APIs are the building blocks of information highways in a 21st-century enterprise. They integrate data from different business workflows to deliver more value. Through seamless information sharing, they enable businesses to forge profitable partnerships. Most importantly, APIs foster open innovation through a data-driven approach to enhancing products and services.
No matter what stage of API adoption, your organization is in, working with APIs entail both opportunities as well as challenges. APIs provide an excellent opportunity to serve your customer, employees, or partners. But on the other hand, managing many APIs at scale and ensuring their effective utilization is a chore that needs regular attention. This calls for a systemic approach to manage APIs via a dedicated API hub.
The Platform of Choice for Enterprise-wide API Management
The Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub is an enterprise-grade, API management software that solves the problem associated with API adoption. This platform abstracts many of the day-to-day administrative pain points of API adoption, such as API governance, key management, multiple bill payments, and usage dashboards.
If you are a C-level executive contemplating a move to prioritize API adoption across your enterprise, then you are at the right spot. In this blog post, we cover the core aspects of API management and provide you with a glimpse of the Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub’s value proposition for your enterprise.
The Fundamental Tenets of Effective API Management
The API model of service delivery is a well-established business model. When you look at the APIs provided by some of the famous companies like Twilio, or Stripe, you realize how incredibly powerful these APIs are. Most third-party APIs are available as a freemium service, so developers can readily leverage these APIs in their code. It is easy to get carried away by the ubiquity of APIs and use them across your enterprise without much oversight.
Enterprise-wide adoption of APIs requires a bit of pre-planning. You must exercise some level of management oversight while adopting third-party APIs in your projects. It is a double-edged sword. You use them judiciously, and you derive much value out of them. However, if the API selection is made on an ad-hoc basis and utilization goes unchecked, you end up risking your product due to lousy API performance.
That’s where the Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub platform comes to the rescue. This platform acts as an orchestrator between API creators and API consumers. It also integrates with internal API gateways so that internal APIs developed by a department within the enterprise are accessible for consumption across other departments and teams.
The Enterprise Hub is built around three tenets that are fundamental requirements for the effective management of APIs at scale.
1. Single Window of API Discovery
Any decision to use an API for your project starts with discovery. After all, you have to search for a suitable API that fits your project requirements and business needs.
Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub is linked with Rakuten RapidAPI’s public API marketplace. It is the world’s largest API marketplace, with over ten thousand third-party APIs for accomplishing simple to complex tasks. It provides a single-window for searching APIs.
The API discovery is not limited to API search result listing alone. The Enterprise Hub provides a few features to expedite the API selection, such as
- Providing API Categories across industry verticals and use cases.
- Evaluation and testing of APIs.
- API statistics indicating its popularity and performance .
2. Single Point of API Access
The Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub is designed to ensure that you have a single key to access all the APIs. This principle dramatically simplifies the developers’ effort. Instead of using separate keys for invoking each API, developers use one key to access all APIs.
The platform ensures that you have a single key for your application workspace. All APIs subscribed through your workspace are accessed with the same key. For facilitating better management of keys, the platform also provides the following features.
- Ability to create of multiple application workspaces, with unique keys.
- Addition, removal, and editing the keys for rotation.
- Defining multiple keys.
3. Single View for API Analytics
Using multiple APIs also leads to the problem of analyzing them individually. Thankfully, Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub has an integrated analytics dashboard. You can get a glimpse of the usage and billing reports of all the APIs in a single view.
The analytics view gives you the option to analyze multiple APIs based on
- API Usage graph and call logs.
- API name and endpoint filtering
- Data up to last 365 days (1 year)
Value Proposition of API Management Platform
Any decision to adopt an API management platform requires buy-in from multiple stakeholders across the organization. However, the circumstances under which the indent for deploying an API management platform is initiated can differ.
It is either the outcome of the management foresight to adopt an API-first approach or a result of ongoing chaos due to fragmented API usage.
In the former case, a senior manager or a c-level executive is the most likely person to champion this cause. Usually, this decision also accompanies an organization-wide charter to update policies and processes such that all functions of the enterprise strive to make the most out of available third-party APIs wherever possible.
Fragmented API usage is the standard norm in many organizations. In such cases, different departments consume APIs, without any inter-departmental consultation. Over time, this leads to problems such as duplication of APIs, or non-conformance of APIs concerning the organization’s policies. In the worst case, it leads to unauthorized or unaccounted usage.
No matter the situation in your organization, it is never too late to adopt an API management platform by following a well-defined API governance framework. By embracing this approach, you can expect to improve a few of the enterprise-wide metrics that drive your business forward.
Here are the broad parameters that underline the success of your API adoption using an API management platform.
An API management platform makes the API governance processes in your enterprise much leaner and streamlined. It results in higher productivity, right from API discovery to the day to day API management chores.
The Rakuten RapidAPI’s API Marketplace has the most extensive reach of third-party APIs in the world. It contains the best enterprise APIs suited for various tasks. This eliminates random API search and trials through various third-party API provider portals.
With Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub, you can expect many fold productivity gains across the enterprise by having direct access to the API Marketplace to identify a set of APIs approved for organizational use. When these approved APIs are discoverable and accessible across departments via a single window, API adoption becomes faster. It boosts accuracy in choosing APIs and reduces the pressure on employees in managing APIs.
Apart from that, Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub also allows APIs, internal to the departments, to be discoverable and accessed across the organization. It can seamlessly integrate with the existing API gateways hosting the API via internal infrastructure.
