IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced API Harmony with intelligent cloud-based API matchmaking technology for developers as part of a series of technology, product and services announcements to advance the growing API Economy. API Harmony provides a unique developer experience, now using cognitive technologies like intelligent mapping and graph technology to anticipate what a developer will require to build new apps, make recommendations on which APIs to use, show API relationships, and identify what is missing.
The API Economy – a commercial exchange of business functions, capabilities, or competencies as services packaged in APIs – is the driving force behind much of the digital transformation across industries today, enabling business leaders to transform their organizations, build new ecosystems, and monetize core assets, services and products. The API Economy is estimated to become a $2.2 trillion market by 2018.1 According to IT Research and Advisory Firm Ovum, during the next two to three years, the number of enterprises having an API program is expected to increase by 150 percent. 2
APIs, application programming interfaces, are pieces of software that act as technology glue integrating data and business logic that connect systems from multiple enterprises through apps on any device via the cloud. When core information assets are packaged as APIs and shared or sold, enterprises build awareness, increase customer satisfaction through more personalized services, and expand partner networks. By offering new services and software that allow companies to get greater use of the API Economy, IBM is laying the foundation for clouds to behave as one, providing for more consistent cloud integration regardless of the cloud infrastructure.
The new services and solutions include:
Strategy: With IBM’s API Economy Journey Map, consultants who are part of the company’s new cognitive practice will help clients identify key opportunities and gauge their readiness on their journey in the API Economy.
Technologies: For the first time, IBM has infused intelligent mapping capabilities into its API Harmony technology that helps developers use intelligent search technology to quickly and easily find APIs and choose the combination of APIs that will be most effective for a given application.
Ecosystem: IBM is collaborating with the Linux Foundation and leading industry standards organizations to provide an open platform for building, managing, securing, and integrating open APIs.
IBM is providing clients transformational cognitive computing capabilities in the form of APIs that deliver the power of its Watson technology through a comprehensive set of tools and services. IBM’s Watson APIs are managed by IBM API Management on BluemixTM, bringing approximately 30 cognitive-based APIs and capabilities of Ecosystem Partners and developers to industries.
“The API Economy opens up new opportunities for innovation in both business model and technology strategy when enterprises participate with digital business services,” said Marie Wieck, General Manager, IBM Middleware. “To succeed in the API Economy and reach new clients, enterprises need an open ecosystem for trusted exchange and a differentiating strategy for how they monetize those services. IBM is helping guide clients every step of the way into this API Economy as they start their journey to becoming cognitive businesses.”
Cognitive businesses combine digital business and digital intelligence, using artificial intelligence systems that can understand, reason and learn.
Services and Solutions to Create, Manage, and Build APIs
To make the most of the API Economy, IBM will offer workshops and digital transformation services that help clients quickly develop and adopt an API strategy. Also, Starter workshops allow developers to leave with a functioning API after spending just four days in one of IBM’s Bluemix Garage venues. Clients will benefit from digital transformation services that provide industry-specific strategic consulting to help organizations with the shift to full adoption and exploitation of APIs.
The company is also expanding cognitive technologies into its API portfolio. IBM API Harmony, a cloud service available through the IBM Cloud on Bluemix, its cloud platform, allows developers to use intelligent search technology to quickly and easily find APIs and choose the combination of APIs that will be most effective for a given application. API Harmony connects producers and consumers in an API Economy by anticipating what is needed next, making recommendations on which APIs to use, showing API relationships, and identifying what is missing. In simplest terms, it acts as a matchmaker of APIs for developers and IT managers to facilitate the process of building new applications.
IBM’s API Management software supports enterprise hybrid cloud deployments through both on-premises and public environments, helping organizations manage, secure, publish, and socialize APIs by providing a portal to attract and engage app developers, as well as foster the use of published APIs for hybrid cloud deployments. Clients can view operational metrics and gain business insights into how apps are performing in the market.
The new services and solutions complement IBM’s portfolio of API solutions such as its DataPower® API gateway products for securely deploying and scaling APIs and its newly acquired StrongLoop capabilities for developing new APIs using Node.js.
IBM Collaborating with Industries and the Open Community
IBM is collaborating with the Linux Foundation and leading industry-standards organizations to provide an open platform for building, managing, securing, and integrating open APIs. Today, the Linux Foundation is announcing the formation of an OpenÂ APIÂ Initiative collaborative project to standardize and document APIs in a consistent way. The project’s goal, with IBM as a founding member, is to create a shared governance model and technical community for the Swagger specification, which has the largest ecosystem for API tooling in use today.
To help facilitate the development of industry standards around open API development, IBM is also announcing its participation in two key standards organizations in both banking and healthcare to ultimately allow clients to quickly and easily integrate APIs into their digital services.
IBM is working with the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) to create common IT standards for the banking industry, including the creation of common banking API definitions, which will standardize application components, and simplify and accelerate the creation of APIs.
IBM is also working with the HL7 standards organization on a key healthcare standard called FHIR® (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). HL7 member organizations such as IBM bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Argonaut Implementation initiative, which is a group of private-sector healthcare organizations collaborating to speed the development and adoption of FHIR. These programs will help shape the future of API interoperability in the healthcare industry.
API Strategy Enables YES BANK to Disrupt Banking Industry
Today, IBM also announced that YES BANK, India’s 5th largest private sector bank, has taken initial steps to enter the API Economy by implementing IBM API Management to provide next-generation banking to its customers. With API Management, YES BANK can now reveal its core business assets and data to an ecosystem of industry partners and end users transforming the way banking is done in India. The API Banking platform opens up multiple business channels by helping the bank build new digital partnerships with their clients and tap into the growing market of inward remittance from Indians abroad.
YES BANK has more than one million customers across an extensive branch network spanning over 700 branches across 375 cities, with more than 1,370 ATMs and two National Operating Centers in Mumbai and Gurgaon. It is moving from a traditional bank with standard online and offline banking experiences, to a next-generation, technology-driven banking institution using API, mobile and cloud implementations. This allows YES BANK to be confident about its extremely aggressive growth plan to increase its customer base to nearly five million over the next five years.
“The Indian banking industry is at an inflection point and we needed a proven partner to aid us in our digital transformation,” said Mr. Anup Purohit, Senior President and Chief Information Officer, YES BANK. “IBM API Management helps us further enhance our offerings to clients seeking seamless integration of their financial supply chain with the Bank, while enabling us to improve business performance and IT costs.”
For more information on the API Economy, visit: www.ibm.com/apieconomy.
To try the online API Economy assessment tool, visit: https://asat.mybluemix.net/.
Internal IBM estimates for the market known as digitally disruptive services
Ovum, “Realizing the Business Value of APIs,” October 2014
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