Barry O’Reilly, Director, PaaS Business Process Management EMEA
Kulvinder Hari, Senior Director Cloud Integration EMEA
A connected enterprise drives innovation and enables organisations to deliver the superior experience that customers demand. With streamlined cloud platforms and APIs enabling simpler and faster connections at scale, businesses of all sizes can connect and extend their services while staying in total control throughout the integration lifecycle.
Previously, we’ve talked about how integration and innovation are linked. Truly innovative ideas aren’t necessarily about bringing new solutions or tools to your organisation—it’s about connecting existing systems, touchpoints, and data in new ways.
But the way businesses create and manage integration points is also going through a period of transformational innovation. Platforms have evolved to speed innovation, leverage existing investments and deliver rapid business decisions with 360-degree view.
Integration starts in the cloud
Integration has been an important part of on-premise development for some time. But in today’s business world, the cloud is taking integration to completely new levels.
In the cloud, integration tools are easier to acquire, simpler to experiment with, and can connect far more disparate services (with far less effort). Cloud platforms offer visual extension tools that can help you:
In the cloud, it’s easier than ever to join customer-facing portals with back-end payment systems, connect HR performance data with financial reports, or perform any other common integrations across the enterprise.
Not only are cloud platforms simplifying integration and putting powerful capabilities in the hands of more organisations, they’re also helping businesses develop more advanced, truly unified integration strategies to monetise their data, services, and the connections between them.
Enter the API
In a world dominated by the fast-paced digital economy, APIs have become a popular technology to connect and extend applications. By abstracting underlying information and only exposing the information relevant to an integration, APIs have made creating secure new integrations faster and simpler, allowing disparate services to interact with each other and extend their reach.
For example, successful cloud native architectures require a strong API design to tie back into the app as a whole.
An API management solution facilitates the connection of data and business functions so that organisations can enable access to applications via mobile, cloud, and on‐premises environments and can automate a variety of integration scenarios via standard interfaces.
But, as with all integrations that you create and deploy, API’s connections need to be managed sustainably.
As the number of APIs created by businesses increases, businesses need to ensure that their API environments are visible, manageable, standardised, and properly secured. Oracle API Platform Cloud Service for example provides a completely new API management user experience on top of a proven API gateway — from API design and standardization, to security, discovery, consumption, and monitoring.
Why API Management matters
API management allows organizations to realize the value of existing assets by unlocking their full potential. A good API management system provides a simple yet robust platform for creating, documenting, and publishing APIs. It also simplifies the process of finding and understanding existing application services in order to incorporate them into new applications.
API Management in the cloud is enabling a truly hybrid approach to integration, where businesses can continue to make the most of previous investments, while gaining new capabilities on top of them.
A new way of thinking about integration
One great example of a business that has used API integration to transform its services is Trunk Club.
Trunk Club is an online, personalised shopping service that delivers hand-picked clothes to shoppers’ homes. Trunk Club customers share their style preferences with the company online, talk with a stylist by phone or online who then builds a selection of clothes, and view and approve that selection via TrunkClub.com or a mobile application before the trunk is shipped to their home.
Because Trunk Club is built on an API-centric microservices architecture, each element that’s needed to put together a customer’s trunk of clothes—data about customers, products, price, and so on—comes from its own service, and the API pulls it together and puts it into a format that the front end can consume.
Trunk Club uses Oracle Apiary Cloud Service so its developers can easily build and share API models without coding – making collaborative development and all aspects of API management easier. Quite simply, smarter and easier API management has enabled Trunk Club to deliver a truly unique service, tailored to the needs and demands of the modern customer.
Choose what to connect, not how to connect it
Between cloud platforms, API-led integrations, and co-existence strategies, we’ve seen a major shift in the way organisations like Trunk Club can use integration.
In the past, the focus was on the ‘how’. The concern was primarily a technological one: how do you even begin to connect disparate silos across your IT estate? With the rise of simpler cloud integration tools, the question today is ‘what do you want to integrate?’ Now that you know the technology foundations are in place in the cloud, you can shift your attention to what needs to be integrated to deliver the greatest innovations to your business.
In today’s IT environments, almost anything can be integrated to unlock new value. Once you have an idea of what to integrate, the only thing standing between you and true innovation is a functional use case.
But as your integration portfolio grows and the number of APIs and microservices you’re managing grows, it’s essential that you stay in control. Integration can help you design a better-connected future, but integration management ensures that everything you’ve designed continues to deliver its intended results throughout the integration lifecycle.