by Tony Harris
• March 24, 2021
As stakeholders in more organizations look toward digital transformation strategies, they need to take a closer look at how to modernize their software. An overhaul of an IT system can be expensive and risky, even if the results pay off. What is not often examined however is the role of APIs in supporting enterprise IT transformation initiatives. Read on to learn how an API can solve some of the issues encountered during large scale modernization efforts and how they can take your organization to the next level.
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The modern business uses a lot of apps and handles more data than ever. Nowhere is this more true than in an enterprise. But all of these apps and microservices need to integrate somehow, or else you’re left with disorganized workflows.
Point to point integration just doesn’t cut it. If you’re working with three apps, you also have three connections to maintain. But add more apps to the mix, and the connections add up fast. Four apps to manage also means six connections, and the numbers skyrocket from there. Imagine the point-to-point connections you’d need with an average of 129 apps per company. It’s a mess.
Enterprises traditionally solved this problem by implementing enterprise application integration, or EAI. This was a piece of middleware that acted as a central connection point for all integrated apps. All the functionality you needed was kept in a single location called a “broker.” It drastically lowered the number of connections an enterprise needed to maintain and provided a scalable alternative to point-to-point integration.
But the EAI also made for a single point of failure in what could be a massive technological ecosystem. This choke point in an enterprise system added to business risk by increasing complexity and reducing visibility. They also had compatibility issues inherent in proprietary software.
The Enterprise Service Bus (or ESB) presented itself as a newer EAI model seeking to solve some of these issues. Instead of one broker component handling all integrations, ESBs used multiple components and grouped them in more efficient ways, taking the pressure off of a single point. It also left room to add new functionalities like streamlined messaging, error handling and security transactions. But this still didn’t go far enough.
Effectively deploying APIs is the modern solution to software integration. Application programming interfaces operate on a similar principle to EAI software by enabling integration between internal systems. But it also expands on this idea by allowing for integration with legacy systems and removing the restrictions of proprietary software. With an internal API, an enterprise can become truly composable and cherry-pick the apps and functionalities that it desires.
Enterprises can also take advantage of open APIs from other organizations, integrating their existing data and services into the enterprise’s own business model. Or they can benefit twofold from their own new API with monetization. This collaboration is nothing new. Use cases include popular rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, both of which heavily use GPS data from Google Maps API. They wouldn’t have gotten off the ground as quickly had they harvested the data themselves. Both the API consumers and Google benefit from this arrangement, and future enterprises can do the same by creating their own public APIs. There are open APIs available from thousands of companies such as Amazon, the Associated Press, Google Cloud, The Weather Channel and more. ESBs just don’t have this functionality.
This could be your enterprise. Could APIs support your enterprise IT transformations? Learn how to build your own full-featured, documented and secure enterprise API instantly. Sign up for your 14-day free trial and use your existing database to get started. No code and low code options are available.
DreamFactory has a number of product tiers, including one that is designed specifically for enterprises. Along with the same API management system of smaller product packages, the enterprise edition comes with a few new features and allows for HIPAA, GDPR and PCI compliance where applicable. It also comes with support for several enterprise connectors including Oracle, Redshift and Snowflake.
If you’re using a SOAP web service and would like to update, we can convert that to a full-featured, secure and documented REST API in minutes. Our API development experts have success with clients all over the world in businesses of all sizes across all industries: financial services, healthcare, government and more. Our solution has proven to be a capable platform in providing an option to leverage the utility of APIs in support of enterprise IT.
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