John Falklis the General Manager of Technical Strategy and Integration at Haddon Hill Group Associates, an IBM Premier Business Partner. Prior to that, John was the IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO of SOA and Application Services Governance at IBM. John has 35 years of experience across all roles in Information Technology. John specializes in SOA, Enterprise Architecture, Middleware and now enabling API Management.
By now, you have probably been exposed to a lot of information regarding API Management. However, there's still a significant amount of confusion surrounding API Management: What it is and why it's important? In fact, it's easy to become confused as to how API Management relates to and differs from SOA.
API Management, like SOA, are both service-oriented approaches, that is managing consumer and provider relationships. We've seen service orientation evolve over the past 15 years, dating back to RPC (remote procedure call) and CORBA/IIOP, so API Management should be seen as the next step in the evolution of service orientation.
There are several perspectives to consider API Management. Simply put, API Management is focused on monetizing value locked up in existing business functions by exposing those functions (in the service sense) to expand the business.
The value of API Management ultimately is the monetization of business functions. In essence, it means taking carefully chosen business functions and exposing them (internally, externally, or to a limited audience) so that others (internal teams, clients, partners) can leverage them.
Advantage of API Management model
There are several advantages to this model:
- It extends your business model by providing core capabilities to partners and allowing them to consume your business functions. This expands your business by opening up new and different routes to market and helps partners by alleviating the need for them to build those core functions.
- It provides your business with a potential annuity revenue stream for APIs consumed depending on the business model you choose for your APIs.
- It allows you to market your business functions as products, thereby driving awareness of your key capabilities.
- It creates business dependencies for others on your 'platform' of APIs.
Key successful implementation factors
To implement APIs successfully, you should:
- Identify, document and optimize your business processes.
- Establish processes for business function identification, ownership, funding, analytics, reporting and investment processes.
- Build business APIs in a modular fashion, with the right level of granularity, so that the functions can be reused or composed into higher-level business functions.
- Catalog important information about those APIs, such as how to access them, what the terms and conditions of usage are, what security requirements exist for the API, etc.
- Establish an integration and mediation framework, so that APIs can be called dynamically based on policies and business parameters.
- Enforce policies that make your APIs secure and reliable.
- Track and analyze usage statistics, access information, performance data, etc., so as to ensure APIs are readily available, pertinent and return business value.
- Manage the APIs within portfolios, thereby distributing business decision making responsibility, as well as guiding where to invest, how to maximize business return and how to make your business more agile.
- Market your APIs to the correct audiences (developers, business partners, customers, etc.).
API Management takes a very community oriented approach to exposing business function. A major key to success with APIs is the marketing and socialization of APIs so they attract the right audience. Another important aspect of success with APIs is the ability to drive significant consumption of an API, thereby driving a fruitful dependency on the use of APIs, thus assuring the success of the business model using that API.
API Management is the hottest area of IT at the moment. Check out the IBM Redbooks publication on IBM API Management (see the link below).
For IBM API Management related blog posts, see:
For IBM API Management Redbooks publication, see:
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