Why API Management is required for a business? — part II

Chanaka Fernando
Jun 16 · 4 min read

Let’s find out how API Management can help grow your business

Introduction

This is the second part of our tutorial on the business aspect of the API Management platforms. You can find the part I of this article from the below link in which we discussed how to identify the business goals of an organization and align our API management KPIs with that in detail.

In this second part, we are going to take a practical example of an organization and how that organization could utilize API Management to grow its business.

The ABC Company’s approach

Let’s consider an organization ABC that has a number of business applications that hold different types of information. The applications are integrated in a point-to-point manner and bringing in a new application has become a major development effort since there are many systems to be integrated. Because of this reason, interoperability between applications has become a major challenge for the internal as well as external stakeholders.

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CTO of the ABC company decides to start off a new initiative to digitally transform the organization and follow an API-First strategy to enable interoperability across systems and partner ecosystems. As the first step, he sets up an architecture review board comprised of the following roles

  • business leaders,

to identify the APIs that deliver the highest business value to the consumers and partners and expose them through an easy-to-access portal (marketplace).

The team has initially identified the business objectives of the ABC company and aligned the APIs to business needs. At the same time, they have introduced a set of metrics (KPIs) to measure the progress of building APIs and usage in business terms. One other major concept they adhered to is to treat every API as a product and give all the prominence to each API similar to any other product in the company. This ABC company is a manufacturing company that has experienced the value of an integrated supply chain throughout its business operations.

Using the WSO2 API Integration Platform to increase the ROI based on KPIs

ABC company wanted to start off the API initiative as a pilot project and wanted to kick off the development efforts without spending a fortune of money on proprietary vendors. Because of this reason, the team has looked for open-source technology platforms that can be used to get things off the ground with a minimum cost yet provide the full feature set during the development phases. They have evaluated several open-source platforms and decided to go ahead with the WSO2 API Management Platform due to the following reasons.

  • Most comprehensive feature set including

— Developer portal

— Monetization

— Cloud-native support

— Streaming APIs

  • Comprehensive Security (OAuth2, JWT, API Keys, mSSL, Basic Auth)

Once the platform selection is done, a small team of developers is grouped into an agile team and started working on the project. The user stories are already defined by this time and the team started off with a story that is most relevant to business goals. WSO2 provides evaluation support for customers who want to engage with WSO2 during the initial POC phase. This support does not cost anything to the customer.

First use case — Engaging partners through APIs

The first user story is directly related to business operations and it is built to expose an API to the partner dealers who sell the products to consumers. Before this API, partners had to come to the ABC company office and get the details on the latest products, stocks, and warranty information. With the new API, partner dealers can now get this information instantly with their own applications by consuming the API. With this API, the number of new partners integrated into the system has increased in a short time and partner sales have increased significantly since they do not need to wait until the stocks have arrived at their doorsteps and they can send orders immediately.

Second use case — Online sales with collaborating with couriers

With the success of this API, the team has started building new APIs to sell the products online through their website and allowed courier companies to integrate with the system to deliver products to homes. This was done through the API developer portal where delivery partners used the APIs to integrate with the sales process and get notifications on new sales orders that need to be delivered. WSO2 API Manager supports Websockets API to build event-based APIs to deliver notifications to the courier partners as soon as the order is ready.

Now the business leadership has identified the value proposition of the API Platform and more and more APIs are built onto the platform. The CTO is still very much aligned with the business goals and wanted to make sure that every API has a business value and that value proposition is measured through the KPIs.

That’s all for part II and we will be discussing the approach that we can use to implement this API Management solution using open source technology in part III.

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