As part of this blog post series, towards governing the API management practices within an enterprise, we have covered the important C-level roles in part one and responsibilities of the CIO in part two. In this third part, we take a detailed look at the responsibilities of CTO.
API management responsibilities of the CTO’s organization
The CTO has a pivotal role in spearheading the adoption of APIs. The CTO organization defines the API ecosystem and its specifications. It ensures that everybody involved in the API BUILD and API CONSUME stages adheres to these specifications.
Broadly, the responsibilities of the CTO organization revolve around the following aspects.
- Shaping the API ecosystem: For large scale API adoption, it is crucial to view APIs in the context of an ecosystem. An API ecosystem is a virtual registry of APIs that can be tagged to indicate some form of logical grouping or association. Both API creators and API consumers collaborate to create such linkages where APIs are linked or grouped for a specific purpose. There are three ways to look at this concept that fosters API ecosystem development:
- Platform APIs: One of the problems with large scale IT infrastructure deployment is the lack of standardization due to disparate systems. There is a need to unify these systems in a way such that they inter-operate through a standard specification. A set of APIs providing some common functionality to achieve this synergy forms a baseline platform. Additional APIs are built on top of this ecosystem of platform APIs to provide access to the API consumers.
- Service APIs: Every organization has a few basic services that are required across departments. For example, the HR department can expose certain employee-specific information via an API. Various other departments use this API for employee-related processes, such as compensation revision, or leave approvals. A bunch of such HR-related APIs forms the core of the HR services. Similarly, an ecosystem of other Service APIs can also be created.
- Tool/Utility APIs: We are all aware of the specific tools that we use in our day to day work. Think of the humble desk calculator. Similarly, some APIs act as handy tools for particular purposes. In the context of an enterprise application, if a company does business across the globe, then they have to raise invoices based on the local sales tax rates prescribed by each country. An API that provides taxation calculation for all countries comes handy in such cases. Mostly, these are third-party APIs. However, as part of the internal API ecosystem development, utility APIs can be published as tools within the organization.
- Providing the technology direction for API backend tech stack: The advent of API adoption brings new technological challenges. One of them is managing the backend hosting infrastructure for APIs. Thanks to the microservices architecture, it is easy to organize and scale the API backend. However, with enterprise-wide hosting of many APIs, there is a need to follow a well-known pattern to build the backend technology stack, which is optimized for scale and, most importantly, easy to maintain. The CTO organization is chiefly responsible for guiding the design and deployment of this stack.
- Overseeing the API Productization efforts: If the company offers APIs as a commercial service, then those APIs are exposed externally for consumption by customers. In such cases, the CTO has an added stake in API productization efforts. The most crucial thing in API productization is API specifications. The CTO organization provides the guidelines for API specs. Additionally, the specs data formats for requests and responses, API versions, and backward compatibility must be ensured. There is also a need for a separate backend tech stack to manage the scale and security issues associated with public-facing APIs.
- Monitoring the health of API: As always, monitoring APIs’ performance is key to the long-term success of API adoption. Unlike the CIO organization, which focuses on monitoring API governance, the CTO organization is more concerned with the technical parameters that determine APIs’ health. Some of the most important technical parameters include:
- Latency: Average response time for an API request.
- The ratio of error vs. success response: Percentage of error responses.
- Cache hits: Number of times the API cache is hit compared to total API calls.
- Outages: API uptime, or the average API uptime.
How Rakuten RapidAPI helps the CTO
Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub is a one-stop solution that enables the CTO organizations of an enterprise to define and implement successful API management and adoption strategies. Through single window access to all APIs, the Enterprise Hub makes it easy for the technical leadership to discover, test, and consume APIs with ease. It is also integrated with the Rakuten RapidAPI’s marketplace, the world’s largest API marketplace with over ten thousand APIs.
You can explore the API management features of Enterprise Hub to get a better idea of its features. If your enterprise needs assistance in setting up an easy-to-use and powerful API management platform, send us an inquiry right now.