Application Programming Interfaces (API) Management: Enabling Digital Business
The digital shift is based on high-performance, flexible IT systems, which can be connected easily (via APIs) – for cloud solutions, for cooperating with partners and clients, using mobile apps, and more building blocks of your digital strategy. For these tasks, interfaces need to be created, so you can access data and features of your business processes quickly and easily – from both inside and outside of your company. Thus APIs which are efficiently administrated through an API Management platform are key for a successful digitalization.
To date, data interfaces were mostly created ad hoc for isolated point-to-point connections. This was done by different teams or using external service providers leveraging many different technologies.
The result was an uncontrollable growth with high complexity and inflexible connections between systems. There were no consistency in security standards, lack of visibility of your data flows and , no centralized control regarding who can access specific systems. On Top came a lack quality of the necessary interface documentation for external developers and missing transparency.
API Management as Key for Digitalization
In the era of digital shift, this is no longer acceptable. Integration typically means having a need for open access of your company’s information. This requires control, standardization and security. The increasing need for APIs is a challenge for IT departments. Given business requirements from line of businesses, IT departments have to develop, deploy and document standard interfaces, manage APIs, ensure security when data is accessed, and maintain the overview of all granted permissions.
This is exactly where a comprehensive API Management solution like the SEEBURGER Business Integration Suite comes in.
API Management Platform: Enable Digital Business
The challenge: “historically grown“ IT systems
Internal systems – especially those with business critical features – are mostly part of an organic IT and system land-scape. They are adapted to the company’s requirements, proven and stable in use. On the other hand, they often make use of older technologies and often run unaltered for a long time. Typically they do not support modern technology standards for external access. In addition, such “older systems” are often quite complex, and modifying them is usually difficult. While there are often generic interfaces, for example for access through databases, these are not anywhere near internet-aware APIs, with focus on digitalization – and adding in such APIs directly in these applications will mostly not be possible without significant re-architecting.
Furthermore, API developers are often faced with the challenge that the data that should be made available are spread among numerous different systems. So, an API needs to contact several systems in order to respond to a request, slowing the process, making maintenance difficult and adding points of failure.
API Management Platforms: easily and securely open internal IT Systems to business partners
The solution is a “full lifecycle” API Management Solution, including functionality for integration and management, where the front-end is externally visible; data-storing applications and business logic are hidden through an API Gateway behind forming a type of API facade.
By hiding the real complexity of internal systems, the API Gateway enables different systems to communicate with internal systems and applications easily and securely. The APIs are targeted at the requirements and planned features of API usage. These are typically deployed by an API gateway that is also responsible for controlling and protecting access (see Figure).
Since modern apps and systems only communicate with the API Gateway, the internal systems behind the Gateway can be replaced or altered anytime without endangering the digital business.
Since modern apps and systems only communicate with the API Gateway, the internal systems behind it can be replaced or altered anytime without endangering the digital business.
Full Lifecycle API Management with SEEBURGER
Every API platform thus needs to fulfil two tasks: First it is like a protective firewall between your internal systems and any external access and only opens the door to authorized and checked requests. Secondly, it helps to keep an overview of doors (APIs) and access permissions.
Providing a centralized integration platform, SEEBURGER’s Business Integration Suite (BIS) is an agile and scalable B2B/EDI, Application Integration and MFT platform – offering comprehensive features for managing the complete API lifecycle from creating, publishing and using your own APIs over securing them to managing and integration APIs of your internal systems and applications, customers and business partners.
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