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APIs powering self-service

Covid-19 has made remote working the "new normal", giving birth to yet another buzzword, "everywhere enterprise'. For many, remote working means working from home. Prudent a move as this is, it does present certain logistical issues, especially if individuals across the organisation are unable to access key data and capabilities that will allow them to innovate from home.

New problems are faced every day, but with them come unique opportunities for IT leaders to revolutionise the methods in which an organisation can self-service to its full potential. And this can be done by adopting new frameworks and systems specifically designed to provide a decentralised workforce the proper tools necessary to function remotely.

The best way to think about this is probably in the words of MuleSoft's founder, Ross Mason, when he described organisations as traditionally designed like castles with moats accessible by a select few. To be successful, though, “organisations need to decentralise and design for the broader villages in mind, where different groups can freely access data of value so they can self-start and build up their own economies.”

The demystifying and democratisation of innovation by IT leaders will help bolster the self-service of the broader organisation.

One of the quickest and most efficient ways of doing this is through the unlocking of APIs broad-scope abilities. Application programming interface (API) can be thought of as the waiter facilitating an order going from the patron at the table, to the staff in the kitchen. As a go-between communicator, an API is tasked with exposing no more than is necessary in terms of information. That perspective has evolved, slightly.

APIs play a major role in marrying efficiency for those using APIs as well as those implementing them, and when it comes to making your data work for you, the burgeoning economy surrounding APIs is vast.

IT organisations say integration needs to expand beyond IT to a wide range of business areas.

This digital transformation has changed the way that businesses operate their API systems. They are no longer leveraged solely internally. They are now being exposed to traffic on a larger scale, allowing external access as well, contributing to the so-called API economy.

This is why IT are working to build more robust APIs, allowing software stacks to communicate with each other. This change is allowing a remote workforce to accomplish more of its IT-enabled work themselves while keeping up with the best, safest practices of the industry.

The unlocking of information and capabilities trapped in legacy systems allows organisations to become software driven while employees become digitally independent, have access to data and can self-serve to go further, faster on their own.

Companies such as Lyft and Uber, for instance, were able to bypass the lengthy steps required to reading their own map or payment systems, choosing instead to leverage open APIs from places like Google and Stripe.

Software driven doesn’t mean code driven

If a digital transformation is necessary, does this mean that every head of a company now has to become code literate?

Not in the least.

As companies embrace newer systems, IT are able to create integrations that streamline business processes on their own, with little to no programming. The full agility of creating integrations is being unleashed as companies adopt reusable APIs. As such, the work that goes into integrating two apps doesn’t go to waste. When a team creates one, they are able to reuse the code again for a new API that with similar functionality.

API platforms take the grunt work of repetitive coding out of the mix, with pre-built templates put together visually. Instead of messing with code, drag and drop features cover the majority of use cases that IT departments will come across.

Non-technical teams can see hierarchies and dependencies in a visual chart that makes intuitive sense. If any breaks happen, the team can quickly see where it happened and how that will affect their platform both up and down stream.

API platforms allow IT to choose different levels of permissions and security access for each team member. They don’t need to develop specific APIs to address each person’s needs.

Automated defences make sure companies are compliant with the latest security procedures.

APIs are paving the way for organisations to become more software-driven by keeping the central-ised data produced more secure, while still allowing access to tools. Digitally untethered employees remain safe, and employers can develop systems more efficiently and quickly, without sacrificing exposure toward a positive experience for patrons.

Other useful links:

Open Banking - how APIs are fast tracking growth

Get started with MuleSoft and API-led connectivity

How to prove ROI from your API-led integration

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