APIs Are Driving the Digital Economy
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APIs Aren’t New – And They’re Driving the Digital Economy

Group having meetingEnterprises must be lean and agile in order to compete. Yet in many organizations, consolidations, mergers, and acquisitions have created fragmented, non-integrated systems and processes that drain financial and human resources and diminish your ability to respond to a changing market and the relentless demands of customers and partners. Perficient’s integration and application program interface (API) consulting practice specializes in service-oriented architecture, business process management, event-driven architecture, complex event processing, master data management, and enterprise application integration. We often combine these technologies to modernize legacy application architecture and support multichannel user experiences such as portals, B2B APIs, social media, and mobility applications.

How do APIs fit in with digital transformation?

Digital transformation typically describes how companies are using technology to add a digital dimension to customer or partner experiences or to expand new digital lines of business. The digital economy is in full swing. Businesses with an integrated systems strategy capable of delivering the most current data in the most consumable way are the ones that will gain significant competitive advantage.

APIs have been called the driver of the digital economy. Companies that get APIs right from a strategy and architecture perspective will have potential for new revenue streams based on significant growth of the app market and the explosion of APIs that support them. The boundaries of the traditional enterprise are blurring, as organizations open up their on-premise data and application functionality to partner organizations, the web, mobile apps, smart devices, and the cloud. APIs form the foundation of this new open enterprise, allowing businesses to reuse their existing information assets across organizational boundaries.

What problems can API management solve?

APIs empower enterprises to quickly repurpose IT systems, add value to existing offerings, and open new revenue streams. APIs break down silos between systems and enable business process optimization and agility.

  • APIs are a channel to new customers and markets: Used externally, APIs unlock the power of partners to use business assets to extend the reach of your products or services to customers and markets you may not otherwise easily reach.
  • APIs promote innovation: An API enables people who are passionate about a problem to solve it on their own.
  • APIs are a better way to organize IT: Used internally, APIs can accelerate innovation by allowing everyone in the company to repurpose each other’s assets without having to wait for permission.
  • APIs create a path to apps: Apps are powered by APIs. Developers can use APIs and combinations of APIs to create new experiences for end users.

What strategies drive a successful API management project?

API management strategy depends on the maturity of a client’s API management program. If the client is new to API management and is implementing an API management strategy for the first time, Perficient has a well-established methodology and strategy that consists of three phases: Envision, Execute, and Evolve. During the Envision phase, Perficient’s Health Check and Quick Start Rulebook Methodology, Perficient performs a readiness assessment. Part of the goals of this first stage are to:

  • Determine the strategic tasks and collateral for the projects
  • Create an 18-to-24-month roadmap based on the desired future state
  • Establish a solid foundation for project success by discovering the strengths and weakness of the current infrastructure

During the Execute stage, collaborative implementation teams are formed from Perficient and client resources. The secondary phase aims to:

  • Kickoff of implementation teams to get started on the right foot from inception
  • Elaborate on the design and architecture to engage the correct developers
  • Construct the frameworks, services, and applications that meet all business requirements
  • Transition from development to testing to production

During the Evolve stage, Perficient’s DevOps and client stakeholders work together to monitor project results and make adjustments as necessary. Activities in the final stage are:

  • Assess KPIs to determine if adjustment is needed
  • Implement maintenance and monitoring to ensure platform stability
  • Operationalize processes and monitoring for continuous improvement

If the client already has an established API management program, Perficient usually goes through Envision phase which determines further activities in the Execute and Evolve stages.

Envision Execute Evolve

What are lessons learned in executing an API strategy?

Implementing an API management strategy and executing on it can be wrought with a number of challenges. During our recent work at a health plan provider, we realized that the communication of API management implementation to trading partners and the overall “community” might be one of the most crucial aspects of implementing their API management strategy. Perficient engaged in the client’s modernization efforts in order to minimize administrative and operational costs to provider call centers by exposing APIs for Electronic Referral, Pre-Registration, and Authorization submission. APIs were also exposed for healthcare claim status receipt acknowledgments and adjudicated claim status inquiry.

Only after significant investment into outreach to the healthcare providers was our client able to realize the costs savings that were set during the Envision stage. The biggest takeaway is to overcommunicate to all stakeholders the value of APIs upfront to more quickly realize the value of your investment.

 

What lessons has your organization learned in implementing API projects? If you’re just getting started with APIs, download our guide on creating an API strategy to drive digital transformation.

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