How To Transform Into an API-Driven Architecture

Our Roundtable Sessions are invite-only events hosted by peers for peers that bring together a select group of senior IT leaders from across industries for topic-driven, intimate, dialog on current trends and topics. We hosted this Session featuring a group of CXOs and other IT executives. The group met remotely to discuss transforming into an API-driven architecture, led by the CTO for an American video rental company. This Session was sponsored by Okta.

July 6, 2021

APIs can help deliver data and services to customers quickly, safely, and efficiently. Not only do they make your platforms interoperable, but they also significantly decrease your time-to-market. So whether you want to shift to a micro-service architecture, or want to take your legacy application to the cloud, or both, APIs can help streamline the transition.

What is an API-driven journey?

When asked about the key drivers to move to an API-driven architecture, many participants mentioned ease of integration, speed, and cost-effectiveness. A CIO at a medical center added that APIs also help them in securing patient data effectively.

An executive mentioned that they started their API-driven journey three years ago to decrease their time-to-market. They were using a legacy .NET application and barely had any virtualization in their data centers. Surviving in a competitive industry required them to change and change fast. They standardized their APIs, swapped their legacy infrastructure for cloud-based offerings, and refactored their application into micro-services. They would push a component to the cloud, perform AB testing on it until it was perfect, and then decommission the legacy one. Since there were millions of transactions happening on their platforms, it was easy to figure out whether the migration worked or not.

What are the benefits of being API-driven?

A speaker talked about building an entire micro-services framework that runs on Kubernetes. Since many people within their research organization want fast access to data, having an API-driven architecture really helps. Previously, if someone requested data, it would take weeks before they could get it. Now, they can create cohort discovery tools almost instantly. Not only this, but APIs also allow them to govern their data very granularly.

API Versioning

An attendee told the audience that tools like LaunchDarkly could help with API versioning and release management. Another talked about maintaining and versioning their source code via GitHub repositories. Regardless of how innocuous a change may be, always give your customers adequate time to test. Also, plan for your users to expect your API to behave in specific ways that may not always be documented.

How do you get people on board?

Getting people from different departments onboard with paradigm shifts can often be a challenge. First, it helps to be on good terms with other C-level execs. Getting stamps of approval from the top-most management can pave the way for change. It’s also essential to be able to articulate both the benefits and the risks. Some may be receptive to change when it comes to developers, while others may not be as ready to ditch platforms they grew up with. Finally, for successful execution, you may have to hire some new people and let go of some as well.

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