In this introductory post, I would like to examine how a fundamental shift in the way companies source, deploy and generally use business applications is affecting IT. More specifically I want to look at the pressing need for applications to exchange and share information and where managed API services fit into that equation.
I’ll start with how applications used to be procured, which was mostly by specialist IT teams, charged with both working out what the business needs were and either acquiring suitable applications or developing them in-house.
This may have worked once, but times have changed. Line of business managers are taking charge and with the advent of affordable Cloud-based services, are finding it quicker, easier and more effective to bypass IT and source the tools they need directly. The business equivalent, if you like, of downloading specialized smartphone apps rather than try and make do with general purpose tools chosen by someone else.
It’s not all plain sailing as, despite a willingness to accept less functionality, business buyers are also looking for the ability to plug apps together to build something bigger and better. It's this that’s giving developers sleepless nights because, instead of the whole application, they now own just a small part of it, presenting them with the challenge of sharing and exchanging data with others in order to meet the expectations of the new “app economy”.
For many this will be completely new territory as, previously, all that was needed was compatibility with a handful of big names, such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP etc. To succeed in the new app economy, however, apps need to share data much more widely and not just locally within an organization but externally and across platforms, including private, public and hybrid clouds. They also need to do this securely to protect not just user data, but the IP of developers, service providers and business customers alike.
Negotiating and building the interfaces and protocols required from scratch would be a mammoth task, requiring far more time than the fast-paced IT industry is prepared to allow. But that doesn’t matter as the glue required to stick apps together can be provided much more rapidly using Managed API (Application Programming Interface) services to enable developers to expose and share resources with others in a controlled and secure fashion. In short, to develop APIs rapidly while, at the same time, protecting them from misuse using built in security wrappers and associated policy controls.
Don’t underestimate the importance of API technology. Managed APIs are fast becoming a necessity as we embrace the democratization of enterprise IT and business users across the board look to enjoy the fruits of the new app economy.