Achieving true API partner integration occurs when all of the external stakeholders upon which your business operations rely are connected, and able to leverage your API consistently. Enterprises grapple with more new-age partner requirements than ever before, and the speed and the scale at which the information needs to be shared is rising at the same time. Seamless communication among multiple partners is vital, but there are five important considerations helping to ensure your API is effectively integrated.
Are your API partners able to consume your APIs easily?
No enterprise is an island. Modern businesses require partners to succeed – from financial services, cloud-hosting services, shipping providers, and many more. The challenge is how to ensure seamless communication across all these diverse stakeholders, so that every key aspect of your company’s processes is on the same page. Your partners need to be able to access key information from your company, and they need to do so in a manner that is easy, timely, and accountable.
An integrated API, or application program interface, is a digital solution creating clearly defined methods of communication among various software components. With effective API integration, your business can join multiple applications, platforms, or other systems together in a seamless process to keep operations consistent, and partners informed.
It is critically important to design your API with consistent ease-of-use in mind. You and your partners will expect their time to be used as efficiently as possible. And you need your partners’ operations to be as simple as possible, so that mistakes are avoided at every level. Make sure you provide your partners with an API playbook that outlines relevant scenarios and offers clear guidance on operations. The more time you invest into creating a comprehensive, digestible API playbook, the more benefits your company will receive via reuse, and independent completion of tasks.
How secure are your APIs when you share data with your partners?
Even though modern business infrastructures increasingly require it, sharing any data or aspect of your business operations with external partners can be an intimidating process. A firm’s data is often its lifeblood, and your API should be designed by a firm with a shared commitment to security and accountability.
From user and application authentication, role-based access control, multi-factor authentication, and more, your API needs to include the latest security factors to keep your firm protected. Make sure your API provider responds to your needs by delegating access control to your partners. That way, they can access the data and operations they need while keeping your broader assets in place.
Web based security options are also vital. WS-Security helps many businesses achieve their general needs as a message-level standard that protects SOAP messages through XML digital signature, encryption, and credential propagation using security tokens. A SAML Assertion is one such possible token, but others may be available based on your company’s needs.
How do you plan to manage API versioning?
A major obstacle for businesses sharing data with API partners is the matter of updates. It can be difficult for partners to update their applications each time the API changes, so API versioning is critical. An effective versioning strategy allows partners to continue using the same platform and migrate their applications to the new API seamlessly.
You can manage API versioning through the URL path, which means including the version number in the URL path. There are other coding options here as well, like using query parameters as a way to version their API, versioning through custom headers, and content negotiation that allows businesses to further customize their versioning strategy.
Can you scale your APIs on demand as per the partner request?
As your company grows, and operations expand, your API needs to scale accordingly. Make sure your API software is extensible (i.e., extendable) at the most basic level. By building scalable architecture into your API from the beginning, you avoid costly restructuring that comes from adopting scalability later in the process. Make sure, also, that your API is designed for success. Your API system must be able to handle the traffic of one million requests as well as it does for one hundred.
An API provider that under-builds could really harm your growth potential. It is not enough to simply plan for a lot of traffic. Explore building out support for diverse types of data formats, and consider adopting additional language implementations. Using common as well as esoteric coding languages for your API will allow your system to develop further and iterate more easily in response to partner requests. There are more technical pathways to explore with your API provider, but basically, if you are anticipating growth, scalability for your API and API partners is key.
Have you published SLAs?
Service Level Agreements, or SLAs, are agreements between two parties about what services will be provided. They can include everything from custom support reply-times, to product delivery, and more. To keep your API partners accountable and informed of their responsibilities, having clear, published SLAs are paramount. First, identify your own team’s needs and priorities internally. Then, collaborate with your partners to ensure these expectations are reasonable and manageable. That way, there is buy-in on both sides that will help your processes avoid interruptions moving forward.
Get help integrating successfully with your API partners
No matter what your business does, API connectivity solutions can help you do it more effectively. To stay on the cutting edge of modern business operations, you will need new systems of engagement to interact seamlessly with customers and stakeholders.
CAPIOT has proven expertise and a complete suite of accelerators for API implementations in the retail, banking, insurance, travel sectors, and more. Our experience allows us to build API solutions that connect all of your business’s stakeholders through elegant API operations. This coupled with our ecosystem of technology partners allow us to deliver measurable RoI within 8-10 weeks. If you require more effective communication with partners through API, get connected with a CAPIOT expert today.