Connecting data and applications is easier than ever before. APIs, or application programming interfaces, allow integration flows to be defined and reused by parties inside and outside of the organization. API-led integration is becoming an important strategy due to the increasing complexity of IT architectures that contain very different data sources. This forms a foundation for interoperability across an enterprise ecosystem that abstracts away the differences across information assets. Let's take a look at how this API-led approach to integration is changing the game for some companies.
One of the use cases of API integration is through internal interfaces. This connects data and backend resources for integration and application development. Internal APIs are not exposed to anyone outside of the company. This is maintained with the utmost security with developers and system architects to contain privately identifiable information. Tight controls are put in place to ensure only approved personnel has access to data at a given time. However, this must be combined with a process that makes it easy for developers to request and gain access based on how work is accomplished.
These internal APIs can be present through API-led integration. These are used to integrate backend systems, delivered as a mobile app to automate cockpit flight procedures, eliminating the need for paper-based utilization by airlines. Internal APIs also modernize infrastructure by delivering greater application agility and better scaling to support digital initiatives, such as pre-existing payment services. This is also done through application development using microservices and event-driven APIs to support complex data flows and real-time operations within a supply chain.
API integration platforms are also common through what's known as public APIs, which expose internal data and functionality for use by external developers. Sometimes, these APIs are monetized, but usually, they aren't. When an API program like this is adopted, performance can suffer at the backend to keep up with demand. An API management solution can alleviate some of this by providing edge caching for data for greater insights. This also places traffic limits either on individual developers or developers grouped by their type.
Public APIs are commonly used through embedded services, such as credit card companies publishing interfaces to allow anyone to embed credit card processing or price quotes within an application. This is also seen through expanded sales channels. Retailed add product catalog and purchasing capabilities to third-party websites. APIs like this could be seen through searches on Pinterest that link to a retailer's catalog. Public APIs can also be through an expanded partner network offering recommendations and promotions. This is seen when airlines try to sell off tickets to events in the destination a traveler is headed to like a baseball game or a concert.
The final use case for these interfaces is through partner APIs. These platforms are developed internally and shared with a limited set of external companies. Partner APIs are commonly used for business-to-business interactions or channel partners. Support in these systems is crucial for good API management. Platforms can help provide a positive developer experience through a variety of means, including interactive documentation. These tools must be implemented in conjunction with good processes for the utmost success within an API integration platform.
Partner APIs are recommended for proper onboarding, reducing the time and cost of bringing new partners into the fold. This reduces the need for custom coding, making it easier to integrate partners into an environment with great efficiency. Partner APIs allow for the customization of information exchanges, streamlining partner onboarding, and upgrading supply chain velocity. APIs within modern cloud services could be what elevates your organization to a new level of efficiency.