In a previous blog, we looked at API integration and the benefits it offers organizations. As the number of APIs grows, the need to effectively manage them becomes more pressing. As enterprise API integration platform is essential to achieve that goal. This blog covers what to look for when selecting your API integration platform.
The API management market is set to explode. It’s estimated to grow at a huge compound annual growth rate of 32.9% between 2018 and 2023–reaching a value of $5.1 billion. API integration platforms form a large part of this market segment.
Markets and Markets, that provided the above estimate, explains the massive growth: “With an exponential increase in the number of apps and smart devices required in the digital world, businesses need to expose more data through APIs, so that they can provide rich, personalized app experiences both for internal users, customers, and partners. Organizations across all industries need a robust life cycle API management solution that helps them measure the performance of their API-driven businesses.”
As the API integration process can be costly and complex, many companies are turning to Cloud-based API integration platforms from a trusted API integration company. It is possible to think of this as API-as-a-Service and research suggests this type of API integration service is set to dominate the integration platform as a service (IPaaS) market sector.
So, what is an API integration platform?
A simple API Integration platform definition
Perhaps the easiest way to supply an API integration platform definition is to break the phrase down into its constituent parts:
What is an API?
- An Application Programming Interface (API) is a lightweight piece of software code that lets different applications and systems communicate and share data together. There are both private and public APIs.
- Private APIs have been developed by organizations for their own specific use and public APIs, as the name suggests, are made available to everything. The most popular public API is the REST API. REST API integration is important for web services and external connectivity as over 70% of public APIs are REST APIs.
What is API integration?
- It’s estimated that there may be as many as 50,000 public APIs available today–which suggests that there are far more private APIs. And, this is a major challenge. The problem is with APIs that there is no ‘one size fits all’. Imaging every application or system within a large organization–that’s hundreds and thousands of systems–has its own API. In theory each API should be able to talk to any other, but reality is somewhat different. In practice, you have to integrate the APIs of each system together to enable the smooth connectivity you require. That’s API integration.
- But, you won’t be surprised to know there’s a problem with API-based integration. You have so much of it. There’s open API integration, third-party API integration and custom API integration. It’s not feasible to perform API development and integration for every point-to-point connection between applications. It’s extremely difficult to manage every API within your organization individually. You’re going to need something that allows you achieve API integration at scale.
What is an API integration platform?
- API integration platform allows you to communicate information between multiple APIs. It provides a central resource for every element of API management, from initial API development to API integration testing to large-scale API integration management. The question of how to do API integration most effectively is most often answered through the best API integration platforms.
7 things to look for in the best API integration platforms
Now you know why you need an API integration platform, the question becomes which is the right one for you. Here’s a brief API integration checklist to help you when selecting your platform.
Drive digital transformation success
- The benefits of digital transformation have proved to be difficult to realize in practice. Organizations are attempting to implement disruptive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics, but all these new technologies must connect and communicate with everything else in the IT infrastructure. With an API integration platform, organizations can be sure they have the capabilities to effectively integrate these new technologies as they grow and mature. For example, with Blockchain integration API integration platforms can connect the Blockchain system into supply chain management applications to securely track transactions throughout their lifecycle.
Build a best-of-breed IT infrastructure
- We all want to build IT capabilities based on best-of-breed solutions. What we don’t want is to be denied that capability because there are severe connectivity issues between the applications and systems we want to use. With an API integration platform, you can easily connect the best applications and tools available. Think about a bank API integration will involve myriads of customer-facing and back-end systems that offer commercial differentiation when working effectively together.
Effective API development
- Until recently, there were two options when you wanted an API. First, you could develop and deploy it yourself. Secondly, you could search for what public or third-party APIs were available and see how closely they met your API integration needs. Now, an API integration platform allows you to quickly and easily create a new API. Often, it can be down by simply customizing an existing API integration. This approach to API integration clearly makes your business more agile, reduces costs and ensures you fully leverage the power within your API integration capabilities.
Create new and innovative applications
- It’s not just APIs that an API integration platform allows you to develop quickly. It allows you to create entirely new applications. It enables you to look at components of other applications and use API integration to connect them to develop a new application. Think about Instagram. There had been photo-filtering and social media services before Instagram. All it did was to connect them in a new way. The best API integration platforms allow any organization to connect disparate technologies and previous API integrations in a unique fashion to drive business innovation.
Central and secure API management
- One of the largest API integration challenges is the ability to effectively the hundreds or thousands of individual API integrations within the enterprise. It can’t be feasibly done manually. An API integration platform provides a central repository for all API integrations. It provides complete visibility about how all APIs are created and deployed. The API integration platform simplifies the management, security and compliance processes. It allows you to maximize existing API integrations by facilitating the process of identifying API integration patterns that help to speed the development of new APIs.
Make the most of your Cloud investments
- Every organization is moving at least some of their computing resources to the Cloud. As far as connecting Cloud applications is concerned, APIs are the standard. You have to decide whether there are public APIs that give the functionality you need or whether you need to create custom APIs. In addition, API integration software holds the key to maximizing the value on your legacy systems offering a simple way to establish connectivity. You need an API integration solution that smoothly and seamlessly straddles both worlds. A Cloud-based API integration platform is the best way to achieve this.
Enhance IT and enterprise productivity
- For your IT resource, an API integration platform represents a major boost to productivity. The time and cost involved in tasks such as API data integration, API integration testing and API integration management are drastically reduced. In addition, the best API integration platforms can deliver an easy-to-use API integration solution for the enterprise by shielding the business users from the complexity of API integration software to enable them to create and manage their own APIs.
Selecting an API Integration platform provider
Most organizations prefer to use a Cloud-based API integration services from a third-party API integration platform provider. Most providers deliver their own API integration framework that’s based around API integration best practices that can be customized to meet your specific business needs. In addition, the API integration platform provider delivers all the skills and resources that you need–able to scale up or down as you require. In addition, the best providers are able to deliver support on a global, 24×7 basis.