabilities for moving ahead of the competition. Businesses are under an increasing demand to delight consumers with unique experiences, as well as providing employees and partners with immediate access to useful data. That can’t be done without integrating new systems and touchpoints with legacy systems and data stores.  We'll explore the importance of integration and APIs in this post. 

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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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