This week, we hosted a webinar featuring an all star line up of API experts, including Isabelle Mauny, Founder and CTO of 42Crunch; Lars Markull, API Evangelist at Figo; Mark Boyd, API analyst and writer at Platformable; and our very own Head of Product Marketing, Ross Garrett. The panel dove into what "digital transformation" looks like for today's enterprises and provided mapping tools for enterprise leaders to identify where they are and where they should be on their journey towards digital maturity.
During the webinar, four key themes emerged around digital maturity:
1. SaaS in the Enterprise
2. Providing and Consuming APIs
3. Data Mindset
4. Developer Focus
Let's take a closer look into each theme and insights from the panel.
SaaS in the Enterprise
Many of the enterprises that Mark works with start by implementing microservices or APIs on top of their legacy infrastructure and while they're doing that, they're also increasingly using a growing number of SaaS tools across all business units. In fact, in Mary Meeker's Annual Internet Trends presentation, it's noted that each enterprise has an average of 1,170 cloud-based apps, 94% of which are not enterprise-ready.
Further, under protected APIs is a top 10 internet security threat. Isabelle notes, "securing SaaS apps within an enterprise requires protecting hundreds of internal and external endpoints - which is like punching holes in your infrastructure. There is a major need for new tools and a new way of working to protect them." One of the key things to consider with enterprise APIs is evaluating the risk of each API. Not all API's carry the same risk when they are open. Evaluate each internally and take the corresponding security measures for each associated risk.
Providing and Consuming APIs
Typically, enterprises start to create internal API's. Use them, put in the right governance, and see what return they get from implementing those API's. And then they start slowly opening those APIs to their partners to replace a legacy way of integrating with them. And then, they start to open APIs for general consumption.
API consumption requirements management too. Mark advises, "when [enterprises are] consuming a wide range of APIs across many different categories of cloud services, you need to consider the security needs, versioning, and maintenance. Plus the consumers of those APIs expect them to connect to the cloud services they already use."
The panel went on to continue to discuss the benefits to standardization of API development approaches with PSD2, the European regulation for online payments. Lars has seen, "proof points of innovation in the banking space with the access of data to third-party developers." This standardization opens up a whole new market for innovative FinTech companies like Figo in Germany.
What does this mean for the U.S. banks? They can leverage APIs as a competitive differentiator which leads to happier customers who are stickier and more loyal. Soon, customers will be selecting banks based on their integration capabilities.
As enterprises continue on their journey of digital maturity, they want to do things like put their data through machine learning to gain deeper insights. Or they are noticing that they are using the same websites over and over again in a variety of processes, so they're beginning to put a value on the data. For a lot of organizations, understanding how they can safely expose the most valuable pieces of their business to people that can enhance the value of those assets is really fundamental.
Ross shares, “enterprises should start their process of connecting and integrating products and services together by thinking about the data they care about first. If you can understand the data resources that you want to interact with, then it's much easier to create a mapping between the data resource, this common resource, and the various applications and services that either feed that data resource or that data feeds into.
And lastly, as enterprises continue on their path towards digital transformation they should execute on a business model that is aligned to their bottom line and provides value to their developers, both internal and third-party. Foster a developer community with great documentation, meet ups, hack-a-thons, and a forum for two-way conversations.
A trend that Mark witnesses in working with enterprises is: among the most digitally advanced, is a willingness to share the design patterns of how their API is being used, or should be efficiently used. Slack, a team collaboration tool, provides a great example with a documented a suite of design patterns and helping developers quickly implement the Slack API in their projects. This approach speeds up the accessibility of an API which shows the business value of the product and API faster.
Want to dive deeper into the four key themes of digital maturity? Check the on-demand webinar below.