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Adapt Your Organization to the API Economy to Generate New Revenue


The way customers, developers and third parties connect and converse with an organization is drastically changing. In the not-so-distant past, a customer had to go through a human intermediary if, for example, they wanted to get an up-to-date view on their current account balance. Over time, websites and mobile apps have been made easier and more intuitive for end users to interact with. Now developers and development teams are wanting to exploit APIs that may or may not be available to them today.

How can your organization ensure that appropriate APIs are available which build upon and exploit existing enterprise applications? Enterprise applications—no matter what platform they’re running on—need to be developed and deployed with the underlying expectation that when workloads increase, the application will scale, response times won’t falter and the service will always be available. These attributes are the foundation that customers build trust in an organization that is hard to regain once lost. However, these attributes don’t matter to front-end application developers that aren’t familiar with the platform. Fortunately, new characteristics of the IBM z Systems server allow the mainframe to be the centerpiece of an API economy solution for your organization.

The mainframe is the heart of the required IT infrastructure to support new workloads driven from IoT, mobile and cloud transactions while infusing analytics into every transaction, as well as delivering services efficiently and flexibly to create a competitive advantage in the API economy.

Plan Your Journey

Before starting on your API journey, it’s worth having an understanding and a plan of where you currently are and where you must be. There are many questions you need to know the answers to that can help determine next steps. View a list of questions to answer in the box “Determine Your API Journey.”

Without perhaps explicitly knowing it, your organization is already using APIs. They’re available in many forms and, more often than not, confined to programming language environments as libraries of useful functions to connect to operating, transactional, messaging and database systems. These tightly coupled connections require an application to be recompiled and a development-test cycle be completed before being allowed back into production

Loosely coupled architectures, (e.g., Enterprise Service Buses and web services), simplified some of these connectivity issues. Representational state transfer (RESTful) APIs and the reliability of networks have evolved as the easiest architectural style for development teams to exploit functionality which they don’t have the expertise or desire to implement themselves. For example, APIs can be exploited to store transactional data, perform predictive analysis, obtain the latest weather forecast, translate text, analyse pictures and more. However, developing with and consuming external APIs may not be at zero cost: You normally get charged and throttled based on the number of times you invoke an API. This is where your organization can enter the API economy and generate new revenue streams.

The primary reason development teams love and use RESTful APIs revolves around ease of use and understanding. This is why recent graduates learn to write and consume REST services out of school. RESTful APIs are used on a daily basis by most people on the planet: When you request a web page, you are invoking a RESTful API—in this case, a GET request on a specific URL—by either typing in a web address or clicking a link on another page. Developers require a means to discover the full set of available RESTful APIs from a host system, including a description of what they do, how to invoke them, where they are, what their security requirements are, what parameters are expected and what payload is needed.

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Adapt Your Organization to the API Economy to Generate New Revenue

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