Customers today expect feature-reach and user-friendly access to technology that makes their lives easier. They expect to use this technology to engage with companies anywhere, anytime, and with any device. Organizations must be able to not just meet, but exceed, these expectations. Failing to do so could result in lost revenue as customers move on to competitors.

A recent study found that organizations with API platforms are 11 times more likely to rate themselves “well ahead of competitors in terms of digital innovation.” This guide will discuss the features of common API management tools and their role in driving innovation.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is an API Management Platform?
  2. Benefits of API Management Tools
  3. Common API Management Tools
  4. How Xplenty Can Help

What is an API Management Platform?

As more companies move their systems to the cloud, the number of services to support those systems is increasing. With such a large ecosystem, it's hard to keep track of these connections. According to Gartner, It is impossible to provide the platform for any digital strategy, build ecosystems, and run an effective API program, without full life cycle API management.

Service management tools are a unified platform that gives organizations insight into their API catalog. The tools support organizations in creating, publishing, and managing connections within their cloud strategy. They also facilitate usage statistics and help enforce security policies associated with each connection.

The Xplenty platform gives customers a big-picture view of their services which helps companies manage their vast catalog of services.

Benefits of API Management Tools

The value APIs are most commonly prized for their ability to reuse. These reuse opportunities are only available when an organization has insight into the code available to drive innovation. Many benefits make them almost a necessity for any reusable code ecosystem.

Increased Agility

An API inventory needs to promote flexibility, agility, and innovation. This can only be achieved when the organization uses management tools to identify opportunities for reuse, innovation, and scale using the code they already have. With reuse, developers don't need to rewrite code. They can simply piece together blocks of code which helps speed time to market to meet customer demand. Thus, the tools support one of the most critical tenets of the Agile framework: responding to change over following a plan.

According to CIO Insights, the additional benefit of these platforms is that “API management also gives the enterprise the flexibility to “future-proof” the overall digital platform ecosystem. By providing a single interface to a particular service and masking the back-end complexities, the service could be enhanced or replaced without any impact on the front-end applications. In addition, APIs can support any unanticipated future uses by making the service readily available as the enterprise’s needs change.”

Modernize Legacy Systems

Legacy systems, by nature, are outdated. They weren’t designed to support modern capabilities such as big data and analytics. However, that does not limit their usefulness and value. Many organizations still run business-critical applications, such as ERP, on these systems. Thus the need to extract data from legacy systems is important. Management tools help developers identify or create services that can retrieve data from these systems.

Seamless User Experience for Customers

Customers’ reliance on technology means they expect an omnichannel experience. Whether they connect through social media, website, or telephone, they expect a seamless experience that supports how they choose to interact with the company’s brand. Management platforms help companies identify and deploy services on channels where customers most frequently interact.

Protect and Secure APIs

Reusable code blocks should be properly secured to limit access to authorized individuals. However, they must also be readily available for developers to gain access to the code to accomplish their work. Management tools support authentication mechanisms. The most common authentication method is handled by using API keys.

With Xplenty’s user-friendly dashboard, companies can identify and leverage the connections in their inventory to drive digital transformation and help create reliable omnichannel experiences for customers.

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Common API Management Tools

Management platforms provide several valuable tools for companies to manage their reusable code inventory. Each of these tools serves a distinct purpose in maintaining a codebase that continues to provide value to the organization. 

Developer Portal

The developer portal is a tool that allows service consumers to discover and request access to the code. Portals also serve as a place to store and provide documentation for the APIs. It is essentially a hub that facilitates a way for developers to manage access to the code.

Gateway

With the myriad of systems and connection points, it is necessary to monitor traffic and access systems. A gateway acts as a filter that sits between the consumer and the services on the backend. The tool intercepts all incoming traffic and performs tasks such as:

  • Authentication
  • Rate Limiting
  • Statics
  • Protocol Translations

Lifecycle Management

API integrations make up a critical piece of digital transformation strategies and are an essential part of helping organizations scale their operations. 

API management platforms benefit enterprises by allowing them to manage the entire lifecycle of their APIs, from their initial creation through all of their development stages and inevitable retirement. 

API management provides a sustainable solution for building, testing, onboarding, and managing APIs while ensuring adequate version control every step of the way.

The five stages of an API lifecycle are:

  • Planning and Designing the API
  • Developing the API
  • Testing the API
  • Deploying the API
  • Retiring the API

Analytics

Analytics are important to help companies improve their reusable connectors. They provide metrics to show how well services are performing. Through these numbers, companies can gain insights such as:

  • How each service is performing
  • Which services are driving value
  • Usage by region or location
  • Which services are powering the most popular apps
  • Performance against assigned Service Level Agreements
  • How the backend applications respond to workload

Monetization

The vast amount of digital assets in a company can drive revenue. Businesses can monetize these reusable code blocks by making these assets available to other companies. Monetization not only drives revenue but opens new business opportunities and partnerships.

How Xplenty Can Help

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Xplenty provides a feature-rich portal for developers, citizen integrators, and business leaders to view, maintain and make decisions about their extensive API catalog.

The ability to leverage reusable assets allows businesses to keep up with customer demand. A company's digital assets are only valuable to the extent a company maintains them and uses them to drive revenue. Common API management tools empower companies with a comprehensive view of their digital assets. With this information, they can identify opportunities to reuse code to foster innovation.

The Xplenty no-code platform is a robust tool that provides all the features a company requires to build, maintain, and distribute reusable code. Sign up for a 14-day demo to experience these features for yourself and see how Xplenty can help drive innovation in your organization.