[Article] Six Business Benefits of API Management

  • By WSO2 Team
  • 19 Feb, 2017

APIs are the key foundation of digital transformation that allows you to expose your business functionality in order to unlock the true value of your digital assets, create business agility and promote innovation and collaboration.

According to Forrester’s Global Business Technographics® Developer Survey, 20161 48% of enterprises are currently using APIs internally and 15% are planning to by mid-2017. Not far behind, 40% are using APIs externally and 17% are planning to within the next 12 months.

With this increased use of APIs, API management solutions have become a key component of a digital business’ success and is central to managing the relationship between API providers and API users.

Create a flexible and dynamic ecosystem

When digitally transforming you need to create an ecosystem that promotes flexibility, adaptability, agility and innovation. This means that your technology, processes and people (customers, partners, employees, etc.) need to work together.

APIs are the critical link within this ecosystem. It connects your stakeholders with your back-end services and allows new capabilities to be built on them. You need to adopt an API management solution that allows you to design, create, publish, and manage APIs to give your enterprise the business agility it requires.

Increase agility by rapidly creating new digital assets

In order to digitally transform you need to create an ecosystem that is agile and easily adaptable. You need to be able to quickly create new services, either from scratch or by combining existing services and make sure your customer is getting what they need.

You can think of your APIs as composable digital assets that leverage the services you offer and exposes them to your users. Because of the composable nature of APIs, you can achieve this agility by piecing your assets together to create innovative solutions that meet evolving business requirements.

Your API management solution needs to enable you to design and publish APIs in an iterative manner while giving you full control of the API lifecycle. This helps you to reduce time spent on creating your APIs and helps you deliver your services much faster. You can even orchestrate and combine services into one API to build a solution. When you want to enhance your API but don’t want to affect the customers already using it, you need to be able to create versions of the API.

Leverage the value of your existing legacy systems

You may have existing legacy systems that are deeply embedded into your enterprise that you have already spent a lot of money, time and effort on. Digitally transforming does not mean that you need to get rid of this infrastructure.

By making your legacy systems API-accessible, you can leverage their capabilities and use them for your new solutions. APIs allow you to hide the complexities of a legacy system and simply expose their functionality to external and internal stakeholders.

API management solutions help overcome the challenges of exposing certain services of your legacy systems by translating outdated security protocols to standard, modern and user-friendly protocols. It also optimizes your APIs by translating complex data output by your existing systems into simpler message formats and protocols. You can even orchestrate and combine your back-end services to create one functionality and expose it as a single API.

Make data-driven decisions through business insights

You need to understand your business and how your customers interact with it in order to make informed decisions. When you know what your customer wants, you’ll know how to change your business strategy to provide for those demands. Understanding how your APIs are being used helps you gain this business insight. It lets you adapt your system for the future. That is why you need to analyze all the data you receive from your APIs

Your API management solution should allow you to learn more about your API consumers, such as usage patterns, device types, and geographical locations through its analytics component. API Analytics gives you the information you need so you can improve the customer experience you offer and make strategic business decisions.

Create a seamless user experience for your customers

With the evolution of technology and the reliance on mobile devices and social channels, your customers expect to easily access your services at their fingertips. You need to ensure that your services are available at any time on multiple platforms, especially those that your users are active on.

You can use APIs to make your services easily accessible on channels that your customers regularly interact with, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, chatbots, virtual reality or anything with an interface. Make sure to be present in any new platforms whenever they emerge to ensure a future-proof solution.

An API management solution will make your APIs highly visible and consumable and allow your customers to access your services anywhere and at anytime. It should even allow your APIs to be accessed by external developers ensuring collaboration that contributes to the growth of your API, and makes sure that the needs of the users are quickly met.

Protect your brand from security threats

When exposing critical business functionality to your customers, security should be one of your biggest priorities. Anyone can exploit vulnerabilities or security flaws in your system, and a key point of entry can be through your APIs.

API security ensures that your digital business is protected from both internal and external threats. Securing API transaction should be as critical as securing credit card transactions.

Your API management solution should use de-facto standards for API security. You should be able to control the levels of access each application type has and combine user authentication between different identity providers to make sure all IDs are fully verified. You should also be able to detect anomalies, threats and fraud in real-time, ensuring quick action against any risks.

Today, WSO2 serves as a trusted technology partner for some of the world’s largest enterprises engaging in digital transformation initiatives. The company provides software purposely designed to meet today’s demands for an agile approach to API management, integration, identity and access management, smart analytics, and IoT.

WSO2 API Management serves customers in many industries ranging from healthcare, telecommunication, eCommerce, risk management and more.

[1] Vendor Landscape: API Management Solutions, October 2016, Forrester https://www.forrester.com/report/Forresters+Global+Business+Technographics+Developer+Survey+2016+Overview/-/E-RES136153