Hybrid integration and API Management (What’s the difference?)

hybrid integration and API Management
hybrid integration and API Management

In the broad integration markets we play terminology moves fast as does technology. Most recently, a set of questions and discussions have surfaced on HIP—hybrid integration platforms and API Management Platforms. What’s the difference? What is the relationship between them?

Some answers lie in two other blogs: (1) the differences between iPaaS and API Management; and (2) the differences between iPaaS and HIP. Yet, further clarity on the specifics for APIM and HIP requires more thoughts directly on the subject.

Hybrid integration and API Management (What’s the difference)

First, a hybrid integration platform approach takes on the whole landscape of integration to a holistic strategy that shifts IT from the role of a ticket taker (get in line for your next project)–to that of an enabler (empowering others). HIP embraces the whole landscape of integration. HIP joins different disciplines (types of integration, often historically sub-markets under the integration umbrella), different persona’s (integration specialists, the line of business integrators or technical integrators), different endpoints (things, apps, etc.) and different architectures (cloud, on-prem, hybrid) into a strategy designed for digital. For HIP, APIs are one of the many integration scenarios and APIs are a key artifact in a unified catalog.

This makes API Management a subset or part of one’s HIP. In an “integration” platform, there is more though than API Management—there is API integration. Connectors, orchestration, etc. to knit together applications. Arguably given APIs’ role in integration and development, API Management is one of the most important elements of a HIP. It’s an element of one’s HIP that all other integration patterns hinge off as they are (or should be) properly API enabled.

Let’s go back to API Management. In short, this captures the capabilities to support the full lifecycle of an API. What is the lifecycle of an API? Everything from design, to creation, to testing, to publishing, to consumption, to versions and even onto decommissioning of APIs. Telemetry and a framework to manage APIs as a product is essential to support this lifecycle and the success of an API program. This is all captured in the term API Management.

READ MORE: What is API Management?

READ MORE: What are the core capabilities of an API Management Platform?

Nuances? Maybe not. API Management is an essential discipline for all things digital and to help an organization deliver brilliant outcomes and experiences. An organization will only go so far stopping here. If the backend and by this I refer to all the core systems, don’t line up to the same speed and pace of digital–one’s digital transformation will fail. That is if integration is a bottleneck in any way (from connecting new SaaS applications and new capabilities or if it is a bottleneck in opening data to APIs or in changing core business processes) then that backend limits mobility of systems and processes at the core of an organization then any “digital” progress will stall. Therefore both HIP and API Management are key. API Management to serve the innovators building experiences and HIP as an approach to integration that enables the pace of integration to support the needs of innovation are both essential.

A few notes of key similarities on these topics…

First, as said, APIs are the fabric and glue for all modern integration and development initiative. With this, any modern integration strategy must open data through APIs – so the first similarity is APIs are a part of both API Management and HIP. A second point, probably more subtle but more important is that API Management and HIP both emphasize serving and empowering others for self-service, to support speed and agility.

• An API Management Platform one manages the full lifecycle of APIs from design to build to publish. At the publish stage, APIs are available for developer communities to discover, browse and use.
• A hybrid integration platform addresses a variety of integration capabilities and allows integration developers to build and manage their own integrations and publishes these for others to use.

READ MORE: What is an API Portal?

Why speed? Digital demands it. APIs serve developers to innovate at pace. Hybrid Integration serves integrators to integrate apps and capabilities at that same pace. BOTH must line up to serve innovation.

The relationship

APIs are the relationship. In API Management, APIs are the products companies are building to serve developers building experiences. In HIP, APIs are a means of integration, they are an artifact to support integration and a means to manage diverse integration patterns from the HIP. APIs in a HIP are also just the same as in API Management the means to serve developers building experiences. With HIP’s support of traditional integration patterns, one uses APIs to open up data to innovation.

The power of board-level attention

A final note. APIs are getting attention. Ride that momentum. Focus on business outcomes and the business transformation. Leverage the hype and the role of APIs. There is a keen awareness of the role of APIs in innovation for executive-level conversations to support funding the initiatives.

But don’t stop here. As you address the critical business outcomes and planning, leverage a HIP strategy to deliver collectively business value for the immediate outcomes and to be ready for the shifting and immediate needs that will come for future initiatives. No project will ever be a one and done. You’ll need the agility of both API Management (and the API disciplines) and HIP (and the enablement and empowerment) for the business to move at digital speeds in delivering that next great experience.

Learn all about the business value of hybrid integration platforms.

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