API Management Ensures Flexibility and Frees Resources

Public and internal APIs need to be secured, controlled and optimized

Programmableweb.com lists a number of 22.885 public APIs: Within the last five years this number has more than doubled. However, it includes only APIs that are accessible externally. Apart from that there is a high number of internal APIs: The number of those is, according to the experts at Crisp Research, likely to be three to four times higher. Simply having those programming interfaces is of course not enough: Like other software components these numerous connection points need to be kept up to date, developed, managed, secured, controlled, and optimized. If they are not, problems can arise.

This requires structured API management, which ensures reliability, flexibility, quality, and speed. To achieve these goals and ensure that both public and internal APIs can be used and are secure, such a solution should at a minimum have access controls, rate limits, and usage policies. Using established API management platforms lets CIOs and CDOs save time and reduce complexity, freeing resources to run an API program that supports business goals.

API management solutions should cover the following areas:
  • Interface Catalogue: The catalog acts as an API directory or registry.
  • Developer Portal: Such portals are among the best practices of API management. They are typically used to provide API documentation and onboarding processes for developers (such as registration and account management).
  • API Gateway: An API Gateway is the single point of entry for all clients. The Gateway also defines how Clients interact with the APIs by applying these policies.
  • API lifecycle management: APIs must be manageable from design through implementation to the end of their lifecycle.
  • Analytics: You need to know your APIs at all times, for example, which API is called by which customer/app and how often. You also need to know how many APIs were faulty and why.
  • Support for API Monetization: Monetize access to the microservices behind the APIs through usage agreements. API management allows you to define such contracts based on metrics (such as the number of API calls). Consumers can be divided into different levels of access, each of which is then offered a different quality of service.

The performance of the APIs must be ensured as well as their up-to-dateness, which is why a central part of management is also the maintenance of the interfaces and the management of their life cycle. In addition, it is important to provide all appropriately legitimated users and developers with up-to-date information (API documentation) in order to optimize interface use and avoid errors.

The Elemica API Management Store, launching soon, is an example that meets all these requirements for a well structured API management: Elemica will offer the download of several open Supply Chain orders, shipment, and visibility APIs. Documentation and technical support will be available to answer any specific questions that may occur implementing the APIs. Each API is also kept continuously up to date via automatic version control.