API Management

Shutterfly: Scaling Legacy Systems with APIs

In internet years, Shutterfly has reached middle age.

The leading image publishing company, founded in 1999, has built a vibrant business offering personalized photo products and services that help its customers "make the most out of life's most memorable moments."

But as technology evolved and mobile devices flooded the digital landscape—drastically changing how customers interacted with the company—Shutterfly needed to modernize its ecommerce strategy.

“Being a 15-year-old internet company, we have a lot of legacy infrastructure that’s solid, it’s hardened, it’s powering a billion dollar business,” said James Berry, senior director of strategic projects at Shutterfly. “You don’t really want to mess with that lightly.”

Shutterfly turned to APIs for help. APIs give the company the ability to securely expose its backend systems to the cloud, enabling it to build transformative mobile apps and completely reshape customers’ online experience. Through this new and improved digital experience, Shutterfly can bring the right products to market quickly, and better serve external consumers and internal customers, Berry said.

API analytics help product-focused teams at Shutterfly fine-tune the features behind their customizable products, he added.

“APIs help us power our consumer businesses,” Berry said. “APIs have allowed us to gain insights and provide analytics for our image science team.”

APIs also support Shutterfly in its mobile expansion efforts by providing a platform on which to evolve its internal systems and proactively scale services to handle traffic driven by their rapidly-growing mobile products.

“Apigee is a critical part of our services strategy and digital strategy,” Berry said. “A service gateway allows us to provide a facade on top of a lot of our legacy infrastructure, as well as the new services that we’re trying to bring on as we innovate.”

With Apigee’s API management platform, Shutterfly has transformed its online and mobile presence and successfully overcome the midlife crisis many seasoned internet companies face.

“Apigee really helps us plan for success as we bring new products to market because we have insights and analytics that allow us to scale on the backend,” Berry said. “So Apigee as a whole is actually just a major critical part of what we are doing.”

Want more on this topic? Download the eBook, "Two-Speed IT with APIs."

Apigee Labs: Add Key Functionality to Your APIs

We’re pleased to unveil Apigee Labs, where we research, design, develop, and innovate with the aim of advancing the world of API management. 

Apigee Labs projects are pre-release, experimental features to add functionality to their API environments. 

We’ve got three projects in the lab already:

Please check out these prototypes. We encourage you to ask questions and offer feedback to the engineers who developed these features on community.apigee.com

Cloud Deployments Done Right: Why APIs Are Key

Webcast replay

As you move your workloads to the cloud or build new cloud-native applications, how will you connect them with other apps and data that still reside in your data centers, or in other clouds?

The de facto standard to connect cloud workloads is the REST API. To get the most out of your cloud deployments, there’s a host of best practices around managing APIs in the cloud world.

In this webcast replay, Apigee's Anant Jhingran and Ed Anuff discuss:

  • challenges companies face as they move to the cloud
  • managing security, governance, and visibility concerns
  • how APIs help you in a multi-cloud world

 

Glh Hotels: Instant ROI with APIs

Successful investments in technology require a clear return—the faster, the better.

This holds particularly true in the hyper-competitive hospitality industry. For Chris Hewertson, chief technology officer at the U.K.’s glh Hotels, investing in an API management platform very quickly produced some very tangible results.

For one, APIs enabled glh to eliminate the intermediaries that commonly help hotels connect to online travel agents—the source of the majority of room reservations for the company.

“What we are focused on is improving our room rate for every room we have in our hotels,” Hewertson said. “Anything we can do to reduce costs [and] transaction fees for those bookings, we do, and the API is helping us to do that.”

In addition to simplifying the way the company connects to online travel agents, glh uses APIs to develop digital services that simplifies integration with complex legacy infrastructure. The Apigee API platform has opened the door to development of a range of digital services that gives glh a competitive edge, and offers new value to customers—all at a much faster pace than before, Hewertson said.

“Apigee brought a lot of learnings to us that helped us fast-track,” he said. “It helped us get to market and get something out there quickly … considering that we had never done API development before, it was critical to us.”

For more on this topic, read the eBook: "Delivering Customized Experiences in Travel and Hospitality."

