Already doing Mobile, why do I need API Management?

You are already doing well on your mobile initiative, having deployed the first couple of innovative apps. Why shouldn’t you just continue down the current road instead of getting sidetracked by this pesky API management discussion?

Part of the premise for an engaging app is that it has access to interesting data, whether read only or including updates. Put bluntly, un-integrated mobile apps are not engaging. So yes, you want to be opportunistic about building mobile apps, becoming “Mobile in 10 minutes”. But you really need your mobile development teams focusing on innovation, not data integration. Mobile developers lack deep knowledge of backend systems. APIs make it easy to consume backend systems without the need for in-depth knowledge.

You can probably quickly get a mobile development team to agree that it would be great if all the data that they need is easily available via APIs. And those APIs need to be simple, fit to purpose with the data that you need right here and now, rather than being some general purpose service that does too much or too little. And you still don’t need API management, right? Only where do such nicely crafted APIs come from? Somehow the backend owner of the data had to build, deploy and socialize them.

The role of APIs is controlled simplicity. Hide complexity, simplify what the mobile developer sees/consumes, but at the same time provide appropriate business and IT operational control. Trust me you really want those controls on both security and amount of traffic once you start scaling your mobile innovation, preferably policy based so that controls are easy to change on the fly. Of course it all has to be fast and cheap from API construction to API sharing to API control – the approach cannot slow down mobile innovation nor can it break the bank in terms of cost. Ideally, an API ecosystem should be community-centric. An effective API community shows developers the exact APIs available to them for their current tasks, with self-service registration and preapprovals already in place for the APIs that are visible to the community.

These are characteristics that are difficult to achieve (at scale) by just coding away at your APIs. But they are the hallmark of good API management platforms. In other words, API management platforms improve the collaboration between backend owners and mobile development teams. That is why you need API management even when you are already doing Mobile

Connect with me on @ClausTorpJensen or read my earlier blogs. You can also subscribe to the blog list here