API and application integration governance

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Good governance, simply put, is a setup of structure and processes that produce results to meet the needs of all stakeholders while making the best use of resources available to an enterprise at any given time.

An API and application integration governance framework should facilitate good governance. It must allow the initiative to evolve, and iteratively present best practices based on results achieved.

The THIS API and Application Integration Governance Framework enables cohesive integration across the enterprise such that all elements are connected, rationalized, and organized to provide consistent guidance and incentives that executives and business unit leaders require.

 

Establish vision

Formalize roles & responsibilities

Establish standard and best practices

Establish governance process

Define measurement criteria

Figure: Mature governance framework

Integration governance

Building the ability to achieve “automated integration” is key to succeeding with your digital transformation goals. We see senior executive teams committing their time and resources to operationalize governance structures and institutionalize integration principles to be adopted.

Integration governance typically factors in all aspects of governance, from the duties of the decision-making authorities to the integration team structure and operating model, moving into how it translates to B2B and B2C scenarios and people’s day-to-day implementation responsibilities.

Integration Governance and Empowerment Framework
Governance
through API and
Application Integration
Framework
Governance board
How do we ensure acceptance?
Governance artifacts - guidebooks, principles and best practices
How to setup an integration centre of excellence with tailor-made
cook-books, rules, decision-trees and principles?
API and integration lifecycle governance
Are we identifying and building the right APIs ? How to ensure use
and reuse?
Integration technology stack governance
Are we using the right integration technologies, products and frameworks?
Are we using them the right way?
Tools to automate and support governance
How do we leverage self-service and self-help through automated compliance
and Governance tools?

Successful integration governance starts with and hinges on the correct identification of three key profiles:

The beneficiary – an individual or team that assumes responsibility for your business to realize the benefit of digitization to a selected community of users

 

The enabler – the team that takes ownership of modifying or adding elements to legacy assets to meet your enterprise’s digital needs

 

The catalyst – the team that brings it all together i.e. aligns beneficiary’s priorities to the enabler’s change roadmap. This team is responsible for the “integrated experience”

Application integration maturity assessment framework

To assess whether your policies and guidelines are purely on paper (no matter how clearly and forcefully they are articulated), or whether your people actually have the understanding, motivation and means to implement these and ensuring they do implement them, is determined by the maturity of your governance set up.

The application integration maturity model matrix

The table below gives a snapshot of classification criteria for different levels of maturity

integration maturity model matrix
Management has no
clear vision or budget
for integration
Integration repository
and registry tools are
not used; review
processes are not
identified
Reference architecture
does not exist
Services/APIs may be
exposed but is highly
subjective to a single
project with
non-standard interfaces
Governance team is
non-existent
Service live support
and operations team
does not exist
Different teams are in
place and their roles and
responsibilities are
defined
Service design and
development best
practices are defined
Integration reference
architecture is defined
Services/APIs have
standard and uniform
interface but are not
well documented
Governance team is
empowered and has full
support of senior
management
Operations procedures
are standardized
Costing models for
service development
and re-use are identified
Integration repository
and registry tools are
used
Services are verified for
compliance with best
practices and principles
Services/APIs roadmap
is defined and published
using repository
Governance team
involves in technical
decision making in
frameworks and
practices
Service deployments
are controlled using
strict and disciplined
processes
ROI measurement plans
and strategy in place
Tools are used
effectively to collect
service usage and
performance metrics
used
Architecture is tweaked
to facilitate automated
measurement
Services/APIs quality
parameters are defined
and measured
Governance architects
define the service
measurable parameters
and strategy to measure
them
Hardware and OS
resources are measured
in production
environments
Business and IT are fully
aligned; IT can respond
faster to changing
business needs with
lower costs
Processes are fully
automated
Robust architecture
enterprise-wide where
capacity is dynamically
managed with cloud
computing
Services/APIs are
designed with right
granularity to be
composed in a business
process
Influences all future
projects of the
organization to be
aligned to integration
Operations team uses
state-of-the art tools for
monitoring all technical
resources to ensure
high availability and
quality of service

Integration architecture - principles & decision trees

Building an integration backbone for your enterprise that consistently delivers on business objectives, is no mean task. You will need to consider several factors, including:

  • Integration scenarios at both the application and data levels
  • Asynchronous and synchronous integration scenarios
  • Hybrid integration scenarios
  • UI integration scenarios
  • Decision trees and Integration rules that determine when to use which integration methodology and technology
Master decision tree

Decision trees to determine integration scenarios and appropriate integration target tools

integration Governance Decision Tree
Start
Process
integration level
Data integration
level
Real-time
synchronous
integration
Real-time
asynchronous
integration
Real-time
asynchronous
integration with
callback
Batch integration
-unitary-
Batch integration
-bulk-
API
Event
ETL
API manager
Microservices
Kafka/Similar
Point to point
iPaaS
ESB
ETL tool

Setting up API governance

Good API governance can be visualized in terms of a chocolate fountain with several levels. At the top level, you have enterprise-wide enterprise architecture governance.

