What exactly is an API Led Connectivity?
API Led connectivity is a method for linking data to applications via reusable and targeted APIs. These APIs have been developed to play a specific role such as accessing data from source systems, combining this data in processes or providing an experience for the end user.
APIs used to be seen as ordinary tools for developers. But nowadays enterprises aren’t only leveraging them for internal purposes, but for external too.
The three APIs that enable API led connectivity
API-led connectivity distributes the data landscape of organizations in three bite-sized chunks; system, process and experience APIs. The access to the company’s data is hereby decentralized and simplified. These APIs are accessible to (internal and external) right holders via an API portal.
Central IT focuses on the production of “system APIs” that unlock important source systems, including SaaS apps, legacy applications and data sources.
Decentralized IT teams can then use these “system APIs” to compile “process APIs” with business logic. Such as a “customer API” with all customers from different CRM systems or an “order status API” containing client data from CRM and order data from the e-commerce system.
Next, front-end developers can discover these reusable “process APIs” and use them for the development of apps for the end user. Such as a “customer app” with which customers can view the order status and order history via smartphone or a web application.
This API-driven approach to integration increases speed, agility and productivity. Such as:
- Keep front-end developers away from the technical complexity that comes with extracting specific data from source systems. They can therefore, focus on developing applications with a super tight user experience.
- Panning old applications painlessly to introduce new ones quickly into the application landscape; data is exchanged via APIs instead of between applications directly.
Why is API-led connectivity so badly required?
API Led Connectivity is an important integration strategy because the technologies that companies use to connect with their employees, partners and customers have changed drastically. The gathering of technologies such as big data, SaaS, IoT, social, and mobile with APIs offers powerful new tools with which companies can do more. Such as understanding customers better, unlocking new revenue streams and innovating faster than ever.
But to be able to do this quickly they have to integrate these new technologies with reusable APIs. Traditionally, these integrations were carried out through non-reusable point-to-point connections. This means that if an end-point or application is changed, the whole integration has to be built up again from scratch. Which takes a lot of time and resources for IT to maintain.
The Speed with which these new systems change has also augmented. For example, a back-end application at a bank receives an update only once a year, while online and mobile front-end bank applications that are connected to back-end change weekly, daily or even per hour. The speed of these changes cannot be supported by a traditional point-to-point integration approach. Therefore, a different approach is required.