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2017 Is Quickly Becoming The Year Of The API Economy

Shanghai is a high-rise buildings, the rapid development of the city.

This year more CIOs will have their bonuses tied to how many new business models they help create with existing and planned IT platforms than ever before. This trend will accelerate over the next three years. CIOs and IT staffs need to start thinking about how they can become business strategists first, technicians and enablers of IT second. CIOs must create and launch new business models faster to keep their companies competitive. APIs are the fuel helping to make this happen.

The Urgency To Create New Business Models Is Driving API Proliferation

APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces) are the components that enable diverse platforms, apps, and systems to connect and share data with each other.  Think of APIs as a set of software modules, tools, and protocols that enable two or more platforms, systems and most commonly, applications to communicate with each other and initiate tasks or processes. APIs are essential for defining and customizing Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) too. Cloud platform providers all have extensive APIs defined and work in close collaboration with development partners to fine-tune app performance using them. Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Google, Marketo, Salesforce, SAP Hybris, Twitter and thousands of other companies have APIs available. As of today, the Programmable Web lists 16,590 APIs in its database.

Removing The Hype By Benchmarking API Maturity

Senior management teams need to de-hype the entire issue of APIs as part of their broader business strategies before jumping in to create some of their own. In reality, many APIs are still nascent, emerging from a regular series of test and development cycles with developer partners. APIs also vary drastically regarding stability, reliability, and quality. The majority are aggregations of binary, relatively straightforward commands as they are the easiest to create.

Customer needs are driving the most efficient API development programs. Having a strong focus on the customer and being accountable for how the API’s quality turns out is essential. Customer-centric development is also forcing APIs to scale up faster, providing contextual intelligence and insight over completing simple tasks. These customer-centric APIs are driving greater maturity into development cycles, enabling quicker maturity of API code bases across the board. The following Cloud Platform API Maturity Model provides the context of how APIs must progress to provide greater contextual intelligence to enable prescriptive and cognitive workflows.

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What’s Driving 2017’s Ascent To Year Of The API Economy 
The factors driving 2017 to be the year of the API economy are larger than any pending IPO, recent acquisition or merger. They’re the shifts occurring in how APIs are consumed, integrated into platforms and enriched with greater potential to provide contextual intelligence for customers.  The following factors are contributing to APIs rapidly maturing in 2017:

  • Organizations and their IT teams are starting to focus more on unique API consumption strategies first. Being able to orchestrate different APIs together and enable entirely new business processes and models fast is what matters most. Orchestrating APIs and create real-time integration is a challenging task, however, especially between on-premise, legacy systems and cloud platforms and apps. A noteworthy company to watch in this area is enosiX who has proven expertise in providing real-time integration between Salesforce and SAP enterprise systems.
  • APIs are becoming enablers of omnichannel selling and service business models quickly. The most complex APIs are being built within B2B companies who have the goal of providing a contextually intelligent real-time experience across all the channels they sell through. This is a daunting task and one that would be more efficient if each channel’s unique needs to the persona level were taken into account first.
  • The best APIs are starting to reflect requirements to the persona and customer journey level. Individual persona needs must drive API development, and this encompasses the device(s) they use, apps they regularly work with and the workflows across all apps on a platform. When an app or platform provider has anticipated the persona needs and charted customer journeys, it shows in the APIs created. The APIs reflect customer preferences much more clearly and are more efficient in delivering great apps as a result. Providing an API code base that has these features accelerates new app development and opens entirely new channels for selling.

Bottom Line: APIs are most valuable for creating new business models and streamlining selling strategies across all channels. The greatest revenue potential they provide is removing barriers to growing revenue by integrating platforms and apps so organizations can quickly launch new business models and scale fast.

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Five Reasons Why Every CIO Needs An Integration Roadmap In 2017

The difference between CIOs who lead and those caught in never-ending reactionary cycles is often a strategic IT plan and integration roadmap. It’s the CIOs who take the time to create and pursue an integration roadmap that has the greatest chance of breaking out of always reacting to IT projects and leading them instead. That’s because the majority of inbound requests center on data, reports or analysis only deliverable by integrating two or more systems together.

