This is a guest post written by Paul Crerand, field CTO, EMEA at MuleSoft – it’s full title is: Why reusable APIs are key to success with composable IT.
Crerand writes as follows.
Over the last year, consumers have acquired a taste for digital services and connected experiences that’s unlikely to ever recede. However, IT teams’ ability to meet these demands is still hamstrung by legacy data silos and the accompanying integration challenges.
Our 2021 Connectivity Benchmark report found that in the UK alone, there was a 21% increase in the number of digital projects organisations needed to deliver in the last year, but only 37% of IT teams were able to complete all of them. This has been a pressing challenge for years, but it’s taken on an even greater sense of urgency in 2021.
Composing a response
As a result of this pressure, there’s been a growing focus on composable IT. This is increasingly being seen as the key to driving the agility, flexibility, and speed organisations need to respond to rapidly changing market demands.
Composable IT allows IT teams to build digital capabilities faster, through the assembly and reassembly of modular components into new services. It also enables this capability to be democratised across business users as well as IT, so more teams have the ability to drive digital innovation and integration projects.
This is exactly what’s needed to drive ambitious digital innovation projects forward much faster, so organisations are looking at how they can make it a reality.
An API-led revolution
One of the most effective solutions is to deploy APIs to connect data and applications in a more consumable, reusable, and securable manner. This enables organisations to unleash innovation across the business—and lessen the burden on IT.
To achieve this, organisations must shift from rigid point-to-point integrations and centralised legacy infrastructure under the control of IT, towards a composable enterprise strategy underpinned by discoverable, reusable APIs.
By reimagining data sources as a network of reusable capabilities that can continually be composed, decomposed, and recomposed into different services by anyone in the business, organisations can drive innovation everywhere, at the speed and scale that the business needs.
Supercharging the cloud
The continued march towards cloud-native architectures has created a solid foundation for a composable enterprise strategy. Applications are now commonly built from hundreds, if not thousands of microservices that provide the core functionality within each digital service.
The capabilities and data these microservices contain can more easily be reused to compose new digital services. For example, an authentication microservice that allows customers to self-verify to access a telephone banking services could be reused to provide the same capability in a mobile or online banking application.
By building each capability as a microservice running in the cloud, it is far easier for organisations to enable IT and business users to quickly find, access, and reuse them in their own digital services.
API-led connectivity offers one of the quickest and easiest ways of making this possible. Rather than tightly coupled point-to-point integrations, organisations can expose their capabilities and data in a reusable way, so they can be used to build new products and services without the need to write a single line of code.
These APIs do one of three things: unlock data from systems, compose data into processes, or deliver an experience. In so doing, they decentralise access to enterprise data, saving IT time and allowing business users to take control. Business analysts, data scientists, customer support teams and other stakeholders now have the autonomy to deliver the experiences their customers and the business are looking for, with greater speed and agility.
Taking an API-led approach to composable IT empowers organisations with the flexibility to “fail fast” in driving digital transformation—trying a wider range of new things and keeping the ones that work, simply ditching those that don’t. This will be increasingly important in 2021 as organisations look to accelerate innovation.
Amidst all this experimentation, API-led connectivity also has provisions for more secure IT governance. Policy settings at each entry point define who has access and what they can do with data. Combined with user segmentation, this supports security-by-design approaches and can greatly reduce the enterprise attack surface.
The bottom line is that if the future of IT is composable, it should also be API-led.