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It Takes Well-Functioning APIs to Keep Digital Transformation on Track


The integration and flow of information delivered by APIs is key to enabling long-term strategies that make any business work properly.

APIs are integral to digital transformation – however, developing and deploying these interfaces only makes sense when there’s a tangible business goal at the end.

That’s the word from Mike Amundsen, noted expert on digital transformation and author of Continuous API Management, speaking at DevPartner. “APIs and transformation only make sense if they’re improving your relationship with your customers, improving your bottom line, improving your ability and your team’s ability to creatively solve problems,” he said. “APIs for API’s sake is just not worth it. It could be very expensive. It’s not something you want to jump into unless it’s actually giving you some great benefits.”

The API lifecycle follows four phases, Amundsen explained: performance imperative, architecting, monitoring, and managing. API initiatives should start with looking at the performance imperative, which focuses on providing the ability to effectively “ meet customers’ demands, meet their expectations, and be where customers want to be.”

See also: API-First Companies are Entering Their Renaissance

“As enterprises adopt more APIs, so we need to prepare for API volumes to go up and transaction time to go down,” added. “The real key here is to improve the technology that you have and your ability to meet the demands of your consumers. That means re-architecting things differently, thinking about how services can be redesigned and redeployed in smaller units, and re-engineering the data so that it’s where it needs to be. That means staging copies and keeping those copies in line and in sync. It means rethinking how you use networks. Networks add distance, so we need to add other things, like cached copies, placed servers, all these other things, in order to make sure that you’re architecting for the performance that you need.”

Once an API is up and running, Amundsen continued, “you need to be monitoring not just your infrastructure, not just your CPUs and your memory and your machines, but you need to be monitoring the success of your individual services, and how they interact with each other, how they interact with customers and how your business metrics fit in.”

That has implications for how that API is supported moving forward, he said. “Which of these services is worth doing a version two? ‘This service doesn’t offer us any more revenue, and this service does – I’m going to invest my next version into this service, and we’ll just leave this one alone. I’ll just maintain that service as is.’”

See also: Are Industry-Specific APIs the New Norm?

The key is to continuously monitor and assess how well APIs are delivering business value and the supportive resources required. It’s all about “monitoring what’s going on inside your organization to help you make decisions about what’s the best effect,” Amundson said. The result of the integration and flow of information delivered by APIs is key to enabling greater insight, problem-solving, and anticipation, “which are long-term strategies that make a difference, that make any business work properly.”

This is where well-functioning APIs are making a difference, he added. Corporate insight, problem-solving, and anticipation “used to happen with just a small collection of people in boardrooms with lots of reports and lots of paperwork. Now, it’s starting to happen in real time in organizations in dashboards. Now, it can happen with hundreds and hundreds of your own employees, who are looking at the same dashboards, who are able to anticipate, who are able to solve problems even before executives even know about them. That’s what a digitally transformed organization does. It unleashes not only the value in the monetary value inside your company, but unleashes the creative value, the collaborative possibilities inside your organization.”


About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor and industry analyst focusing on artificial intelligence, digital, cloud and Big Data topics. His work also appears in Forbes an Harvard Business Review. Over the last three years, he served as co-chair for the AI Summit in New York, as well as on the organizing committee for IEEE's International Conferences on Edge Computing. (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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