IntroductionSince the early days of Internet companies have been sharing information using a variety of channels, such as websites, Apps and email. In order to reduce cost and increase efficiency, companies needed to move on to a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), which provides the right information at the right time to the customer. Most modern companies already use this kind of IT architecture within their organization and with suppliers. In order to go to the next level of competitiveness you need data and functional exposure from all your key systems in a secured way.
Oracle API Management is used to manage this exposure. It will create one portal with API’s from which you will be able to reach all necessary information from all of your systems, again in a secured way. This greatly reduces the complexity of your IT architecture and allows you to oversee and better integrate with internal and external systems.
The Oracle API manager is part of the Oracle API solution just as the Oracle API Gateway and the Oracle Service Bus. The gateway is to secure the API and the service bus to create the different services. The full Oracle API solution will be discussed in a later blog.
Business advantagesOracle API Management allows you to manage and secure your API’s, but what does this really mean for your business? The main three business advantages of Oracle API Management are listed and explained below:
· Increased integration between internal systems
· Supply chain integration with customers and suppliers
· Providing digital exposure opportunities
The first point, increased integration of internal systems focuses on the improved administration of the internal landscape. This is reached by extracting data from one system and providing it to one another. As API’s can be created for nearly all systems this data can be easily exposed internally to other systems. This way systems can easily enrich each other without any copy-pasting between systems. This will greatly reduce the time spent on administrative tasks.
The main reason why people should use the Oracle API manager is to integrate with suppliers and customers. When you are fully integrated with your suppliers you will be able to automate large parts of the supplier related processes. This obviously goes both ways. You can provide your supplier the information directly into his systems and you will receive the information back in a way you can import it into your systems automatically. This reduces cost on both sides and will create a strategic advantage over all your competitors who don’t have an automated supply chain. This way you can increase efficiency; reduce cost and a reach higher process quality. As the API’s Oracle API Management provides can be generic in setup, they can be used for multiple suppliers so you don’t need a different API for every customer. On the other hand if you do need different information for different suppliers the API Management can be used to manage, monitor and secure these API’s.
Last but certainly not least Oracle API Management can provide business information to parties unknown yet. This may sound quite strange but by providing API’s to the world can give you lots of exposure. The app market is booming and IT startups are more common than ever. Providing open data you create to these companies might just get you lots of customers. Restaurant chains could for example provide an API that displays location and pricing information or they could even accept orders using API’s. This can create a significant advantage over all other restaurants. In above image is shown how many API calls per day big companies receive. This unmistakably indicates how important API’s can be for a company.
FunctionalityHopefully it’s clear by now that Oracle API Management can really change the way you do business. In this paragraph I will explain the key features that Oracle API Management provides you with. The main three key features are:
· Easy API Management
· Security (API gateway)
· API Catalog
The main functionality Oracle API Management provides you is, of course, the creation, editing and managing of API’s. This is done using an easy to understand interface that empowers developers to create business value for your organization.
Security is of course also very important when exposing services to external parties. The security of Oracle API Management is managed by the Oracle API Gateway which guarantees that API’s can’t be used in ways they aren’t meant to. Oracle API Gateway allows you to manage transport-level security, message-level security, SAML, fine-grained authentication, Identity Management and more.
Another great functionality is the API catalog which provides you with enterprise visibility of all API’s. This will empower your business to spot opportunities to integrate systems and will allow developers to easy integrate your systems. The API catalog also provides you the ability to track, provide feedback and do automated introspection of API’s.
Businesses and technology evolve continuously and Oracle API management can be that IT thing that provides your business a strategic advantage over your competitors. This increased competitiveness is reached by increasing efficiency, better alignment with suppliers and customers and increased digital exposure. In our next blog we will discuss the full Oracle API Solution and how the Oracle API Manager, Oracle API Gateway and Oracle Service Bus work together.
Jeroen van Essen - Oracle Process Cloud lead
As an Oracle Fusion Middleware expert I help clients gain strategic advantage by improving processes and innovation. My key interest areas include Business Process Management, Cloud, Business Intelligence and Agile development. I have experience in the utilities, rail, banking and public market.