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The role of open APIs in digital transformation

The shift toward digital transformation

Digital transformation has become a major trend across a host of industries, from healthcare to entertainment, with application program interfaces (APIs) spearheading the transition. According to a report by research firm IDC, by 2020, 50% of Global 2000 will see the bulk of their businesses depend on their ability to create digitally enhanced products, services and experiences. Nevertheless, many organizations are struggling to put digitalization into practice while managing a complex infrastructure consisting of multi-cloud environments. This article explores how APIs are being leveraged to ease the digital transformation process.

What are APIs?

APIs consist of a pool of tools, resources and directions in an operating system, which allow software developers to extend upon or create new applications. They are typically understood as a code that enables two software programs to communicate with each other. In order to book a flight, for instance, a potential passenger must interact with an airline’s API to obtain access to airline data, flight schedules, routes and ticket prices.

Different types

Not all APIs are created equal, however. Although there are many different types of APIs, they generally fall under the umbrella of three different categories: local APIs, web APIs and program APIs. Local APIs offer middleware services, which allow various applications to communicate through messaging frameworks. TAPI, a technology that allows programmers to develop applications that provide personal telephony to users, is an example of a local API. Web APIs serve as an extensible framework for creating HTTP based services that can be accessed by different applications on various platforms, including the web, window and mobile. And program APIs are founded on a remote procedure call technology, which provides high-level communication but appears as a normal procedure call to the rest of the software.

Benefits

APIs can aid company digital transformation efforts, especially with the switch from legacy infrastructure to a new wave of software updates. According to analyst firm Gartner, for instance, APIs can help decrease friction stirred by bimodal IT, where legacy run-the-business applications (Mode 1) must run alongside solutions with greater flexibility (Mode 2).

“This friction can be minimized by the intelligent use of APIs,” said Paolo Malinverno, research vice president at Gartner. “APIs are the layer through which Mode 1 and Mode 2 can connect, allowing doors to open between the core data and functionality of a Mode 1 application and a more experimental, innovative Mode 2 application.”

Moreover, with more companies leveraging cloud services, APIs can be integrated into public platforms to deploy and manage virtual machines and microservices. In addition, APIs can be automated to handle various workloads, which would otherwise have to be handled manually. Furthermore, APIs allow content to be created, published and deployed across a myriad of channels automatically. Finally, users can optimize APIs in development or test environments, powering an environment down during nights and weekends, and up during mornings.

To learn more about how APIs are enabling digital transformation efforts, check out the video below.

 

ABOUT AUTHOR

Nathan Cranford
Nathan Cranford
Nathan Cranford joined RCR Wireless News as a Technology Writer in 2017. Prior to his current position, he served as a content producer for GateHouse Media, and as a freelance science and tech reporter. His work has been published by a myriad of news outlets, including COEUS Magazine, dailyRx News, The Oklahoma Daily, Texas Writers Journal and VETTA Magazine. Nathan earned a bachelor’s from the University of Oklahoma in 2013. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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