Efficiency is all about getting more done with less. Many enterprises choose to develop internal APIs for a common purpose. But these APIs are not reused by other departments, and then there is a problem. In large enterprises, different teams work in a siloed environment, either due to geographical separation or organization structure. These circumstances become an impediment for sharing information, which also applies to internal APIs.
As an example, take a company that is building an e-commerce portal, which, later on, introduces a mobile app. Initially, the portal team develops an internal API for product searches through the web portal. When the app team is in the process of developing the app, they may not be aware of the existing product search API, and therefore, choose to build their own.
With Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub, internal APIs can be hosted and made accessible across the enterprise, thereby reducing the development time for the teams who are part of different departments but need common functionalities to achieve their goals.
The Enterprise Hub also follows the standard Open API specification for defining the API, which presents a unified interface for API documentation. In this way, different departments of the enterprise, whether they are API producers or consumers, can collaborate more efficiently.
3. Ease of Maintenance
On a day-to-day basis, API maintenance involves a few tasks. These tasks range from managing the access to APIs to managing the lifecycle of APIs. Checking the API usage and monitoring any suspicious API activity also comes under the purview of maintenance.
With fragmented API usage, without the oversight of an API management platform, the maintenance of APIs and all the associated tasks are dependent upon their respective API provider’s portals. It leads to diminishing returns and adversely loads the API governance team.
With a single view of API analytics, Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub ensures that everybody across the enterprise has a single source truth about API usage. Moreover, Enterprise Hub expedites the change management of the APIs by enabling a unified process that is the same for all APIs irrespective of the API Creators.
4. Security & Compliance
Usage of third-party paid APIs calls for stringent measures to avoid unsavory surprises. With API security concerns looming large, it is crucial to choose APIs wisely. Some APIs follow a crowdsourced model for building their service. These APIs accept data from API consumers as part of API calls. This practice might be against organizational policies. It also leads to serious compliance issues in conforming with standards such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
While the process of choosing the right third-party APIs is best left to the discretion of the API governance team, the biggest threat in managing third-party APIs is unaccounted usage leading to billing leakage. This is an important aspect of API governance, wherein different employees of an enterprise are assigned roles to restrict their access to specific operations on the APIs.
In Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub, role management and role-based access to APIs is an inherent feature of the platform. Additionally, the API governance teams have access to improved reporting via a single view for API analytics. With this feature, benchmarking API usage can be well managed. This is possible due to monitoring of the API usage and recording the usage statistics across various projects that are consuming the APIs.
Serving the Different API User Personas
As you can imagine, there are several user personas served by the API management platform. Each of them serves a specific purpose concerning the overall harmony of API adoption within the enterprise. However, these personas span across engineering teams and management layers. Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub supports an enhanced policy framework to manage access to API across the enterprise, by various personas.
1. Enterprise Hub for API Creators
API creators are mainly of two types, external and internal. External API creators are companies who build online services and make them available via third-party APIs. Internal API creators are the maintainers of an internal API within the enterprise.
Enterprise Hub helps the API creators to
- Publish APIs: By listing their APIs on the Rakuten RapidAPI’s marketplace catalog, external API creators get much exposure to monetize their APIs. For internal API creators, it provides a streamlined system to expose the APIs across the enterprise.
- Define Usage Limits: API creators have the power to set usage limits on APIs. They can offer multiple tiers of API subscription by defining usage limits and price for each tier.
- Monitor and Analyse Usage: API creators get a management portal of their own to measure the acceptance of their API through analytics dashboard and access to logs.
2. Enterprise Hub for API Governance Teams
The API governance team has the most significant responsibility in maintaining the harmony between the API creators and API consumers. They are also responsible for provisioning and monitoring access to all the APIs and look out for security or compliance issues.
Enterprise Hub helps the API governance team to:
- Control API Visibility: API governance team gets a policy framework to be defined and enforced to control the visibility of an API throughout its lifecycle.
- Define API Readiness Requirements: API governance team is also responsible for the approvals to vet the APIs, especially the third-party APIs.
- Track API Usage: The governance team gets its own management portal to analyze and get an idea about how the APIs are utilized across the enterprise.
3. Enterprise Hub for API Consumers
API consumers constitute the largest share of the typical archetype of a person who uses the Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub. These are the developers, software architects, and CXOs who decide to leverage the API in their respective projects.
- Discovery Available APIs: API consumers have a way to discover relevant APIs as per their search intent of industry category.
- Test and Evaluate APIs: API consumers get to readily test and evaluate the APIs to get an idea about the API’s endpoints and request/response format.
- Provision API Access: API consumers have the advantage of relying on a single key and a unified protocol to access all APIs within their project.
Make Your Enterprise Future-Ready with APIs
The explosive growth of APIs was predicted way back at the onset of the last decade. A lot has happened in terms of the evolution of APIs since then. With the advancement in tools and technologies, and the standardization efforts, the API adoption is only going to grow.
As a leader of your enterprise, you have the opportunity to leverage the API economy to spearhead your company’s growth. Surely there are challenges along the way. That’s why Rakuten RapidAPI’s API marketplace, along with the Enterprise Hub, has been purpose-built to help your enterprise adapt to this paradigm shift.
The Rakuten RapidAPI Enterprise Hub is the one-stop solution for enterprises to manage APIs. The Enterprise Hub enables organizations to define a centralized policy and governance framework to access both internally hosted APIs as well as external, third-party APIs. It comes with comprehensive analytics and monitoring capabilities to keep a track of API consumption along with a rich set of features for API governance at scale.
If your organization needs help in setting up a system to manage third-party APIs, send us an inquiry right now.