APIs (application programming interfaces) are increasingly acting as the “missing link” to help organizations integrate all their systems, applications, and databases. So how can you take advantage of API integrations for yourself? The answer is API-led connectivity. In this basics of API-led connectivity guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know: What API-led connectivity is, the advantages of API-led connectivity, and how to implement API-led connectivity for your own business.

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What Is API-Led Connectivity?

API-led connectivity is a sustained, methodical, and organization-wide commitment to using APIs to integrate different technologies — helping workers access the data and applications they need and form new IT synergies.

Companies these days have more systems and information at their fingertips than ever before: relational and non-relational databases as well as streaming real-time data sources such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices and social media. The challenge, however, is to seamlessly integrate these third-party systems with your preexisting enterprise IT.

Before the rise of API-led connectivity, organizations would often build point-to-point connections between each pair of systems they wanted to integrate. Unfortunately, this was a time-consuming and technically challenging process — not to mention brittle, if the underlying systems ever change.

To achieve truly API-led connectivity, businesses need a dedicated API management platform that dramatically simplifies the API generation process. With API-led connectivity, organizations become more productive, efficient, agile, and flexible, able to quickly respond to changes in the broader enterprise IT landscape.

API-led connectivity is just a few clicks away with DreamFactory. With our free 14-day hosted trial, you’ll see just how easy it is to start building your own enterprise-grade APIs. Sign up today.

The Benefits of API-Led Connectivity

As discussed above, companies now have a smorgasbord of technology options to choose from: IoT, big data, mobile and edge computing, and more. Most of these sources, however, are poorly integrated (if they have any integrations at all).

When organizations commit themselves to API-led connectivity, they leave behind the fragile point-to-point integrations that have traditionally plagued their enterprise IT and can embrace the full suite of possibilities before them. Businesses that achieve API-led connectivity are said to be using an “API-led strategy.” The advantages of an API-led strategy include:

  • Building APIs that are composable and reusable, instead of delicate and time-intensive point-to-point connections that require long-term maintenance.
  • Leveraging new technologies such as microservices, IoT, and SaaS (software as a service) applications.
  • Breaking down silos and democratizing employees’ access to the data they need to excel at their jobs.
  • Greater automation of business processes and workflows, which boosts productivity and cuts costs.
  • Maintaining links to legacy IT that hasn’t yet been modernized.

Getting Started With API-Led Connectivity

Thus far, this guide has discussed what API-led connectivity is and the benefits of API-led connectivity. So how can you implement API-led connectivity within your organization?

The first step to reaching API-led connectivity is to find the right API management tool for your needs. The best API management platforms offer no-code or low-code functionality, i.e., the ability to generate new APIs automatically (along with informative documentation to help new users get started using them).

API management tools also come equipped with features such as:

  • Advanced developer tools to insert custom scripts and code.
  • Robust security measures to keep out unauthorized API users.
  • Converting existing SOAP APIs into REST APIs (see our article about the difference between SOAP and REST).
  • Tracking important metrics and KPIs (e.g., statistics about how a given API is being used).

Of course, simply finding the right API management platform is only half the battle. API-led connectivity also requires you to carefully consider how managers and executives, staff members, vendors, clients, and users will all be interacting in your API ecosystem.

To do so, you’ll first need to take stock of all your IT assets: SaaS applications, web services, IoT devices, microservices, legacy on-premises systems, and whatever else you have on hand. (This preliminary step is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate which of these assets you want to keep and which may no longer be necessary.) Don’t forget any existing point-to-point APIs that you’re already using. 

Then, working with a clear long-term strategy in mind, and your choice of API management tool in hand, you can start connecting and integrating these services on your path to API-led connectivity.

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API-Led Connectivity and DreamFactory

The right platform can streamline the way you manage APIs. DreamFactory gives you a long list of essential and useful features, including live API docs, instant API creation and robust security controls. Start your free 14-day free trial with DreamFactory to discover how a top API platform can improve your business’s technology.

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