Why DevOps and APIs are a good match

In our technology-driven world, organizations cannot afford to stand still. They need to deliver software at high velocity without sacrificing stability, which is why DevOps has be-come such a popular approach. As the name suggests, DevOps is an attempt to combine software development and IT operations in order to effectively get the best of both worlds: the rapid iteration favored by the former and the stability, reliability and security favored by the latter. Ultimately, DevOps helps to ensure that IT can more effectively support the needs of the business. But it isn’t just DevOps practices that improve the bottom line for companies. Alongside the move to DevOps, companies are also recognizing the need for API strategies to accelerate innovation. Together, DevOps and APIs deliver greater business value than what they can deliver individually.

Of the 50 enterprises ECS Digital surveyed, only 11 percent said they aren’t planning to adopt DevOps. Modern, “fail fast”, cloud-centric organizations powered by automated and agile development processes like Amazon are leading the DevOps charge. For those more reliant on legacy technology and operating in highly regulated industries, such as financial services, adoption o this relatively new approach has been slower. After all, DevOps requires a significant cultural change. However, many are starting the journey by adopting new tools to strip out inefficiencies from the development lifecycle. It’s all about accelerating time-to-market to meet customer demand, while reducing failure rates and inefficiency.

There are challenges associated with this new approach to software development and delivery. For example, if organizations become too focused on the production model, it can become all-too-easy to keep on pushing out software or worse, those assets live in a silo and aren’t discoverable and reusable by the rest of the business. Just because it is much easier to produce in this environment, it doesn’t mean the code production treadmill should keep on turning unfettered. Organizations therefore need to balance the highly efficient DevOps production model with an efficient consumption and reuse model via APIs.

Organizations therefore need to balance the highly efficient DevOps production model with an efficient consumption and reuse model via APIs. Consider a DevOps project designed to expose customer data from a legacy platform onto a mobile app. With a well-designed API, that legacy data can be discovered inside the organization by other teams so that they too can use the information for other projects. The approach is faster, more efficient and cost-effective. Additionally, the more discoverable the assets, the faster they become ready for reuse, potentially to audiences that might otherwise not have known about them, thus driving greater agility and innovation.

With this API-led connectivity approach, every asset be-comes a managed API, discoverable through self-service with no loss of control. Organizations as diverse as Spotify and Siemens are already embracing this approach to be-come more agile, efficient and innovative.

The marriage of API-led connectivity with DevOps will not necessarily be easy, requiring a change in mind-set to one where assets are produced with the intent that others will consume them in the business. As such, central IT needs to change culturally to become an enabler of reusable, self-service consumption.

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