API Business Models

Managing trust in the API ecosystem

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Valtter Rajakannas is a manager at OP Financial Group. He is responsible for building the API management capability for OP. In this article, he talks about managing trust in the API ecosystem.

OP Financial Group consists of three business segments. The first one is retail banking for our private and SME customers. The second one is corporate banking for our corporate and institutional customers. And finally, the insurance segment for our insurance customers. OP consists of 108 banks. We have three core values: people first, making business responsible, and progressing together. This means that we have a developer-first approach and take care of the API management and the service infrastructure responsibly.

Trust is divided into three fundamental components – authenticity, logic, and empathy. These same principles apply to digital trust. Digital trust is the confidence and belief that individuals and organizations have in the security, reliability, and integrity of digital systems, networks, and interactions.

If we look at OP’s API traffic for the past five years, at the beginning of the five years, we had 100 million API transactions. Now, the business and landscape have evolved, and we have nearly three and a half billion transactions per month, and the number is growing. During this period, we have refined the API platform and the trust in the platform. The four core elements were understanding the operational backbone, relaunching the portal, establishing the API portfolio, and managing the API ecosystem.

When we started the API productization journey, we built a foundation for our API infrastructure. From a technical architecture point of view, we identified some key anchoring systems, which defined the standard data exchange mechanisms, the REST API, some metadata elements, and error handling. It builds a common understanding of how systems should exchange data. This is the first point on building trust. As the story continued, more participants and systems came into play, making the productization process beneficial. We started understanding our API products, service providers, responsible teams, and consumer types. We developed developer portals for internal and external use. We provided a standardized way to provide APIs. We already had a trust for API transactions on the API platform. Now, we have built an understanding of how these API products should be monitored. The challenge was when the system scaled to thousands of APIs and several hundreds of actors on the platform. This was handled by portfolio management. This describes the product, ownership, value, risks, opportunities, etc. This builds accountability in the platform.

Today, we manage over three and a half million transactions with over 500 products, 2000 services, and 5000 actors. At this point, we know every actor in the ecosystem and can define their detailed responsibilities.

Understanding the API platform and different actors helps us understand each participant and their responsibility in the ecosystem and helps us build trust.

Valtter Rajakannas

Valtter Rajakannas

Manager OP Group
I'm Interested of transforming business processes, applications and systems into outperforming services and have lately been working with API- and ecosystem management in the financial sector. Subject areas that I have found exceptionally interesting include Enterprise- & Solution Architecture, e-Commerce, Digital Services, Machine Learning and Internet of Things.

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