API Catalog

Clear alignment on technical & business aspects of APIs is key for faster value delivery

The growth of the API economy has leveraged a fairly technical concept to one of the major building blocks of modern IT strategy and even business models. Product teams used well-aligned APIs to split work into domains, allowing them both for rapid advancement and low coupling. Business teams seek to unlock new business models & look for API monetarization, while Enterprise Architects face the challenge to ensure governance and drive integration between self-developed software, SaaS and no-code/low-code developments.

📘

Increasing technical maturity, but missing business & engineering context

With ever-growing landscapes of loosely coupled systems, the complexities surrounding an organizations’ API landscape are exploding. Automated solutions to create transparency and make insights available for both operative tasks as well as analytics are needed to keep pace.

Modern API management solutions like MuleSoft help companies tremendously to streamline technical aspects, orchestration & governance. Mature standards like OpenAPI and AsyncAPI are pushed in the DevOps community and enable auto-generated API documentation & much more.

Yet, many companies struggle to get an alignment cross-teams on APIs, missing on the potential to foster reuse or focussing development for business goals.

👍

How VSM can help

VSM combines Discovery, Portals and other reports such that modern Product Leaders can easily contextualize standards. The unique link into LeanIX EAM helps companies to optimizes not only technical APIs, but end-to-end business interfaces.

What's in it for me?

As a member of a product team: Make sure that business stakeholders have a consistent view on your APIs.

As a product leader: Foster API reuse & best practices based on always up-to-date transparency

As an enterprise architect: Automate the intake of APIs to boost your integration architecture use cases.

Example - Tangible outcomes

API Catalogs

To give engineers and developers quick and straightforward access to information around all the different APIs available in their organization the current best practice is to provide an API Catalog / Portfolio – all the relevant info on APIs, their functionality, availability status, owners, etc. and only that information free from further clutter – to speed up and ease development work by cutting down on time spend searching for documentation. VSM provides this in the form of one or more freely configurable API Catalogs, displaying the relevant API details, filter- and searchable, with baseline information and jump-off points to deeper sources:

API Visualizations

To give both engineers and management an easy way to understand the API landscape they are working in or supervising simple and clear visualizations are essentially – at a glance they should allow you to easily understand dependencies, data flows and performance indicators without the need to crawl individual documentation.

VSM delivers these insights with just a couple of key reports:

API landscapes deliver a high-level overview of your API inventory, grouped by key categories (which APIs are used in which Product?) and color-coded to highlight relevant KPIs (which of my APIs are publicly available?). Fully configurable these allow lightweight reporting for top-level analytics .

With data flow diagrams VSM breaks the API structures down to a more granular level, to break down how which types of data flow between different system as well as what technology is used to do so.

What do I need?

The API Catalog can be used as an alternative starting point to Software & Cloud Service Discovery, but unleashes its full power in combination.

You need a decent understanding where to find the best source for available APIs, in an existing API management solution or from CI/CD.

How do I get there?

To ensure all the insights above are consistently up to date automated discovery is a necessity – VSM supports a wide variety of integration options to ensure data can be collected from various systems your organization might be using, ranging from the consolidation of data from multiple API management systems (e.g. Mulesoft Anypoint, AWS API Gateway, etc.) as well as discovery from API specifications (OpenAPI, Swagger, etc.).

👍

Want to get started right now?

Grab yourself a demo environment if you don’t have one yet and head over to our Discovery section.

Depending on your current toolchain, VSM can be set up to support two scenarios:

API Management in place

An API Management tool is great to capture technical dependencies, but often struggles to:

  • Embrace the domain or business context
  • Create a clear linkage to responsibilities
  • Provide easy entry points for non-experts
  • Provide dynamic, graphical capabilities to explore impacts & dependencies

Those four points are addressed by VSM and can justify the co-existence of both toolings. As API Management solutions naturally provide open APIs as well, a connection should be fairly simple.

No API Management in place

In this case, adding to the points above VSM can support setting up an API catalog without a management tool. Approaches can be:

  • Manual documentation (obviously only recommended as a stop-gap solution)
  • Discovery of APIs based on CI/CD, e.g. by extracting Swagger definition files

📘

Information

Advanced use cases for product leaders include the import key metrics to VSM to evaluate your APIs in terms of performance and operability - see the following example. Also, we see customers leverage our Integration API to integrate with service meshes like https://istio.io/ - please get in touch with [email protected] to discuss options


Did this page help you?