Chris Lippi | VP, Products
December 10, 2012

Rounding Up Gartner’s AADI Summit – Part II: How Not to be a SOA-Saurus


On Friday, Part I of this series covered the broad strokes of what is one of the integration spaces’ pivotal annual gatherings, Gartner’s Application, Architecture Delivery and Integration Summit (AADI). This show sets the coming year’s tone for application integration at Fortune 500 companies, and to a degree for the integration space as a whole. At the last two shows, that tone has been spelled out clearly: A-P-I. And at this year’s show, the focus turned to the clear pivot of the SOA Governance space to become API Management, or as Gartner calls it, Application Services Governance. We’ll walk you through these worlds as we see them, along with the common themes, and differences, we see in our real-word API management implementaitons.

Paolo Malinverno has been covering the SOA Governance space for Gartner from before it was called that.  Paolo went as far as calling himself a “SOA-saurus” (one of my favorite quotes of the week).  In Paolo's session on "How to Produce New Value for Your Company with SOA Governance and API Management", he made it clear to a packed room that Gartner believes SOA Governance is starting to merge with API Management (or vice versa depending on where you are coming from).  While we at Mashery believe there are quite a few differences between the two, one thing is for sure, API Management is top of mind for big enterprises and the analysts that help them.  Whereas a lot of the early activity in the API community was focused on media/internet services, eCommerce, and travel/hospitality, the Fortune 500 crowd is learning from these early successes and it's become a growing imperative to begin their API Management projects.  From Paolo's perspective, enterprises have no choice but to dive into externalizing APIs.  The opportunities and threats are too great.  You can't afford to not have API management in place because you'll be in trouble as soon as adoption picks up.  You won't have visibility into who is consuming your APIs, can't support your partners, won't be able to measure the value of the program, and your new distribution channel just won't work.

What's exciting about this is that for those of us that have been working in SOA, supply chain, or in general have been integrating systems together for years, this new movement towards web APIs is a chance to take our technologies up close and personal to some pretty significant shifts in what I.T. focuses on.  In a sense, the SOA profession has moved back into the boardroom in terms of importance. I view this as an inevitable conclusion and next wave of integration; companies as platforms.

Eric Knipp was the first Gartner analyst to cover Mashery a few years ago and has a really solid understanding of web API's as well as developer community potential. Eric presented, "Designing Web API: Building the Extensible Enterprise" which was less SOA, and more straight up lessons from good API programs.  The room was packed with mebers of the enterprise I.T. community taking in the things we've talked about at Mashery for some time. That not having an API today is like not having a website in 2000.  That the Web has evolved into a platform, and web APIs are the web's building blocks.  That mobile applications depend on Web APIs.  That 3rd party apps using your brand can enhance customer engagement and reach.  And that you can extend your core business to brand new market segments through partnerships that you wouldn't have been able to reach yourself.  Eric also ran through two Mashery customer case studies (nendor neutral. of course) with Best Buy and D&B/Hoovers.  Both are 4+ year old programs and driving very large revenue numbers through their API programs.  

Finally, an attendee from the audience asked Eric whether he needed an API Management tool in order to dive into the web API movement.  Eric's answered cleverly, (paraphrasing): 

“…(pausing), no, definitely not.  You could write your own developer management tools, write your own translation and mediation, write your own metering, your own analytics, build some type of big network cache, and some type of dev on boarding…”

 “…(smiles) Oh wait, that’s a lot of roll your own.  Gartner’s general belief is if it isn’t core and is commercially available buy it."

The right API strategy is a mix of old wisdom, new tools and the skill to translate between the two as they merge. Those who can navigate the parallel worlds of API Management and SOA Governance are granted limitless scalabiity through channels and partnerships. Those who cannot might become an extinct creature similar to the SOA-saurus. That’s why we’re here. Mashery has helped make the SOA to API journey easier for all the largest of our 175 customers to help you with your API. Contact us today.