API Management — Get in control of your brand

Having an API that can be used to access the services of your company also means that you do not always can control how, and by who, your company’s services are used.

API’s are higly technical and the Product Management department and/or Marketing might not always get involved in “go-to-market” of this service channel.

There a various ways to design and design a APIs. How an API is designed depends on the personal skills of the API developer. This means that the quality level over various APIs of your company may vary. Some of you company’s APIs may be secure and fast and some may be insecure and slow.

Some of the APIs may be costly to build and maintain but also hardly used because there are not ‘developer friendly’.

The consumers of your APIs will be software developers. And if they happy with your API, changes are that their bosses will also be happy. See also https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-do-firms-need-api-strategy-right-now-vamsi-krishna-namuduri/?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BQ%2FsBvxWXddneGg5iOgSiag%3D%3D

It is common to measure the baviour of your clients and your own service level. But how to measure this if your services are delivered by the use of APIs? What about the service level of your API? Do you wait until your client calls with a complaint or do you proactivly monitor your own service levels. The thing is, all this sales and security mumbo-jumbo? The average API developer does not have time, does not care or just does not know about these concerns.

This is why you have to activly manage the APIs that are offered by your company. This starts by knowing what APIs are offered (your security department will alos appreciate this). We can call this ‘know yourself’. The next step can be ‘know your client’. Know who is using your API, when and how.

API management tooling

I won’t lie. It’s hard to build managed APIs. So don’t. Just build APIs and apply management later. There are several API management tools available. I’ll name a few that I have investigated and or/worked with.

Apigee is really easy to use and has lot’s of features as long you are using REST APIs.

Axway is a nuclear proof system. The usability could be better, but once you know your way around the product it’s quite predictable. It’s higly scalable and Enterprise oriented.

CA API Gateway (formely known as Layer 7) is becoming a competitor for Apigee with it’s new cloud offering. If you are looking to manage a whole range of API technologies (SOAP, REST, MQTT, etc) you should investigate CA API Gateway.

Azure API Management is, of course tightly bound to the Azure platform.
If you want to use AD to secure your APIs, Azure API management, and your AD is already in Azure, this might be the logical choice.

The Amazon API management deserves a second look from the author. It’s quite straigthforward and can be used to mange APIs from several platforms.

Conclusion

If your API channel is important for doing business, you need to manage your APIs on a higher level that just the thechnical level. There are great tools available for this.Keep in mind that a, business driven, API management strategy is required to leverage these tools and justify the costs that are related to these tools.

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