Transferring data across platforms inside and outside the enterprise has always been fraught with danger. Fortunately, application-programming-interfaces (APIs) – sets of programming standards and instructions that enable applications to talk with each other – were developed to ease the challenge of sharing data.
Easier than utilizing flat files, APIs have largely replaced manual data exchange, FTP file transfers, email attachments and many web portals. It should be noted that not every external entity can call a specific API, so a web portal could still be necessary; however, an API can serve as a fundamental building block and business layer for a well-designed portal or mobile app. APIs can also be used to automate interactions – ideal for easy scalability and greater efficiency within the enterprise ecosystem.
Today, many large enterprises are using enterprise APIs to provide third party developers with easy access to their databases. For example, Yellow Pages Group Canada created its own open public API platform called YellowAPI to meet the growing demand of a new business-to-developer (B2D) market that wanted access to its business customer data. It’s been so successful, YellowAPI has evolved from a basic developer tool to a partner onboarding tool.
Similarly, British news organization The Guardian offers a suite of APIs called Open Platform to enable outside developers to create digital products and applications for Guardian content in two ways:
- Open in: enabling partners to build apps that are integrated within The Guardian network
- Open out: enabling Guardian content to be used on other digital platforms built by partners
Enterprise APIs not only make transferring data easier and more seamless, they are also an efficient way to control access. Enterprise APIs can be used to create different levels of data access, for example:
- Level 1: free and open access to least-valuable data
- Level 2: limited data access requiring registration
- Level 3: Custom integration and access to high-value content requiring agreements such as licensing and revenue-sharing
API management keeps the enterprise in control
To help ensure proper data access control, API management enables the enterprise to publish, promote, and monitor APIs in a secure environment. A robust API management platform provides:
- Automated, controlled connections between the API and applications using it
- Protection from misuse, first with clear usage policies and, if needed, digital security measures
- Consistent performance assurance between multiple API versions and implementations
- Improved application performance with caching and memory management
Contact us to learn more about enterprise APIs and Flowgear API Management, part of our comprehensive cloud-based integration platform services.
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