Open everything

Published: July 2, 2018

The increased growth of APIs in the past few years is often misunderstood and under-appreciated. The API (Application Programming Interfaces) movement has played a critical role in both the integration of existing services and the creation of greenfield innovation. To date, many organizations have yet to fully realize the opportunities that an API architecture provides. For many organizations this omission is caused by a failure to recognize that APIs have evolved: The APIs of today are materially better than their predecessors.

In 2018, analysts predict that API-based architectures will underpin strategic deployment of services and platforms. Developers will re-imagining core systems as Microservices, building APIs and then taking advantage of underlying API management platforms.

The rise of DevOps will also push both Microservices and APIs further into the limelight. The plug and play approach of APIs combined with the modular approach of Microservices, helps organizations accelerate development, whilst providing the low maintenance benefits of a standards-based architecture.

Companies are employing Microservices to break down existing systems and rebuild them as independent archetypal business rules. Microservices look to break larger applications into small, modular, independently adaptable services. This simplified approach improves systems efficiency and helps organizations to develop and deploy processes rapidly.

The power of an API approach is best shown in the context of the Open Banking, PSD2 initiative. Open Banking will fundamentally change the finance industry, and this disruption is based around open API-based access to the core data that banks have previously viewed as their private asset. Regulation plus APIs mean that it’s open season for traditional banks, who clearly see the risk of disintermediation.

In essence, Open Banking will redefine the relationship between people and their data. It will affect how consent is requested and granted between the data owner, banks, and new financial service providers. The value of data assets is shifting from the banks to their customers. This trend, in combination with the growing sources of external data a customer can access, will be a relevant topic for many different sectors in the coming years. The days of going to your bank manager for financial advice are well and truly over.

“A primary differentiator among conversational platforms will be the robustness of their conversational models and the API and event models used to access, invoke and orchestrate third-party services to deliver complex outcomes.”

– Gartner

Example 1

B2B Payment Service

Visa is working with the Blockchain start-up Chain. Together they have created B2B Connect, a Blockchain-based business-to-business payment service which facilitates cross-border transactions and direct payments between institutions, cutting out the middleman. The platform is designed to ensure secure and transparent payments between enterprises. The projects are also evaluating live bank-to-bank transactions over B2B Connect. The official commercial launch should occur around the middle of 2018.

Example 2

Open Innovation Platform

Virtusa xLabs’ Open Innovation Platform accelerates innovation by creating rapid prototypes with disruptive technologies.

The platform enables companies to experiment with APIs and full data-sets, enabling them to evaluate the technical feasibility of an idea within a short space of time. The platform provides tool-sets that minimize the time and effort needed to translate ideas into fully functional prototypes.

The Open Innovation Platform provides access to a portfolio of Fintech APIs and a comprehensive banking dataset with 10M customer records and over 40M transactions. In essence, this creates a virtual bank in a box.

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