APIs Aren't Enough

A downloadable toolkit for evaluating an API management platform

APIs aren't new, but with the explosion of apps and experiences required in the digital world, and new customer-centric IT organizations, companies across industries need better solutions than ever to manage their APIs and API-driven businesses.

API management enables you to create, manage, secure, analyze, and scale APIs.

Evaluating and choosing the right API management platform involves research and decisions that will affect the future of your digital business. To make an informed decision, it’s critical to understand all the capabilities of a sophisticated platform.

It’s equally important to define all of your organization’s business and technical requirements for building an API-powered digital business platform.

There's a way to jumpstart the process—with the “API Management Decision-Making Kit.” It includes:

  • an RFP template for API management
  • a detailed proof of concept requirements document
  • The Definitive Guide to API Management eBook

Download the kit today.

Pitney Bowes and APIs: Tools of the Trade for Craftsmen of Commerce

"Our roadmap for the future is to digitize almost every aspect of Pitney Bowes' technologies and capabilities and we've just begun to leverage the power of a modern API platform."

—Roger Pilc, Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes has been powering the transactions that drive commerce since 1920. The Stamford, Conn.-based company is in the midst of a remarkable transformation focused on using modern digital technology to deliver a broad set of digital ecommerce capabilities, enable extensive partnerships, and optimize its own operations.

Roger Pilc, Pitney Bowes' chief innovation officer, sat down with us recently to talk about the company’s journey to equip it for a new century of commerce.

Pitney Bowes powers billions of transactions across the physical and digital landscape with solutions that include mailing and shipping, customer information management, customer engagement, location intelligence, and global ecommerce. The company uses APIs and Apigee to help deliver new, data-powered digital solutions to customers, and to enable partners and its internal developers to build new products quickly.

Leveraging the Apigee API management platform, the company has extended its location intelligence services and applications to a broad suite of capabilities that they call the "location developers hub." Pitney Bowes' largest digital business is global ecommerce; it operates almost entirely from the web and behind APIs—serving large marketplaces such as eBay and over 300 of the best-known global retail brands.

The company's recently announced global trade solutions for cross-border commerce are also offered from the web behind modern RESTful APIs. In addition to using APIs to digitize mailing, shipping, and accompanying financial services, Pitney Bowes has embarked on an exciting IoT initiative, collecting data from postage meters and providing analytics and services that enable clients to get more value from mailing machines.

The company’s API initiative benefits its clients in several ways, Pilc said. Pitney Bowes can deliver more powerful and valuable solutions by combining technologies and capabilities; customers can consume technology and products more easily; and partners can onboard quickly and can more easily integrate Pitney Bowes’ products and technologies into their own products and workflows.

APIs are important tools of the trade for these craftsmen of commerce. Thanks to Roger for spending time with us. We're proud to be part of Pitney Bowes digital journey.

Internal APIs == External APIs

I am getting tired of listening to “Oh, we’re building internal APIs, we don’t need API management.”  

<rant>

  1. You actually know that this API will not be externalized?  
  2. You think internal calls are secure?
  3. You do not care about developer adoption of your internal services?
  4. You do not crave visibility into who calls whom?
  5. You are not adopting cloud?

</rant>

Now that I have calmed down a bit :), let me explain. There’s very little difference between an internal API and an externalized API. You will agree that each internal service needs an interface. The “contract” is that the interface will change slowly—though the implementation underneath it could change.  

This is because the callers are hardwired to call these interfaces. Modern interfaces are RESTful APIs (though there might be other API patterns, such as gRPC).

These APIs need API management

While pushing the responsibility of the interface to the service is the right model, there are many concerns that still need to be addressed around these APIs:

  1. Versioning The interfaces can change. They change slowly, but they still change.
  2. Security All services have to operate in a zero-trust environment—just because they’re internal does not mean that perimeter security will suffice; can it really trust the caller?  
  3. Visibility With API sprawl, what’s really going on? Which are the common patterns, where are the bottlenecks, what is broken, what is working?
  4. Discovery What services exist, how many do similar things?
  5. Governance How does a central team govern (lightly) the right structures and policies?
  6. Traffic management Services will misbehave—or run into limits.  
  7. API lifecycle Scaffolding, documentation, test driving.
  8. Developer onboarding While the developers in this world are likely internal, they should still be treated as if they are external. That way, one can pivot to externalization of a service if needed.

