Today, businesses have embraced the use of Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs) to meet the changing demands of their customers. Due to advancements in technology, customers are looking for customized services that are tailored to meet their requirements. Businesses know that it would be difficult to offer these services without implementing APIs, something that has led to the growth of the use of APIs.

However, this has brought with it a new need for shared standards and governance of APIs to complement the value of business data and the strategies used in the business platforms. However, getting the right approach to governance and standardization is a challenge for most organizations. Most of them get this wrong, meaning that their API strategy is likely to fail in one way or another in the future.

Organizations need to come up with directives that balance with the requirements of their developers. They need to figure out ways through which they can have data structures updated and implement API standards that conform to future customer requirements. In addition, they need to enforce all the required styles and make sure that they align with globally accepted standards such as open banking standards, GDRP, and FIHR.

Affective API Governance

There are a number of things that organizations need for effective API governance. The most important best practices in API governance include;

Using Abstract Designs to Manage APIs

Using abstract designs to manage APIs makes it easy for organizations to apply API governance. For instance, organizations that have their APIs held in the form of abstracted designs with all the required technical details such as headers and payloads placed in the right specifications find it easy to enforce governance policies.

Managing APIs with a Service Catalog

In other situations, some organizations hold their APIs together with all dependencies, lineage, mappings, and documentation aligned to the right taxonomies in a service catalog. This makes it easy for them to rationalize and visualize their APIs, as well as gaining control and insight into the people using their APIs, where the APIs are, how their (APIs) data flows, and the rate of data transfer. This aids the process of enforcing governance regulations.

Using a Single Set of Governance Rules

Organizations need to make sure that the set of rules they are enforcing on their APIs are globally accepted. They should desist from using any rules based on an individual project or set of APIs. Even though some organizations might feel like this forces them to only use a certain set of coding standards, it also means that they should adopt standards that meet the requirements of their business models. Finally, they need to make sure that all these rules are centrally located to ensure that everyone can easily access and implement them on their projects.

Applying Governance Throughout the API Lifecycle

When building APIs, some organizations tend to overlook some things in the early stages of an API lifecycle. These things become bigger in the later stages of the lifecycle, making such organizations think that API governance is responsible for bringing issues into development. 

However, organizations need to apply governance policies throughout the stages of the API lifecycle, starting from the first stage to the last stage. This will make sure that they are able to avoid these issues that might arise later, and in return, build applications faster and standardize all outputs.

API Versioning

When building APIs, organizations need to keep in mind that there might be times when they might need to add new features, modify the APIs, or even deprecate them. When this happens, they need to find a way through which they can let everything continue working without affecting the end users of applications implementing the APIs.

This is where API versioning comes in. Versioning ensures that users will keep using the APIs, depending on the version that they need. They can even use the later versions without compromising their data. In addition, versioning ensures that APIs are well documented and standardized.

API Governance Benefits Organizations

The pandemic has accelerated the rate of digital adoption among businesses the world over, making data one of the most important assets of any business. Looking at the continued rise of the importance of data, the ways through which such data is exposed becomes quite important as well. 

This means that things such as inconsistencies in code, data leaks, and poor system organization can affect the experience of developers negatively. In addition, APIs’ performance – keeping in mind that APIs depend on this data – will be affected directly. This can be avoided by making sure that organizations implement effective API governance.

By Jim O Brien/CEO

CEO and expert in transport and Mobile tech. A fan 20 years, mobile consultant, Nokia Mobile expert, Former Nokia/Microsoft VIP,Multiple forum tech supporter with worldwide top ranking,Working in the background on mobile technology, Weekly radio show, Featured on the RTE consumer show, Cavan TV and on TRT WORLD. Award winning Technology reviewer and blogger. Security and logisitcs Professional.