Application programming interfaces (APIs) and API management through platforms have become key for enterprises looking to achieve high levels of digital innovation today.
Considering that API management has always helped accelerate the development process of enterprises, implementing API lifecycle management strategies becomes critical to maintaining the API lifeline of your business.
Today's complex digital ecosystem has several interlinked parts. API lifecycle management manages an API, from the time it is created to when it is retired. This practice gives you a holistic overview of an API project while providing a more granular understanding of how APIs function.
Managing an API throughout its lifecycle makes it easier for developers to understand how their APIs function, from design all the way to deprecation. Organizations that want to manage their API integrations across many systems and applications spend considerable time rebuilding these integrations from scratch. This is a big load on their developers. API management gives them greater flexibility by letting them reuse the functionality of API integrations, saving time and money without compromising on security.
When your cross-organization APIs are on a centralized platform, it's simpler to share API documentation and coding constructs across teams. This will also cut down on your development and implementation costs. API lifecycle management can also enhance the security of your existing services by regularly tracking API usage and integrating with the latest security protocols such as OAuth 2.0, JWT and OpenID.
We are well aware that APIs are the key to digital business. Large enterprises have now started shifting their focus to designing and developing APIs with consistency. Companies are also looking to reuse, extend, and modernize their existing APIs. Having a strong portfolio and well-developed API strategy can accelerate your digital transformation.
Take the example of an online retail shopper visiting an eCommerce website. This shopper would ideally want to select their product, pay for it and set up delivery from the same interface. The traditional approach with the inventory, pricing, point of sale, and shipping data operating in silos doesn’t work anymore. Users expect seamless digital experiences across various platforms and APIs make them possible.
APIs connect your eCommerce platform with crucial back-end systems. This includes enterprise resource planning (ERP), product information management (PIM), customer relationship management (CRM), order management systems (OMS) and point-of-sale (POS) systems. For all these systems to work seamlessly with each other, an API management platform becomes crucial. It helps you deploy APIs faster, connect your ecosystem and deliver top-class customer-centric experiences, throughout the full digital customer experience.
Before organizations used an API-first approach, they relied on a code-first methodology. This approach let them begin with an integrated development environment which then let them type a few lines of code. However, a code-first approach focused more on core functionality than the interface.
A code-first approach also exposed organizations to more delays caused by bottlenecks. This is where a shift to an API-first approach gains significance. An API-first approach puts APIs before everything else. To succeed in the API-first world, businesses need to embrace a robust API Lifecycle Management Platform.
Adopting this approach guarantees greater consistency, quality and reusability of your APIs. It will also ensure that more users adopt your APIs. Developers have the advantage of integrating your apps with your APIs and using those APIs in their projects. This approach also makes sure that your application is compatible with a diverse number of apps and systems.
For instance, when your customers place an order on a B2B eCommerce site, you will want your customer data to synchronize automatically with your CRM solution, or want the customer's billing information to enter your financial records.
APIs provide contracts for software that allows them to interact automatically with each other. They also create an economy which will let you choose the best set of vendors and remove vendor lock-ins of any kind. Adopting an API-first approach will allow you to stand out from the competition in the long run.
When poorly designed APIs can't be externalized, the chances of their reusability are hampered. Release times also become much slower, leading to low business agility. Low-code and no-code platforms can tackle these challenges by reducing engineering time and resources while enhancing the quality and reliability of your APIs.
Low code/no-code API development boosts organizational security, reducing the likelihood of cyber threats. A low code/no-code approach to lifecycle management increases business agility. It also gets your APIs to market faster, giving you an edge over your competition. Low code and /no-code API management platforms can advance a healthy API ecosystem, and transform all aspects of the design journey, right from mocking and continuous testing to API documentation.
Microservices have only increased in popularity with the advent of new, supporting technologies. Microservices allow the world's leading companies to scale on top of this modularity. APIs and microservices have the potential to deliver highly customer-centric digital products and services. They do this by reutilizing and repurposing complex IT and business functions that have been locked away in information silos.
API lifecycle management allows for better visibility and control over these increasingly distributed systems. This will enable organizations to respond a lot faster to evolving consumer and technology trends and innovative disruptors in various industries.
APIs have let entirely new business models flourish. One such business model is API-as-a-Product. In this model, an API is not just the delivery mode but the product itself. So your API lifecycle becomes the lifeline of your business.
For instance, when a business is developed either as a physical product, a technical artifact, or a B2B offering, the API may be evaluated and become a premium extension. Here are some good examples of the API-as-a-Product offering:
It has become increasingly clear that APIs will play a key role in building digital and business strategies in the future. Latching onto these key trends will ensure that you don’t just build and forget, but future-proof your business with a well-planned API lifecycle management strategy.