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Written by Graham Odds, Innovation Director, Scott Logic

There’s a specific technical capability which already exists within your organisation, but it’s likely that you’re only using a fraction of its potential.

I’m talking about the humble Application Programming Interface (API). Used properly, APIs can unlock genuine digital transformation and free you up to focus on the unique value your organisation delivers.

APIs have existed for almost as long as digital technology itself. They define how digital systems interact with other digital systems — such as how they expose information, business logic and transactional services. For the most part, organisations make tactical use of APIs on stand-alone projects as the means of defining point-to-point connections between two or a handful of systems, to meet specific business objectives.

But when you use APIs properly, they can do so much more for your organisation, becoming a significant strategic enabler or even a whole new business proposition.

It’s very likely that — viewed objectively — your customer interactions, your staff’s roles, and your organisational structures and processes are defined not by the needs of your customers but by the technology estate that underpins them all. Say for example you called your bank to speak about both your current account and a personal loan — how likely would it be that you would be passed from pillar to post because the different services are managed using different systems, operated by people in different departments?

It doesn’t have to be that way. When APIs are used to their full potential, they liberate you. You can shape your technology to suit your propositions and not the other way around. Ultimately, APIs allow you to think freely about your organisation and the value it can deliver, keeping pace with customer expectations in a world that is changing ever more rapidly around you.

I have written a new white paper which explores the potential of APIs in more detail and attendees of our events in Digital Leaders Week can get their hands on a copy.

Revisit APIs with us in October

Join us in Digital Leaders Week (12–16 October) for APIs Revisited , a series of non-technical online events which will encourage you to look again at APIs and the transformative role they could play at your organisation. Every day, 3pm-4pm will be ‘API Hour’!

I will start the week by illustrating what good (and bad) APIs look like, and explaining their oft-untapped business potential. Each API Hour after that, one of Scott Logic’s experts will dig deeper into specific topics, from taking control of legacy to defining your API strategy to reflecting on the opportunities of open APIs. Here’s a summary of each of the events and a link to register — we look forward to seeing you there.

API Hour: The oft-untapped business potential of APIs

Graham Odds, Innovation Director

I will provide a non-technical introduction to APIs and their typical current state in large, longstanding organisations. I’ll also illustrate what good looks so that you are better able to cut through much of the technical obfuscation. Finally, I will explore the variety of potential benefits that APIs done ‘properly’ can bring to your organisation, bringing this to life with real-world success stories.

API Hour: Open APIs — compliance or opportunity?

Nick Betts, Principal Consultant

Nick will talk about the real use cases for Open APIs, and how organisations are starting to move from a compliance mindset to seeing the opportunities that opening up data can deliver — from compliance-driven APIs within the banking sector, to future opportunities that OpenFinance may offer to consumers, to the adoption of Open APIs in other industry sectors.

API Hour: A fresh look at taking control of legacy

Richard Edwin, Principal Consultant

While APIs have become a trusted approach to tackling the legacy problem, all too often the true value and benefit of APIs becomes lost as other factors are prioritised. Richard will consider in this session how legacy dictates our view of APIs and explore how, with a fresh perspective, we can maintain focus on recognising the full value of APIs in achieving control of legacy.

API Hour: Developing an API strategy

James Heward, Solution Architect

An API Strategy is vital for focusing resources, aligning stakeholders and ensuring that APIs deliver a good return on investment. James will provide his perspective on the major elements of an API strategy and discuss some of the areas to consider when designing one.

API Hour: Building modern Web APIs

Mark Jose, Technical Principal

Mark will explore in this talk a little of the history of the term API and cover what he considers to be the three most current use cases. He’ll talk about REST and GraphQL, with a look at the evolving standards in the ‘API over the internet’ space. He’ll also look at how the popularity of Event Sourcing has led to a rise in the number of Asynchronous APIs and how standards are emerging in this area too.

Originally published at https://digileaders.com on September 18, 2020.

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