Editor's note: Today we hear from Remco Jansen, Telia Company’s API program manager who is responsible for API strategy and execution. Learn how this leading Stockholm-based telco uses APIs and API management to improve customer experience, partner connections, and organizational agility.
We at Telia Company have been working with APIs for a long time. Like many technology companies, we have thousands of APIs in use in our organization, but recently we decided to actively pursue a strategy to exploit the full range of possibilities with restful APIs—and also to deploy Apigee.
Three pillars for API success
When we decided to implement the Apigee API management platform for specific use cases, we soon realized that we needed to have a more clear API strategy to really leverage the technology. We had been building a lot of point-to-point integrations and also doing integration through an enterprise service bus, and we knew that this model was not going to be sustainable.
The driver for adopting the API gateway came from an architectural standpoint: we needed to have a way of decoupling back-end services from consumer services, but also needed to introduce common interfaces across the group—even when the back-end services were different across several regions.
We built our strategy on three pillars: customers, partners, and organizational agility. Our larger enterprise customers in particular expect us to have APIs to integrate their systems with ours. APIs also help us to improve the omnichannel experience for our customers, giving them the same high-quality experience, irrespective whether they visit our stores, go to our website, or use our mobile apps.
Further, we see APIs as a key enabler for collaboration with partners and aim to make our APIs region-agnostic to be even more relevant across our footprint.
And finally, we want to increase the agility in our organization by leveraging APIs so that it becomes easier and more cost efficient to develop new solutions and make changes to existing ones.
Innovating connected services
The results we’ve seen have been amazing; what can be done with a simple function has enabled some terrific use cases! I love APIs because they enable new unpredictable solutions to be created. The power of APIs is that you never know what people are going to build on top of them. That idea is clearly illustrated by our flagship use case, the Telia Zone service, which is a very simple API built on Apigee that uses the information about devices connected on a given Wi-Fi network with a Telia broadband connection.
Telia Zone now enables all kinds of home services to users, like smart doors, thermostats, ID services and logins, security, music, home automation, karaoke, and much more—all based on one simple API. About 900,000 households in Sweden have Telia Zone boxes, and soon we’ll be rolling it out in other countries, too.
Scaling for success
Over the last year we’ve seen immense growth in our API program. We’re exposing around 50 APIs and went from almost zero calls to 34 million per month by the end of last year. Our next big area of focus for the API program is productization. We’re working on getting all of our divisions to have a product manager for APIs so that we can achieve more collaboration at the product level within the company.
We will soon launch a new developer portal that will combine our existing portals and provide a single portal for all our APIs. My expectation is that the portal will drive further internal conversations about reuse and productization of APIs. We’re already seeing that even without the portal we’re starting to identify cases where we can say to stakeholders, “You know we already have an API for that.” And that’s the tipping point that we’ve been waiting for. That’s when APIs really become powerful and start to drive agility, when you can reuse APIs for new cases and don’t have to keep solving the same problem.