Policies and process enforcement flow from enterprise architecture governance into IT governance. The flow continues from IT and integration governance into API governance.

At the program level, API governance covers the lifecycle stages and demand management. Governance would include overseeing topics such as:

 

API portfolio management – determining the inputs and drivers, along with the approach:

  • Domain driven approach
  • Vs.

  • Customer journey-based approach
 

Demand management – types of demand, demand channels and sources

 

API design guidelines, API identification best-practices, interface design guidelines

 

Funding & charging models for your API initiative

 

Best practices for monetizing your APIs

 

Measuring consumer satisfaction for your APIs

Alignment of IT portfolio and API portfolio
Alignment of IT and API portfolio

Business strategy

Customer demand

Inputs from
sales & marketing

IT portfolio management

Project portfolio and
IT roadmap

API portfolio management

API portfolio and
API roadmap

Typical starting points to determine your API governance strategy would be to identify:

  1. What are my business KPIs in order of priority and who is the end beneficiary?
  2. Are there existing user journeys that I could automate?
  3. What unique data and functionality exist within my enterprise that I can take to new markets?
  4. What useful insights or trends can I gather from data specific to my business?
  5. What collaborations can I forge with other industries to create new offers and reach new audiences?

Your governance strategy and structure are very unique to your business. They will encapsulate and deliver upon your drivers and expectations. There is no one-size-fits-all in the case of governance.

Our team of governance consultants can help you with:

API governance team set up – We help plan the team structure, responsibilities and infrastructure required to set up architectural principles and provide guidance on policies to the governed teams. Policy enforcement is a key part of this function.

API governance function implementation – We help bridge the gap between the governance framework and operational realities. Set up sustained governance by creating a feedback loop in which the business can identify and respond to changing needs

API platform governance implementation – We help structure governance related to the API platform, adherence to the separation of concerns, overseeing platform evolution and governance of platform lifecycle.

Governance operating model – We help bring governance to the level of people’s day-to-day job responsibilities, the nuts and bolts with respect to your digital initiative.

Funding models for your API initiatives

APIs are valuable, tradable products, capable of generating huge value for your enterprise.

API Governance API Governance
 

Self service

API marketing

API product management

API developer support

Financial operations

Therefore, how you socialize your APIs, how you maximize participation and engagement with them and what worth you attach to them have to be carefully envisioned and acted upon.

A few common API charging models used in different customer scenarios are:

  1. Centralized funding from the IT budget
  2. Pay per use for APIs built on-demand by Lines of Business (LoBs)
  3. First consumer funding for API development
  4. One-time payment for reuse

Impact of the API governance framework at different stages

The THIS Application Integration and API Governance Framework enables governance teams to perform activities that have a steadying effect during each project stage. We work closely with your teams to manage deliverables, monitor success, and create the required feedback loop.

Governance activities by stage:

Requirements THIS works to analyze your performance requirements.

  • Ensure coordination between BA and API service architects to identify service candidates
  • Ensure domain experts are consulted to standardize and bring service requirements in line with the business domain
  • Approve changes to existing APIs to accommodate new requirements

Solution architecture & design THIS establishes standards for each stage.

  • Ensure solution is in accordance with API standards
  • Ensure the right versions of APIs are being used for the solution
  • Ensure API design and interface documents are detailed enough for further implementation

Development to production THIS establishes governance tasks and responsibilities from development - testing - production!

Development

  • Ensure services are developed in accordance with defined service contracts
  • Ensure that defined service development and security guidelines are adhered to
  • Ensure coordination between shared service, development, and project teams

Testing

  • Ensure execution of service test plans
  • Ensure collection of metrics
  • Ensure test exit criteria are met in the test exit report

Production

  • Ensure consumer’s SLAs are not breached
  • Ensure API platform capacity can meet more requests without platform degradation
  • Ensure the API service’s security is not breached

Implementing a successful API governance framework

There is no predefined governance structure that intrinsically delivers business benefits. At Torry Harris, we first analyze how clients measure performance, and what their capabilities and constraints are. We then establish a realistic, fit-for-purpose team with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

These key stages are a part of the topics covered by an application integration and API governance framework for efforts surrounding APIs and integration.

A THIS governance framework covers functional business objectives like:

  • Establishing key stakeholders
  • Correct ways of API discovery
  • Processes for creating consistent API requirements.
  • Processes to track re-use and measure RoI
  • API lifecycle management
  • API charging models
  • Processes for managing service capacity
  • Establishing SLAs and consumer satisfaction criteria

The role of API/Integration governance is to balance competing objectives to the benefit of all stakeholder interests. The purpose of governance is to align the interests of all stakeholders as closely as possible to the objectives of the organization’s integration-driven digital programmes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Customer Stories
Torry Harris enables API driven digital capability for Pure Planet; helps in ESB implementation & Middleware Integration
Three Ireland partners with Torry Harris to implement its BSS transformation program; uses Torry Harris API gateway
Campbell McClean talks about his experience with Torry Harris implementing his Integration projects

Other Resources