We are currently living in the middle of an age of extensive digital transformation. All around us, processes and services we have known for decades are changing, embracing new technologies and moving into more modern delivery mechanisms. Hospitals are extending care beyond the wards, media companies are distributing content digitally across multiple channels, and innovations are now driven by businesses not necessarily in the same offerings space. All of these changes have been reshaping our world, and in response, business and industry models are fighting to keep up.
But technology is the critical enabler of digital transformation. If you need proof, just look at Mobile and Cloud – both seen for years as trends that lay on the outer edges of deliverable technology – are now becoming essentials in our hyper-connected world. Similarly, the API, once seen as a tool for programmers, is providing a new route to market and a disintermediation of the value chain that supports it. If businesses want to stay relevant, they need to embrace this digital transformation and remain competitive. But such change isn’t easy and requires businesses to bring together several different technologies to work together in a single, seamless way. This connectivity is ultimately what will separate successful businesses from failures, and to ensure success, companies must embrace a new level of connectivity. This is where API lead integration comes in.
What is API lead integration?
To meet today’s needs there is a new construct, API-led connectivity, which builds on the central tenets of SOA, yet re-imagines its implementation for today’s unique challenges. API-led connectivity is an approach that defines methods for connecting and exposing your assets. The approach changes the way IT operates and promotes decentralised access to data and capabilities, while not compromising on governance. This is a journey that changes the IT operating model, and which enables the realisation of the ‘composable enterprise’, - an enterprise in which its assets and services can be leveraged independent of geographic or technical boundaries.
Benefits for the business:
IT as a platform – The self-service model is something that has become very popular over the recent years. Whether it’s being able to commission new desktops for VDI infrastructures or being able to order your meal from an interactive screen at McDonald’s – both the consumer and the business worlds are heading towards the self-service model. By opening up data assets as services to a broader audience, your IT can start to become a platform that allows other lines of the business to self-serve.
Increase developer productivity – Re-use is key to minimising duplication and ensuring a smoother, faster turnaround for work with similar overlapping sections. For developers, adopting an API-led connectivity approach married perfectly with a service-oriented approach that can increase their productivity hugely. By distilling logic into its constituent parts allows those parts to be re-used across different applications. This creates a unified approach and significantly cuts down duplicated efforts, allowing developers to instead focus on creating new elements and build on existing efforts. Re-use is also applicable in the context of business as processes and functions can be reused. For example, when integrating a legacy system using an API led approach, processes and data from the legacy system can be reused by connecting to the new world application such as mobile.
Safer predictable change – In complex IT infrastructures, small changes can often have a significant impact, particularly if that change is made to a database with substantial downstream influence. But by ensuring a modularisation of integration logic and a logical separation of those modules, businesses can accurately estimate the effect of changes to the code, and provide effective delivery with minimal impact before starting the next section of the project. The alternative is a ‘big bang’ approach to modifying systems can leave companies open to risk of downtime across the system if the launch is unsuccessful.
Distributed & tailored approach – Unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to business connectivity architecture. By utilising an API led approach, connectivity can be addressed in small pieces and crafted to fit the business needs, allowing for minimal disruption and maximum functionality.
Greater agility – Within organisations IT architecture, different levels of governance are applicable. Typically, these are handled with a bimodal integration solution, which makes these levels explicit and carefully managed. But these methods are not all that flexible and can create communication problems. However, separate AI tiers allow a different level of governance and control to exist at each layer, making simultaneous loose-tight coupling possible.
Deeper operational visibility – With other connectivity approaches, there is a reasonably low limit on the amount of data you can collect in one go. Instead, collation processes are needed to gather information, which in turn creates a shallow level of visibility for your business. But with API led integration, you can enjoy end to end insights from receipt of the initial API request call to fulfilment of that request based on an underlying database query. You are also able to create granular reports for each step, and see a complete operational report at any time.
Benefits for the customer:
Relevance - Businesses who embrace digital transformation and the changes that go with it are far more likely to stay relevant and adaptable to their customer’s ever-changing needs, giving them a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Increased engagement - Digital advances are continually driving businesses to reframe their relationships with their customers, suppliers and employees. As these audiences adopt new technologies in their lives and businesses, they begin to demand a new level of connectivity that just can’t be achieved if your business is not keeping up with the latest integration approaches.
At Invenio, we work with businesses of all sizes to help them understand how integration could improve their business or how they can update their current integration approaches. Through an integration partnership with MuleSoft, we can offer the latest in API led integration solutions for your business. To find out more, just get in touch with one of our experts today.