APIs enabling digital transformation
Application programming interfaces (APIs) have come a long way in Australia. Once the domain of geeks and freaks, businesses are starting to realise the tangible benefits. I had the honour of presenting at the recent APIdays Australia Summit in Melbourne, and couldn’t help but notice just how much more sophisticated the community’s understanding of APIs has become in the last 12 months alone.
This was only the second time the event had been held in Australia, but it attracted more than 400 delegates, not just from the technical level but also senior decision-makers and industry leaders with their stories and experiences.
Founded in Paris in 2012, APIdays is a series of annual conferences staged across three continents with the aim to evangelise the usage and the opportunity of APIs for corporations and businesses. Each conference is a two-day event, with one dedicated track for the business of APIs and one for the technical discussions around API management.
For API vendors, the summit is an opportunity to listen and engage in a two-way dialogue with the community and tap their wisdom and experience as a source of innovation for product development.
Globally, the conference series attracts more than 5000 business and technical attendees with over 250 speakers each year. Its growing popularity proves how far API management has come in the enterprise sector as companies across many industries grapple with digital disruption and their own transformation agendas.
From the why to the how
While last year’s discussions in many ways still centred on the rationale for APIs, this time around the focus was very much on the how to make them work (and that it’s not always easy). We now see a sound understanding of APIs being more than another technical way to integrate systems and applications.
And CIOs are working hard to change the mindset from a ‘failure is a disaster’ to a ‘failure is a way to learn quickly’ culture. In this brave new world, more and more IT leaders champion this new form of business enablement and build teams around DevOps methodologies to test out new ideas.
Another change of tune is evident in the ‘API as a product’ trend. Businesses recognise the benefits of a product-over-project approach to deliver digital innovation and better customer experience. Digital transformation is not about short-term projects, but rather a strategic decision that affects the entire company.
Customer and business partner demands have changed. APIs act as the clutch between existing infrastructures and digital front ends, with the aim to go to market faster with new products and ultimately opening up the ecosystem to third-party developers.
As James Bligh of National Australia Bank (NAB) explained in front of a full auditorium at APIdays, Australia’s financial services sector is actively embracing APIs as a way to deliver new omnichannel experiences to the customer.
This is consistent with a recent study commissioned by APIdays and Axway that found that several banks were already using an API to power their mobile apps.
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