Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, John Wetherill, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Microservices Journal, Web 2.0, Security, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

The API Distribution Market Is Due for Disruption

APIs are the coding interfaces that enable developers to create third-party apps, plug-ins, and add-ons

Speaking after the API Strategy and Practice Conference in New York last February, Bruno Pedro - CTO for app integration platform CloudWork - declared: "The API distribution market is due for disruption." According to this chief app integration architect, how businesses will release APIs in the future is heading for a complete overhaul.

APIs are the coding interfaces that enable developers to create third-party apps, plug-ins, and add-ons that extend the functionality and potential of existing Software-as-a-Service products. Pedro's comments reframe the entire API industry and, if pursued, would fundamentally alter the existing dynamics between developers and third-party app businesses.

API Distribution market model

"We're now in a phase of market maturity and people are starting to realize that they need to be careful about what the API is exposing and what the end user will see around the SaaS product," said Pedro after presenting at the API Strategy and Practice Conference, hosted by 3Scale and API Evangelist, and held in New York in late February, 2013.

According to Pedro, the conference was predominantly attended by business representatives ("about 70% of participants, with the rest being developers and technicians").

"One of the main conversations amongst businesses who had their own API was the worry around branding guidelines: how does a third-party app that is built on a business' API give credit and acknowledge the business as the data source and creator?" shared Pedro.

The current distribution model sees SaaS apps release an API and some ("perhaps minimal") documentation, which developers then use to create their own app, add-on or plug-in. SaaS businesses are hoping new customer gains will scale exponentially if developers are able to create and evangelize a useful third-party app quickly, but the downside is that the source app has no control over the look and feel of the experience for the end user. Knowing who will manage support if the API stops working is also confusing and can leave end users disgruntled with a SaaS business even if the third-party app is in no way related to them.

Laura Merling, AT&T Vice-President of Ecosystems and Solutions, sees one part of the disruption solution is to throw away the term "API" altogether. "Don't say API, say capability," was a key takehome from her API Strategy and Practice conference presentation. At US telco giant AT&T, Merling's team is already implementing a disruption to the standard API distribution model. Access to AT&T's capabilities is made available, along with development standards, to a community of integrators who then create the products that will reach end users. With this model, AT&T hopes to better control and optimize the experience for end users who access their data sources via third-party apps.

"CloudWork is also a disruptive model aimed at breaking down the entrenched API distribution model," Pedro explains. "CloudWork supports SaaS businesses to create end user integrations that can then be shared via a self-service catalog. Instead of releasing APIs, we work with the SaaS business to understand the business case where a source app's capabilities can be applied to meet an end user need. As a result, an end user is able to get the full value from their SaaS apps and not have to manually move half-completed tasks from one data process link to the next."

This is an emerging architectural model that has been applauded by Steve Bell, Lean IT expert and author of Run, Grow, Transform: Integrating Business and Lean IT. "This is about adding real value to the SaaS customer in ways that weren't possible before now," Bell states.

"When the idea of an application ‘ecosystem' was first termed by Gartner, it was a very Copernican view of the world, with third-party apps gravitating around a central ERP product offering," Bell explains. "But with an integrated SaaS model, there is an opportunity to assemble a more decentralized, adaptive clustering of applications that creates a different dynamic. The challenge, because the application logic and data is so decentralized and loosely coupled, is to ensure information flow.

"The inherent challenge with the API model is that it can lead to fragmentation rather than flow. You can couple all of these apps together but who has visibility from the ‘line of sight' to the overall value stream?" Bell cautions.

"To be lean, you don't stop at the API or application logic layer, you must look to understand the business' value stream and how it serves the downstream customer. If not properly designed, handoffs and touchpoints can cause delays and defects, which the customer ultimately pays for, one way or another. So it's important to design the process workflow so that value flows horizontally to the end customer in a smooth and interrupted way, with full transparency among the integrated applications."

"CloudWork is essentially a market disruption model that removes all the intermediaries from the process and makes it much easier for a SaaS business to address the needs of the end user customer," Pedro says. "End users think in terms of how an app can help them complete business tasks. The CloudWork approach helps end users keep that focus and ensures a SaaS business is recognized for making that value flow possible".

More Stories By Mark Boyd

Mark Boyd is a freelance writer based in Barcelona, specializing in Software-as-a-service, small business cloud computing, retail technologies, and smart cities.

@ThingsExpo Stories
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Cloud is not a commodity. And no matter what you call it, computing doesn’t come out of the sky. It comes from physical hardware inside brick and mortar facilities connected by hundreds of miles of networking cable. And no two clouds are built the same way. SoftLayer gives you the highest performing cloud infrastructure available. One platform that takes data centers around the world that are full of the widest range of cloud computing options, and then integrates and automates everything. Join SoftLayer on June 9 at 16th Cloud Expo to learn about IBM Cloud's SoftLayer platform, explore se...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise behind this presentation will provide attendees with a leading edge view of rapidly emerging IoT oppor...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make smarter decisions, faster.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Collecting data in the field and configuring multitudes of unique devices is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that can stretch IT resources. Horan & Bird [H&B], Australia’s fifth-largest Solar Panel Installer, wanted to automate sensor data collection and monitoring from its solar panels and integrate the data with its business and marketing systems. After data was collected and structured, two major areas needed to be addressed: improving developer workflows and extending access to a business application to multiple users (multi-tenancy). Docker, a container technology, was used to ...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS solutions that provide a Hadoop flavor either make choices for customers very flexible in the name of opti...
For years, we’ve relied too heavily on individual network functions or simplistic cloud controllers. However, they are no longer enough for today’s modern cloud data center. Businesses need a comprehensive platform architecture in order to deliver a complete networking suite for IoT environment based on OpenStack. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dhiraj Sehgal from PLUMgrid will discuss what a holistic networking solution should really entail, and how to build a complete platform that is scalable, secure, agile and automated.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal an...