This is depicted below:

Be prepared to externalize

If one looks at API management for externalized services, these sound very similar. Some API management capabilities like mediation, caching, OAuth, and deep traffic management might not be needed, since we should assume that the called services have clean APIs and are built to scale. Whenever that assumption is false, however, these services are also needed.

Equally importantly, treating every internal service as externalizable gives you business options you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

That is why Trustpilot runs API management on almost all its APIs—through the Apigee layer.

Don’t be boxed in by thinking APIs but not thinking API management for your internal services. You will not succeed.

Thank you . . .

Last week we proudly announced another excellent quarter of execution. We reported record revenue of $23.5 million, 39% product revenue growth, and simple dollar-based renewal rate exceeding 90% for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Best of all, an amazing array of new customers, partners, and developers have begun using Apigee.

We're deeply grateful to the over 300 customers who use Apigee to help make their businesses digital and are honored that these marquee brands partner with us to help us deliver better solutions for their developers and for their broader digital initiatives. Our continued growth wouldn't be possible without them.

We're privileged to work with a stellar group of partners and added 20 new partners in Q3. As part of our ongoing global alliance, Apigee and Accenture are working together on developing customized client solutions for open banking spurred by the EU Directive on Payment Services (PSD2).

Pivotal Cloud Foundry users can now select Apigee Edge from the Pivotal Network marketplace to integrate Apigee’s comprehensive API management capabilities into the web applications they build with Pivotal’s Cloud Native Platform.

Apigee and Amazon Web Services (AWS) share dozens of new customers who signed on to use Apigee Edge on AWS in the first few months of 2016. They include AccuWeather, Allstate Corp., OpenGov Inc., and Sage Payment Solutions. And we're excited that Apigee Edge is now available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

We'll continue to integrate with some of the leading cloud platforms, ensuring that Apigee always provides the best way for APIs to be managed in a complex multi- and hybrid cloud landscape.

While we continue to see momentum in every industry, this last quarter was a particularly productive (and busy) one for our team around financial services. We are thrilled that so many of our customers, partners, and financial institutions participated in our London Open Banking/PSD2 summit and that many are adopting our new software solution designed to help EU banks quickly and easily embrace open banking and comply with PSD2.

Our well-attended FinTech API Summit in New York provided financial services executives with information on how to leverage digital technologies to foster digital engagements with their customers, partners, and employees. Again, our customers were key to the success of the summits, with speakers from Nationwide, First Data, Tradier, Vantiv, and Forrester.

We have much to be excited about and are grateful to all of our customers and partners. As always, we welcome all feedback and ideas as we head into what will be a very exciting next quarter. One great way to keep in touch is on community.apigee.com.

Orange: API Management for Scale and Speed

APIs are nothing new to Orange, which has been employing the technology for a decade. But a few years ago, the leading telco service provider realized that to achieve the scale and agility needed to meet growing customer expectations, something more was required. 

That something was API management, and all the security, scalability, agilty, and revenue opportunities provided by a leading solution, said Patrice Slupowsky, Orange’s vice president of digital innovation.

“We tried to do that ourselves, but we wanted to have something really scalable and quick to implement,” he said. “This is why we were happy to find and use a market solution."

Apigee powers the Orange Partner program, which exposes a portfolio of APIs that enable developers and partners to build apps using Orange’s core networks and services.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to develop partnerships with big or small companies at no cost in terms of implementation,” Slupowski said.

The benefits have been powerful, he added.

“Compared to the situation before, where we were creating partnerhips and entering into months of implementation dicusssions, it’s really tailored to today’s needs,” he said.  “Business and implementation has to go very fast."

The Business of APIs: Your Hundred-Day API Business Plan

Webcast replay

Sure, APIs are a technology. But APIs also are part of a value chain, and every value chain is becoming infused with APIs that drive business results. What does it take to create a business strategy that makes the most of APIs? There are clear patterns for success that will enable you to get ahead of change—rather than react to competitors and disruptors.

In this webcast replay, Apigee's Bryan Kirschner discusses:

  • why APIs are becoming an indispensable part of the value chain
  • how APIs open new opportunities for business growth
  • three things you should do in the next 100 days