April 11, 2012

Tackling IT Consumerization With A SaaS-Based API Management Solution


Go to any tech conference from banking to networking, and you'll no doubt find content on how each conference's focus is affected by mobile technology. This week, we were at the Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise (ETE) Conference, an event focused on new technologies, methodologies and trends that enterprises can leverage. For us, conversations involved how to adapt to a workplace with as many devices as people, navigate the interim and still make a business's internal development efforts more efficient. In alignment with this recent event, it is perhaps quite fitting to spend a moment delving more into this concept and examine leveraging an API management solution as a means of addressing the ubiquitus issue of IT consumerization. At Mashery, we often help our customers tackle IT consumerization by turning a potential headache into an opportunity for APIs to solve a short term problem and create a long-term opportunity. Fact: more workers each day begin to use their personal devices to access corporate data. Data varies among studies, but many they all agree mobile device usage among employees is widespread. As enterprise companies adapt to this massive influx of personal technology in the workplace while simultaneously working to advance their mobile strategies, they face common challenges. For years, IT departments have restricted employee choice of mobile gadgets to a few select devices - primarily mobile devices with strong corporate and security features like BlackBerry smartphones. This method was considered easy to ensure standardization and reduce risk -- BlackBerry's RIM provides software that allows IT departments to maintain a firm grip on the way the devices are used -– and for many years, it worked. Such standardized mobile devices had proven to be popular with companies wanting to share data with employees, partners and customers on the go. In order to support this consumerization of IT, corporate IT staff are choosing to adapt by developing mobile apps to support a broad range of devices. In this day and age, IT's role has been significantly molded by the premise that the same technology can enhance life at home as well as work. Nearly every employer is seeing a rise IT consumerization, or the "Arab Spring of IT." CIOs are now adapting to the "demands" from employees for the right to use their own mobile devices for work, mixing business and personal data on them and personalizing them with their own apps. One very common scenario is the "tweener stage:" the time after employee-owned devices start arriving and while apps are still being developed to support them. Security measures to enforce app policies and mitigate any fallout can be derailing. Many IT departments struggle just with the perceived threat that an app in the hands of an employee, contractor or partner can leak potentially important business information or may be laden with malware to infiltrate a company's security measures. While there are common pains among enterprises, we also see common remedies. APIs are enabling many enterprise companies to build flexibility into their approach, thereby giving the enterprise the ability to adjust device support and app development as business goals and marketplace realities grow and change. With an API management solution, enterprises can rest assured that IT resources are supporting strategic business goals, not playing catch-up to consumer device developments. Developers will also be able to reduce development time by building backend integration once, and shrinking time-to-market for app iterations or revamps. As a mobile strategy grows, APIs can support increased operational efficiencies with the convenience of deploying across any number of devices. Mashery's solution even offers the ability to gain insight on app engagement by partners, customers and employees through reporting and metrics. What's your most common IT consumerization pain or remedy? To learn more about Mashery, visit us at www.mashery.com, or contact us here.