by Tony Harris
• May 4, 2021
Like most organizations today, you’re probably looking to optimize your business model through increased technology adoption. The more successful digital transformation projects look at changing business trends and seek to incorporate those trends within their own specific environment. Similarly, as API technology grows, promising new functionalities and integrations, enterprises should aim to embrace the utility of APIs within their wider technology strategy. But to really leverage what an API can do for you and your business, you will need to determine how your data is stored, what applications it needs to integrate with and how APIs support the underpinning architecture.
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Digital transformation involves modernizing legacy systems and processes to accommodate new technology. There’s far more to digital transformation than installing a new app and holding a training session or two. The changes in technology and consumer expectations often mean a complete overhaul of how the company a business operates and the roles performed within the business. It’s something that often causes significant financial and organizational risk, and is therefore imperative that any digital transformation strategy is ably supported by a robust and effective means in which to integrate these new systems and applications.
The key to a successful digital transformation is to articulate the ‘future state’ of the business and how the business should operate once new technology is introduced. Only then can you decide how to get there, taking into account the limitations of your current business and the capabilities of existing technology. Many enterprises aim for a more modular approach to their technology. App popularity is based more on functionality than brand loyalty today. When compatibility and structural concerns arise, the API can be the missing piece that holds it all together.
When it comes to new programs and technology, there can be issues with compatibility and integration. Different organizations create their technology with varied standards, programming languages, and interfaces. In the past, this meant enterprises were locked down with long-term licenses into using program suites by monolithic organizations. But today, enterprises are transforming into something more flexible and composable. Finding a way to integrate new technology that doesn’t communicate well is a must.
APIs can serve as an important means by which greater flexibility is provided to an enterprise technology stage and works as the middleman between connected products, programs, and services. When each app connects to the API through endpoints, it’s a matter of sending API calls between apps. The API is an interpreter that does the work of communicating. But organizations should avoid seeing APIs as just pieces of middleware, and instead embrace them as another essential part of their technology stack.
APIs work best at the center of your integration strategy, not as strategically placed bandages. A good API strategy has a number of benefits as you look to restructure your organization.
Old, tired data silos are out. These will only hinder your digital transformation efforts by locking out crucial data from the rest of your systems. In a newer, more connected business structure, siloed data goes unused and forgotten. This could lock you out of crucial data insights, metrics, and new business opportunities. Embracing APIs and leveraging their power to unlock data sources will mean that your organization will have a degree of connectivity that will ensure application users have the right data, at the right time in the right format.
When you look at APIs as essential products, you want to maximize their capabilities. This means looking for ways to expand functionality, either by integrating new apps or adding features directly to the API. It also means reusing your API when reasonable, instead of building something new.
And you could consider opening your API to the public. Not only will this give you the chance to turn your API into a new revenue stream, but third-party developers also make use of public APIs in new and sometimes unexpected ways. A lot of recent technological advancements were made possible with the use of APIs, like widespread ride-sharing systems and third-party authentication. If you’re in the market for new ideas, attracting developers with a hackathon may be a place to start. Expanding on your API ecosystem will not only add to your customer experience but it might even bring in new customers from unexpected places.
DreamFactory is an API management platform that can guide you through every step of the API creation process. You can create a new API from scratch with DreamFactory’s system and your existing database. Or, if you’re using an old SOAP web service, you can instantly convert that into a REST API that’s simpler, scalable, and more secure.
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