Sean Collins
08 Aug 2018

The API Economy: Part of a Bigger Integration Picture

There’s a cloud of buzzwords around APIs, the API economy, and just where APIs fit into the vision of digital transformation.

Dell Boomi is all about creating the connected business, and we believe APIs are certainly part of it.

So, in this post, we’ll look at APIs from two vantage points:

  1. What we’re hearing about APIs from CIOs
  2. How the Boomi unified integration platform can help organizations quickly create high-quality APIs and dramatically reduce management headaches

Does Your Approach to APIs Scale?

There are many uses for APIs. CIOs we’ve spoken with want to use them to make information and services available to internal audiences, to developers, to other organizations (think healthcare), or to consumers (students, patients, shoppers, etc.). And, they, by and large, agree that standards and scalability are very big concerns.

From a design and deployment perspective, Boomi is well-suited to organizations looking to operationalize their business processes via APIs. Boomi helps connected businesses tie different applications together as a single web service (or an API to expose to internal or external users — “consumers”).

The value of APIs and the increased interest in them coincides with the growing realization that integration is the foundation of digital transformation. And, in Boomi’s view, the API is an extension of the integration platform as a service (iPaaS), where we’ve been a leader for quite a while.

It becomes very important to use a standard means of data access or engagement, so you can can continue to easily manage your APIs as their numbers grow. And, at the same time, you need to ensure data protection, as well as system performance.

Without a centralized means of managing and provisioning APIs and API requests, IT becomes gridlocked, especially when the use of APIs moves outside the internal audience of an organization.

An API gateway offers a layer of protection and redirection. It sits in front of internal infrastructure. So, it can support engaging and calling services that sit behind a firewall. At the same time, it can protect an IT infrastructure from attacks and caching responses.

Freed from these system drags, you can easily meet performance demands without putting added strain on network resources.

Making APIs Easier to Deploy, Catalog and Deliver

While many CIOs want to make it easier for the “citizen developer” to create and deliver APIs, they’re also wary of proliferating and duplicating one-off APIs. As one CIO noted, “When you make it ‘easy’ to create an API, you risk never having the important conversations about long-term issues.”

Nevertheless, most CIOs want out of the coding business.

Boomi’s has always emphasized ease of use, development speed, modular architectures, and reusability. This approach serves the professional and the citizen developer.

A configuration-based approach to developing, deploying and managing APIs makes it easy for your organization to govern your rapidly expanding array of APIs. You can empower the organization to put APIs to best use while ensuring visibility and control. With Boomi, you can scale efficiently and protect against risk. Your standards are baked into the Boomi processes.

The Boomi integration platform eliminates complexity and the overhead that goes with it, freeing developers from routine development and maintenance tasks. Instead, your developers can focus on what they do best, creating great applications.

The Growing Importance of APIs in the Marketplace

The value of APIs and the increased interest in them coincides with the growing realization that integration is the foundation of digital transformation. And, in Boomi’s view, the API is an extension of the integration platform as a service (iPaaS), where we’ve been a leader for quite a while.

APIs are just part of the integration equation. Besides the need to extend and expose services, organizations must also be able to tie them together. That is all made much easier with a low-code platform. With Boomi, you are able to create your APIs extremely quickly while easily managing your rapidly expanding catalog.

Boomi further supports your API efforts with Boomi Master Data Hub for ensuring quality data. And it helps you connect your people and their data with Boomi Flow for automating business processes.

To Run Smoothly, the API Economy Needs Automation

Also high on the API priority list for CIOs is automation. And this is very connected to the development model used to create APIs. There are two models. One is the build-first model. The other is the design-first model, which starts with what the user experience will be for the API consumer.

Given its foundation in integration, Boomi is sometimes erroneously perceived as only supporting a build-first approach for API management. But Boomi also facilitates a design-first approach to API creation.

Developers can configure APIs to leverage mock backend services to simulate responses. This makes it easier for the typical person in an organization to develop an API very quickly.

With the Boomi platform, organizations can embed engagements in a few ways:

  • In other applications via integration
  • In workflows with Boomi Flow
  • In high-volume, reusable services using APIs for internal or external consumption

Regardless of your API strategy, Boomi can greatly streamline your API creation and management. At the same time, the Boomi integration cloud provides a unified collection of integration tools for ensuring data quality, automating workflows, and connecting applications.

Would you like to learn more about how to make the most of your investments in APIs? Contact a Boomi integration expert today.

About the author: Sean Collins is Dell Boomi’s Director, Product Management for API Design and Management.