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TIBCO NOW Day 2—APIs at the Heart of Digital Transformation

Blog: The Tibco Blog

Day two of TIBCO NOW was all about transforming your organization into a digital business. We learned from the successes of Air France KLM and a leading retailer while receiving vital insights into the market and the strategies you’ll need develop to make your transformation a success.But what does it mean to be a digital business? Director of Digital Strategy Tameez Sunderji outlined the market conditions that are making it crucial for companies to focus on their transformation, highlighting how rapidly corporate lifecycles are shifting. Citing a study from Innosight, he explained that, in 1958, the average company listed on the S&P 500 could expect to stay in the index for 61 years. Today, that number has dropped to 18 years and seems to be falling. The businesses that survive and thrive tomorrow need to transform to leverage digital technologies today.

The common elements of a digital business, Sunderji explained, lie in their agility, ability to create and exploit new business models, leverage and create platforms that allow for this agility and to rapidly and seamlessly scale as their business needs change. The most successful businesses are leveraging cloud technologies to build their platforms and relying on APIs and messaging as the digital glue to tie them together.

This message was brought home by Mirjam van der Wolf and Marthe van Rooij from Air France KLM. Their API program  is the core of their digital transformation, providing a platform upon which they can build experiences that helps enhance customer intimacy with their flights and services regardless of the devices their customers use. For example, the API program they implemented dramatically reduced the complexity and improved the performance of their check in process. For customers, they have complete control over the flights and seats they select and receive their booking confirmation and boarding pass in the format that suits them best: email, mobile or paper.

Behind the scenes, it has allowed the Air France KLM team to rapidly innovate and create new interfaces and services to meet customer demands with a maximum reuse of code and services. Their successes have led them to focus on maturing and enhancing their existing program with hypermedia APIs to drive most of their digital ecosystem. Their use of Mashery in a hybrid configuration—leveraging Mashery local within their datacenters where appropriate and moving to the cloud to manage customer client applications—has allowed them to rapidly scale up their program securely and sanely by taking advantage of Mashery’s interface to act as a single pane of glass for their entire API infrastructure.  They’re now looking to expand their program to new devices such as the Amazon Echo and flirting with the open developer community through events such as the Dutch Open Hackathon.

Tameez Sunderji took to the stage again later in the day to talk about bringing your API program to market. He outlined the questions you need to address that will help light the path to API program success, focusing on the business needs that drive the requirements. Among those drivers are the need to be more agile to adapt to changing market and customer expectations, enhanced distribution and revenue generation through strategic partnerships and the ability to rapidly innovate to build and protect the brand while also enhancing staff recruiting efforts.

Sunderji emphasized the need to make it easy for developers to adopt your APIs through easier onboarding, strong developer support resources, and easy to consume APIs. This was a point strongly echoed by David Moyer from a leading retailer’s API Management team.

This store has been an iconic brick and mortar retailer for more than a century. They further cemented their position is a leader in retail when they launched their website in 1998. They have continued to build out their digital infrastructure to allow their customers to shop in the ways best suited to their needs. In 2013, the retailer saw their mobile traffic surpass their desktop traffic, a trend that continues to grow today.

APIs are at the center of their digital strategy. They partnered with Mashery from the beginning to help them streamline access to their data, build strong strategic partnerships and ensure their services remain performant, even under the seasonal crush of traffic that comes between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Moyer emphasized the need to make it easy for developers—whether internal or external—to use your APIs by providing solid support through up-to-date interactive documentation and well-designed RESTful APIs.

This last point was the focus of the session I led that afternoon titled “Designing Adaptable APIs that Delight Developers”.  The challenge with REST is that it’s not so much a set standard as it is a collection of best practices. In this session, I introduced many of those best practices as well as methods your development teams can use to uncover the resources, relationships, and data representations that will make your APIs attractive to developers without sacrificing the agility that allows you to rapidly adapt to their changing needs. I capped the session off with a discussion about best to support developers by providing both static and interactive documentation through a developer-focused portal.

To help our customers make all of this easier to implement, the TIBCO product team introduced our new Cloud Integration product. With TIBCO Cloud Integration, you can easily integrate your existing cloud investments with your applications by integrating them and exposing their services through common messaging and API protocols. The APIs your create through TIBCO Cloud Integration can be easily managed through Mashery; the two products are designed to complement one another completely.

It should be clear with the raft of product announcements so far that TIBCO is committed to helping you make the transformation to a digital business easier and more efficient. Though tomorrow is the last day of the conference, there’s a ton of great content left to cover—tune in then!

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