Separating API management from APIs

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Millions of cloud decks are already breathing life on the web, and unless a technical person clarifies it during preparation meetings, the terms API and API management are used interchangeably more often that they ought to be by people onboard.

Webster’s bounces back a three-part meaning for the word “management”

  1. The act or art of managing: the conducting or supervising of something (such as a business)
  2. Judicious use of means to accomplish an end
  3. The collective body of those who manage or direct an enterprise.

Pragmatically speaking, what is built must be managed – better sooner than later. Following up from my previous post on APIs, let us today talk about the buzz of API management. Speaking in the lingo of integrations, if APIs are the spokes of your business, then API management is the hub, carefully ensuring a uniform model of principles for all your APIs to follow.

As depicted, APIs follow a typical publish/consume model not new to the world of integration. API management caters to both these layers via a “mediate” layer, which enables key features such as security, governance, analytics, and monetization.

Security – Not everyone should have access to all your assets, and access cannot be unlimited, but must be charged either per transaction or within a quota. Authentication and authorization help control access to sensitive information such as data, content, services, and underlying systems while ensuring quotas per licensing model and fees.

Governance – API management portal connects developers and consumers while ensuring that APIs remain discoverable and reusable. Integration with CI/CD tools and documentation provides the needed DevOps inseam that no development project in this era should or can ignore.

Analytics – For an organization, the biggest benefit of investing in an API project is understanding the use of their existing APIs, running intelligent analytics on the gathered data, and discovering new streams of business to invest in for the future. Real-time reporting dashboards can pre-empt fixing of issues arising out of performance bottlenecks, reducing operational headache, and minimizing API downtime. For industries where uptime is of paramount importance (telecommunications, for example), this is a big boon.

Monetization – Productizing an organization’s assets (digital or otherwise) via tailored plans and licensing deals can not only drive additional streams of revenue but, in the long term, also enable a business transformation. Think about Google. While most of the world population still associates sit with a search engine, most business owners only think about Google as the company that owns data.

There are several competing products in this space to choose from; offerings from public cloud players such as AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform, to more specific players, such as APIGee, Layer7, and WS02. The decisions of the future cannot be taken without understanding the past, and in the world of APIs, this makes even more sense because your API management tool must be able to integrate not only with your APIs but also with your overall technology direction and more closer on the ground, with your DevOps platform of choice. Make an educated choice.

Want your business to ride the API wave? Reach out to me to initiate a discussion on Capgemini’s offer to help you surf.

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