Five Ways Integration Roadmaps Are Putting CIOs Back In Control

Based on conversations with CIOs across a variety of industries including manufacturing, distribution, aerospace, financial services, and retailing, five factors emerged that led to creating integration roadmaps and getting in control of IT spending and priorities. I’ve summarized these five factors below:

  1. Integration roadmaps are proving to be an effective catalyst for driving purpose-optimized integration strategies, reducing middleware costs in the process. CIOs who create and continually improve their integration roadmaps are prioritizing purpose-optimized integration strategies to more efficiently scale global operations. Creating real-time integration links between SAP and Salesforce is one example of how CIOs are using purpose-driven integration to reduce customer response times for information, improving customer satisfaction in the process.  Enabling real-time, bi-directional data updates without requiring complex middleware coding and mapping of data is a challenging task, and innovative startups including enosiX are excelling in this area today.
  1. Defining a path for reducing ETL spending and dependence on logs to troubleshoot errors and measure performance.Reducing their dependence on ETL is giving CIOs and their teams much more flexibility in how they manage IT It is also freeing up system analysts to work on new projects instead of troubleshooting integration issues. With no automated error handling or recovery mechanisms, many CIOs are gradually phasing ETL out for more modern integration technologies that eliminate error logs altogether.
  1. Investing in the latest technologies that enable business process and application logic is making IT more responsive, helping them break out of a bureaucratic reputation. When I asked CIOs about the best way to increase responsiveness to internal customers, they wanted integration technologies capable of scaling across the back office and selling systems to make them more responsive. By having integration technologies that enable business process and application logic, the time-consuming, and often error-filled, the task of enabling new business processes manually goes away. And, when IT can react faster, their bureaucratic reputation is also on the way out too.
  1. Choosing to reduce and eliminate hand-built adapters and connectors from their IT infrastructures to free up support funds and time on urgent IT project needs today. One large-scale industrial equipment manufacturer has a staff of software developers and engineers who do nothing but keep adapters and connectors written in ABAP running across their ERP, Manufacturing Execution Systems, quality management, and supply chain systems. With production centers in the Midwestern US, China, and Europe, the ABAP team is always busy but never innovating. They are just ‘keeping the lights on.’ Having an integration roadmap is going to get this manufacturer out of the situation they are in today, which is draining dollars and time from IT.
  1. Move closer to quantifying the value IT delivers by showing how an integration roadmap provides support for cutting maintenance costs, consolidating apps and introducing new platforms. The ROI of IT often hinges on how effective CIOs are at reducing costs and still delivering a median or average level of service. By having a plan in place to attack integration challenges and costs, CIOs can immediately prioritize steps to improve service, reduce costs, and attain department and corporate goals.

Originally published on the enosiX blog, Five Reasons Why Every CIO Needs An Integration Roadmap In 2017. 

5 Ways Integration Is Enabling The Factory Of The Future

  • factory-of-the-future-report93% of global product leaders say that predictive maintenance combined with real-time equipment monitoring enabled by integration is a must-have for factory planning today.
  • 75% of global product leaders plan to implement factory of the future initiatives and programs in the next five years or less, starting with Industry 4.0
  • 67% of automotive executives expect that new technologies enabled by real-time integration will enable their teams to reach and exceed lean management and continuous improvement goals starting this year and accelerating through 2030.

Boston Consulting Group’s recent article, The Factory of the Future provides insights into a recent global survey the consulting firm conducted of more than 750 manufacturing product leaders from leading companies in three industrial sectors: automotive (which includes suppliers and original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs), engineered products, and process industries. The survey’s objective is to define the vision for the factory of the future in 2030.  Determining long-term benefits and the roadmap to implementation are also goals of the study Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and its research partner, the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, achieved. The Factory of the Future is a vision for how manufacturers should enhance production by making improvements in three dimensions: plant structure, plant digitization, and plant processes.

