Episode 1

How to start your integration journey

Looking for a proven strategy to start a complex API-led integration program? Wondering how to choose business services and underlying systems to implement APIs for the best ROI?

We begin our video series by exploring what is required to establish the right start of any API-led integration journey. In this episode our CCO Vikram Setia interviews Dan Shepherd, COO at Infomentum. Dan has years of experience leading integration projects and is currently working on delivering large and complex MuleSoft programs. Dan is a perfect person to unveil the mystery of APIs and tell us about dos and don'ts of integration design and implementation.

How to start main with captions

Vikram Setia and Dan Shepherd discuss effective API strategy. 

How to start main with captions

Vikram Setia and Dan Shepherd discuss effective API strategy. 

Most businesses are entering the next phase of digital transformation, trying to enhance their customers and employees digital experience. Many companies have a real drive to join the API economy and unlock the power of their data, combining cloud with legacy on-premise systems through APIs. In its early days, there was a tendency to built point-to-point integrations with minimum reusability, which lead to so-called spaghetti-type architecture and duplication of work.

The key is to start with the business as opposed to just the technical problem. Try and identify a project that can deliver real business value within a short time frame.

 

So, how do we start to succeed?

Dan emphasised that the main focus of any integration program must be on the business and people as opposed to just the technical problems. The best way to start would be to identify a project that can deliver real business value within a short time-frame. Dan used one of the Infomentum customers as an example of the right approach to an API-led connectivity design. A global insurance company has a dedicated team of people dealing with thousands of claim submissions daily, manually inputting information into multiple systems. Dan's team started by identifying and connecting those systems through APIs, leveraging the power of the MuleSoft platform, to automate information sharing and free employees to do more valuable creative tasks.

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IT departments are under enormous pressure to deliver results faster. The only way to achieve it is by designing and creating a reusable network of APIs. While planning APIs, the focus should be not on individual systems but the end-to-end business services.

 

People are the power that shouldn't be underestimated. Breaking down a business into smaller sub-domains and identifying business leaders within these domain areas is the fundamental step to a successful API-led implementation. These people become a force that drives projects forward.

 

Dan talked about the importance of setting up Centers of Excellence (CoE) before starting any proof of concept to establish a culture of collaboration. CoE is a group or a team of experts within an organisation that offers expertise and ensures that best practice. A well-established CoE will help avoid duplication of APIs and reuse of the existing ones leading to cost-reduction and faster delivery.

 

According to Dan, creating a delivery capability framework with the appropriate governance and reusability in place is crucial. This topic will be covered in-depth in our next video.

 

To summarise the discussion, any organisation that is starting an API-led integration project should :

  • focus on the end-to-end business service;
  • begin with choosing the right project and APIs that will deliver a business service quickly;
  • avoid spaghetti-type architecture;
  • break the business into sub-domains and identify domain leaders;
  • set up a Center of Excellence and establish a culture of collaboration.

 

Don't miss our next video, where we will discuss the role that governance and reusability play in the success of integration projects.

If you have any questions regarding the issues, we covered in this video or want to discuss your challenges, talk to our integration team.
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