API Lifecycle Management

Battle-tested APIs – Tech and Business working together

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Jean Burellier is a technical lead with Sanofi. In this article, he discusses the integration of technology and business.

We are all using APIs. Most people may not even know we are using APIs or what is in the API. For example, we use an API when we use a card for payment. Usually, when we talk of APIs, we talk from a technical perspective. They are usually not considered a business solution.

It would be great if everyone could sit around a table and discuss the business. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.

Humans use smartphones, laptops, etc., to perform actions using APIs. But companies and businesses’ APIs are mostly unknown to the majority of people. An API is not a product in itself; it is part of a global product.

An API is always hidden behind a complexity. Yet, it is the core of your system. If you remove the API, the entire system may collapse. You can have an API without a front-end, but you cannot have a front-end without an API. An API is the core of your company. It is a way to generate data and exchange information and data.

 

API-First Approach

APIs should be considered first-class citizens. This means building consistent, reusable, and interoperable APIs for years to come. Maybe, with some evolution, you will need to add more features, but the main idea will stay. Establish a contract on how an API is supposed to behave. This involves spending time planning, designing, and collaborating with stakeholders.

APIs allow companies to break down capabilities into individual, autonomous services. An API-first strategy allows organizations to build APIs that serve all applications. Applications can then be developed and maintained efficiently for all devices, platforms, and operating systems.

Benefits –

  • Parallel development
  • Cost reduction
  • Standardization
  • Speed to market
  • Better developer experience
  • Product-oriented

API Governance

When building an API, you should create a governance group. This group should consist of a mix of people from engineering and business. You can also involve legal, IT, and other teams.

This group should enforce compliance for each use case. They should validate every new API. The governance team should also test APIs and discover missing or shadow APIs.

A bridge between Business and Engineering

With APIs now being a core product, it is only normal that the business should know this, because it can bring value to the business. Collect data across the company, even if the company is segmented or working in silos. Open APIs to new customers and markets. Have a monetization strategy.

To achieve all this, from the engineering side –

  • Provide data to the business about the APIs
  • Be proactive about Analytics and Observability
  • Be a voice on all projects
  • Report success and failures
  • Do not hide the complexity

To achieve all this, from the business side –

  • Involve the engineering side for feedback earlier
  • Directly work with the engineering side to build features
  • Be present for the testing phases
  • Learn the basics about APIs

To summarize, Engineering and Business need to work together to make their API strategy successful.

Jean Burellier
Being associated with the industry since 2012, I have worked as a Developer, Leader, Architect and now Principal Engineer to build, architect and improve solutions based on APIs and real time communication. I have been thanked for my work around automation of processes allowing the companies to greatly increase the efficiency of their workflows while improving the developer experience and the quality in the final product. My colleagues know me as a good communicator who likes to use an interactive approach for understanding the requirements and solving problems of varied scope. Working with a plethora of roles - both technical and business - such as lead architect, staff engineer, project manager and CxO but also legal team I have been able to develop keen eyes for various technicalities which helped me in maximizing our products impact's for our customers.

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