Alpha Software Blog

Minimizing Risk in Enterprise API Management

One thing that is often neglected by developers when building enterprise apps, or other, apps, is the concept of Risk Management or due diligence.

In our ever more open and API-driven world, there are many inherent risks for app developers that are often neglected or downplayed.  But if you're building an app that has one or more APIs as the cornerstone of the solution, you may be risking more than you're really willing to...

An open, or secure, API call usually returns data in a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) or XML format. That data can be massaged, placed in databases or fields and used in apps for real-time reporting, data entry,etc.

That sounds pretty cool and it is! BUT, there is a scary little dark side to the use of an API.... Shhhh... don't tell anyone... What if the API changes, is shut down or is unstable? Hmmm? Now that doesn't sound so cool anymore...

Negotiating with Vendors

For example, a CRM vendor invested millions on to create an extraordinary  tool that relied heavily on LinkedIn. But after several years, LinkedIn effectively shut their API off and the CRM vendor is now piecing together what's left of his system, with much functionality taken away overnight by a simple act of closing down an API.  Will the vendor survive? Hard to say. But one thing is obvious and that is the risk involved in building something that relies heavily on something else you don't have control over.

One recommendation is to negotiate, up front, with API vendors to ensure that their APIs cannot be removed, scaled back or shut down during a specified period of time or forever. This is not a perfect solution, but it provides a little ease of mind.

Maintaining a Clear Conscience in Enterprise API Managment

Have alternate API options available should the API you're relying on bellies up or doesn't fulfill its part of the bargain. This may not be plausible which again brings up the question: Is the risk in basing my app / business on a vendor's API, which I don't control, worth it? That's a million dollar question which beckons your full attention...

RelateRick Zanotti is the president of RELATE, an IT and Training consulting firm in business since 1984. He upper level IT management experience, has implemented numerous ERP systems and also is adept at multimedia and broadcasting. He has over 35 years experience in Systems, Training and Business. Rick is also a video podcaster, public speaker and Management consultant. Rick loves dogs and teaching martial arts.

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Rick Zanotti

The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.