5 Ways Integration Fuels The Factory Of The Future’s Growth

Real-time integration based on intelligent objects that connect diverse enterprise systems including SAP, Salesforce and others is the foundation that manufacturing companies must adopt to excel in their Factory of the Future efforts. These real-time objects illustrate the future of Application Programmer Interfaces (API).  APIs that will fuel and drive the Factory of the Future will enrich each real-time integration points across manufacturing networks. Intelligent Objects pervasively used today are the precursors to the most valuable APIs that will enable Factories of the Future tomorrow. With APIs continually improving and gaining the capability to provide insight and intelligence, the essential role of real-time integration in all factories of the future becomes clear.

The following are the five ways integration is enabling the Factory of the Future today:

  1. Real-time integration enables the value chains supporting the Factories of the Future to continually accelerate, excel and improve with additional insight that drives future growth strategies. Bringing greater intelligence into each integration point across the value chains supporting the Factories of the Future leads to new technologies delivering greater lean management benefits. Real-time integration will deliver strong benefits in the areas of lean management, predictive maintenance, modular line setups, and the orchestration and collaboration of smart robots.

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  1. The Implementation Roadmap for the Factory of the Future shows how critical real-time integration is to the Factory of the Future’s vision being attained. Multidirectional layouts, modular line setups, sustainable production, the orchestration of smart and collaborative robotics and attainment of big data and analytics plans all are dependent on real-time integration. The following graphic from the study illustrates just how central integration is to the optimizing of plant structure and plant digitization.

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  1. By integrating large-scale enterprise systems including those from SAP, Salesforce and others with legacy, 3rd party and homegrown systems, every area of production quality will improve. The most urgent need global manufacturers have is finding new ways to improve product, process and service quality without raising costs. Improving the quality of these three dimensions makes any manufacturer more trusted and successful in selling next-generation products.  By aggregating data using real-time integration so that Big Data and advanced analytics can be used to find new patterns, some of the world’s most well-known manufacturers are excelling on product quality. To produce cylinder heads at its plant in Untertürkheim, Germany, Mercedes-Benz uses predictive analytics to examine more than 600 parameters that influence quality. Mercedes-Benz is an early adopter of using Big Data and advanced analytics to improve quality management and bring high precision to engineering. Bosch has implemented software that analyzes data about its production of fuel injectors in real time. The software monitors process adherence and recognizes trends. It automatically transmits information about deviations to operators, allowing them to improve the process accordingly.
  1. Real-time integration across and within manufacturing systems enables multi-directional layouts of production workflows. The Audi R8 manufacturing facility in Heilbronn, Germany, does not have a fixed conveyor so the teams there has greater multidirectional flexibility in building customized vehicles.  Real-time integration across the Audi factory floor is essential to provide R8 production teams with the specifics of how they can best collaborate and deliver the highest quality vehicles in the shortest amount of time. Real-time integration is enabling driverless transport systems, guided by a laser scanner and radio frequency identification technology in the floor, which moves the car bodies through the assembly process. These systems enable assembly layout changes quickly with no impact on existing production. Enabling real-time integration often involves extensive field mapping between different systems, which is a lengthy and error-prone process. Integration technology provider enosiX has developed a unique, real-time integration technology that obsoletes the need for field mapping and supports bi-directional data updates.
  1. Enabling the Factory of the Future’s production operations to flex in response to rapidly changing customer requirements is entirely dependent on real-time, reliable integration of production and customer-facing systems. The implications of the study on the future of manufacturing underscore just how critical it is for manufacturers to be agile enough to create entirely new business models while gaining insight and intelligence into how they can continually improve lean manufacturing. When real-time integration unifies a value chain for any manufacturer, their speed, scale and ability to simplify the complex processes required to serve customers turns into a formidable competitive advantage.

 

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