what is the purpose of api governance




What is the purpose of API governance?

The true purpose of API governance is to enable a broad, shared understanding of how an organization's technology is used and managed. By understanding how APIs are used, what they contain, and how they integrate with other systems, organizations are better able to drive organizational goals while ensuring efficient use of resources. Governance also ensures APIs are secure and compliant with regulations, allowing the organization to proceed confidently with a strategy-driven technology roadmap. In short, the purpose of API governance is to align technology to business objectives, driving value and success.

Bringing consistency to the API chaos

Without effective design standards, designers, developers, and provider organizations face a number of challenges. These include: difficulty keeping up with changing technologies, increased complexity of deployment and operational environments, increased risk of errors, reduced communication and collaboration with stakeholders, and lower operational efficiency. As a result, stakeholders face additional costs due to development delays and the need for more manual work, as well as lower quality user experiences.By introducing clear, effective design standards, stakeholders can benefit from improved communication and collaboration, increased operational efficiency, and more predictable development cycles. Additionally, they can better leverage available technologies and reduce the risk of errors while improving the overall user experience. Effective design standards, then, are essential for ensuring that stakeholders can work together to achieve their desired outcomes.

Without shared standards, designing API operations such as search customers and search products can be difficult and often lead to inconsistent design. To prevent this, standards should be set to ensure uniformity across different search operations. Such standards may include handling search filters, pagination, and how to model a list of search results. This will ensure that different API operations share the same look and behavior, resulting in an consistent user experience.

Developers using inconsistent APIs, like search customers and search products, can lead to tedious and time consuming developer practices. Upon attempting to integrate themselves into the system, developers must analyze the operation to identify design patterns and how filtering, pagination, and lists are handled. As a result, even though the two operations are both search something deals, developers are forced to rewrite and restructure the code for each operation separately, making the previous written code obsolete. This lack of consistency leads developers to search for alternative APIs to use.

That cost could happen with every operation of every API. For organizations providing APIs, delivering and utilizing them may become more costly, which prevents them from introducing new features. Furthermore, if the APIs are made public, this could result in decreased revenue.

Without standards, API designers and consumers will often find themselves taking much longer to create and consume APIs, due to having to develop/use different approaches and infrastructure across different APIs. Furthermore, the lack of consistent and unified approaches to API development can quickly become expensive, as the provider organization is mandated to build and maintain more bespoke infrastructures. As a result, the efficiency of developers is hindered and the provider organization’s finances are adversely impacted.

Enabling people, maximizing value

  • Improved API Quality: API governance includes policies that are aimed at providing quality assurance for API design and development. By setting and enforcing certain API standards, API teams are able to produce more reliable and secure APIs with fewer errors.

  • Simplified API Discovery & Consumption: Establishing standards for APIs makes it easier for developers to consume them since they know what to expect. Additionally, it allows for easier discovery since developers are familiar with endpoints already.

  • Improved Collaboration: Establishing a clear set of standards makes collaboration between teams easier since they have a common understanding of the API design. This eliminates the need for constant back-and-forth over design decisions.

  • Faster Development Time: With a standardized set of conventions for APIs, developers are able to understand and develop new APIs much faster. This reduces the amount of time needed to launch new APIs and enable faster feedback cycles for developers.

  • Increased Adoption: Finally, establishing proper governance can improve the adoption rate for APIs by making them easier to understand and use. With greater adoption, the chances of success for an API are greatly increased.

API governance is about more than just design and standards; it's about enabling people and leveraging the value of APIs. Through automation, workshops, or training sessions, API governance can help users build security, product definition, and implementation strategies. To ensure effective API governance, it's essential to recognize all its components and implications. For further guidance, check out the Apigit blog for upcoming posts on essential API governance topics.