While writing our white paper on open banking and PSD2 in the United Kingdom, we showcased their approach to bringing API management out into the open, ensuring it was operated by a neutral third party. We’ve been thinking about this approach further, and the potential impact on not just banking, but considering how it can be used across many different industries. Helping bring API management out of the shadow of each individual API provider, and making it something that can be more transparent and observable, but also help generate essential data that is needed when it comes to considering how APIs are working across a sector.
Imagine if the authentication, logging, analytics, application directory, revenue, and support are all available to the entire community and industry? Universal authentication handled by a neutral 3rd party, as well as all the valuable data that is generated at the API management layer. Providing a whole new stack of API resources that partners, aggregators, researchers, and other trusted organizations can tap into. Being able to understand what goes on at the API management level is essential to API providers when it comes to understanding how resources are being put to work, and it seems like something that would also empower and stimulate growth at the industry level as well.
There are no other industry-level examples of API management out there. There are API marketplace providers like RapidAPI (formerly Mashape) who try to do it in a proprietary way, and of course, there used to be Mashery, and other old guard implementations of universal API management. Open Banking in the UK is the first industry level implementation I’ve seen do this and provides us with a pretty compelling look at how this can be done. A practice that could build on the last decade of API management best practices, while also tweaking, adjusting, and transforming the approach to fit a specific industry.
One of our motivations in writing this post, and thinking about API management in this way, is that we’d like to see industry level plugin marketplaces emerge that allow 3rd party service providers to build functionality that can be applied seamlessly at the API management layer. We build a lot of connectors within the plugin marketplaces of individual API management providers like Kong and Axway, but we’d like to be able to publish marketplaces that served entire industries, as well as individual providers. In addition to the many of other benefits of having API management operate at the industry, you’d see more extensibility and connectivity emerge, providing more observability at this level, but also more competition when it comes to augmenting and evolving what API management is capable of.