December 9 2015

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation. It’s everywhere. It’s in our homes in our appliances and thermostats. It has changed where enterprise applications reside. It has also created the phrase ‘there’s an app for that’. Digital transformation is here because of the explosive growth of IoT, SaaS, and mobile devices to name a few.

For many, though, the digital transformation story is not complete. This is due in part to company assets being locked away in core systems, perceived as difficult to integrate and/or difficult to change. Simply put, they are not agile. To enable the transformation, these assets or data need to be unlocked through APIs to allow consumption by customers, partners, and/or employees.

A term that Gartner has coined, Bimodal IT, provides some validity and understanding of this situation. It is a model which segments services into two categories based on requirements, maturity and criticality. Mode one emphasizes scalability, efficiency, safety, accuracy, and is viewed as more traditional. Mode twp is non-sequential, emphasizing agility and speed. To complete the digital transformation picture, we extend this term to consider integration. This is where we define mode one as enterprise systems critical to the business process, a source of record, and contain sensitive data. Mode two is the APIs that fuel the digital transformation. They are delivered fast, very agile and are business driven.

API-Led Connectivity

MuleSoft defines API-led connectivity as ‘an approach that defines methods for connecting and exposing your assets’. This recommended approach packages underlying connectivity and orchestration services as easily discoverable and reusable building blocks, exposed by APIs (API-led Connectivity).

MuleSoft has taken the API-led connectivity as their mantra, the guiding principle for development of their products. MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform is both design-time and run-time delivered on a single, unified platform which enables fast and flexible integrations. Using this approach, along with MuleSoft's Anypoint Platform, APIs can be built quickly to meet the business needs, integrating with enterprise systems, and unlocking the assets or data within these systems. The premise is that the API is just an abstraction and the Anypoint Platform provides the agility layer to enable change over time.

As shown in the architecture below, the Experience Layers (or Mode two in bimodal integration) is where data is exposed and consumed via APIs. An example of one of the MuleSoft products that provides the necessary capabilities is the API Designer. APIs can be designed following best practices, including consumer driven contracts, that meet business requirements. Along with this, MuleSoft has an extensive list of connectors available for traditional on-premise applications, as well as SaaS applications (System Layer) that can be leveraged to enable quicker integration development. The Mule ESB provides the confluence of the two modes enabling the Process Layer, as well as loose coupling between the layers/modes.

API-Led Connectivity Architecture Approach

Source: MuleSoft - API Led Connectivity

APIs are integral to the digital transformation, as such, taking an API-led connectivity approach will put your organization on the path to a successful transformation.

AVIO Consulting can help you adopt an API-led connectivity approach and implement MuleSoft Anypoint Platform using tried and true best practices. We can help to enable your company to successfully join the digital transformation movement.  Let us help you digitally transform your company!

About the Author

Bio

Jennie has over 25 years of information technology experience, the majority of time spent in application integration. She has broad experience in integration architecture design and implementation utilizing several integration toolsets. As an architect, she has experience developing SOA/API Governance Framework and Reference Architectures.

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