With breakthroughs and technological advancements in Mobile, Cloud and social media, new applications have transformed the way people consume content and gain access to services. Today, there are millions of mobile devices that are in use and they are generating digital data at an exponential rate.
This massive rise in digital information is revolutionizing the way businesses operate. In order to pace with ever rising digital data footprint businesses are identifying and implementing different ways to reach out to their customer base, to fulfill their needs, in ways that are secure and easy.
There are instances where the data such as weather reports, stock information, booking status, etc needs to be shared with people outside the organizations. Data is shared either publicly or with 3rd parties to collaborate with.
This collaboration or sharing of data with people external to the organization’s infra-structure/environment is possible via software interfaces called API – Application Programming Interface. APIs or Application Programming Interfaces expose the data over the web.
On one side you have companies that share certain data publicly over the web via API. On the other, you have the developer communities who consume the company’s data via APIs within their standalone applications, mobile or web apps.
While this is being done the organization needs to ensure that the APIs being accessed are managed and secured. Thus, bringing SAP API Management into picture.
SAP API Management
Modern businesses models are being driven by an innovative solution called SAP API Management. SAP API Management is based upon digital assets and APIs to provide unified access across various devices, channels and diverse user interfaces. Developer communities are enabled to do so with secure connection to the company’s enterprise processes and information. Access to complex landscapes and back-end services are made simple enough due to the easily consumable APIs, while averting overloaded access and safe guarding your systems.
SAP API Management allows the sharing of processes and digital assets in an intuitive, secured and simple fashion with developer communities, which was not possible with the traditional websites and applications.
Why SAP for API management?
- Empower developers to connect from new user interfaces, digital channels, and devices
- Scale and govern access to enterprise data with improved policies, security, and traffic management
- Give developers and business partners simplified access to back-end services and complex landscapes
- Gain clearer insight into how and when your digital assets are being consumed – and by whom
- Seamlessly integrate with SAP applications – and provide secure user access with single sign-on
- Use insights from advanced analytics to accelerate innovation and open new revenue streams
SAP API Management Components
Using a provision of tools to manage APIs, the API Platform allows the inclusion of new APIs, contains configuration of all the existing APIs, and assists you in managing developers and apps. It provides assistance for creating and consuming APIs. If you are a service provider, you may build API proxies. In case you are an app developer, you may use those APIs, SDKs, and other convenient services.
API Analytics offers powerful analytical tools that assist to track your API usage. API analytics will collect varied information such as IP, URL, user ID for API call information, latency data, and more.
Contains tools to manage app developers providing the ability to create a developer portal for the products that are made available publicly and onboard developers.
The API Platform
The structure of the API Platform defines and outlines the relativity among the APIs, products, applications, users, developers, and accounts within the SAP API Management.
SAP API Management Account
An account represents APIs, Applications, Products, Systems, Users and Developers. The SAP Management Account takes on the highest level of data hierarchy.
Systems in SAP API Management represents an API Provider, which houses the actual backend services. This system could be either of SAP Gateway system, an ABAP system, Enterprise Service Repository, or any generic system hosting the REST services, 3rd party provided systems. SAP API Management facilitates the provision for adding and managing an API provider system. Once a system is added, you can browse through the system for APIs.
There could be ‘n’ number of users within SAP API Management. Roles and privileges distinguish different sets of users.
APIs – the Application Programming Interfaces consist of protocols, sets of routines, and tools to build software applications. APIs define the set of requirements which govern the communication among the applications, allowing various websites, applications, or devices to communicate with each other effectively, while selectively exposing certain functionalities and aiding interaction.
OData, SOAP and REST services are also supported by SAP API Management.
Bundles of APIs are called a Product. A product is made up of business specific metadata for analytics and mentoring. For instance, a CRM product has all the APIs that pertain to CRM. SAP API Management collects data related to a product for analysis purpose.
In SAP API Management, applications can be developed by one or more developers. Developers can only consume the API, they are not responsible for the creation of APIs.
An Application could be either a mobile or a web application, which consumes the exposed APIs. While creating an application, the product to be included needs to be selected. SAP API Management generates a secret key and an app key for each of the application that is created. This key gives access to multiple products. Using the exposed APIs, the developers may create one or more applications.
Depending on the kind of authorization mechanism being defined for the APIs, the application would pass an app key along with each request to the API. Valid key is essential for the requests to be processed. Various authentication types are supported by SAP API Management viz. a simple API Key, or OAuth, etc.
Phases in SAP API Management
API portal acts as a common platform for the designers of API to define and publish APIs. SAP API Management customers are provided with their own API portal application on the cloud. The API portal offers capabilities such as system configure, build and publish APIs, analyze and test APIs.
An API can be exposed after you create a system to connect to the API Provider. After this has been done, APIs can be created by associating policies to it. Once policies are associated, the API is ready to use, and can be tested using the API Test Console.
2. Publish APIs
A bundle of APIs forms a Product, which comprises of business specific metadata, for monitoring or analytics. For instance, a CRM product has all the APIs bundled that pertain to CRM. Instead of publishing individual APIs, it is lot easier to bundle together the related APIs as a Product and publish it. After including all the required APIs for a specific Product, the Product is published to the Catalog where the Product is available for application developers to browse through.
3. Analyze APIs
SAP API Management comes with comprehensive analytics capabilities, which helps to understand the various patterns of API consumption. The API Analytics server uses runtime data related to the APIs for analyzing the information. The gathered runtime data is then analyzed and displayed in the form of charts, headers, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
The detailed analytics view assists in managing APIs, attracting the right application developers, troubleshooting problems, and ultimately, to make better business decisions
4. Consume APIs
Developer portal is an application acting as a common platform for Application developers to aid in API consumption. Every SAP API Management customer is provided with their own Developer Portal application on cloud. The Developer Portal provides capabilities for on-boarding application developers, exploring and testing APIs, creating and subscribing to Applications.
SAP API Management Key Capabilities
• Core Functionality
SAP API Management serves enterprises by addressing address all API needs, with features such as provisioning and publishing of the APIs, discovery and consumption of the APIs, access control and security, monitoring operations of the developer portal, analytics and reporting.
• Discovery and Consumption
SAP API Management facilitates the discovery of APIs, subscription, catalog, etc which makes the consumption of data easy, across all devices and UI.
• Analytics and Reporting
With the revolution of in-memory computation in SAP HANA, analytics is much faster and efficient, providing real time visibility on who is accessing the enterprise information via APIs, when and how.
• Security Access and Control
With SAP API Management you get policy enforcement and API Monitoring to assist in governed and scaled access to enterprise information. SAP API Management makes data consumption easy across all devices and UIs. API strategy uses an information security model to treat all interacting parties as external and hence making them initially untrusted, enforcing security and authentication.
• API Provisioning and Publishing
Inclusion of features like API Registration, Protocol definition and Mapping, Security and Traffic policy definition, API Availability and Lifecycle Management.
SAP API Management : Cloud and On-Premise
You can have SAP API Management either On-Premise or In-Cloud. With On-Premise, one can have complete runtime control over API Platform. The API Platform contains a set of tools for API management and assist in addition, configuration of APIs, manage developers and apps. Companies that require complete runtime control may go for the on-premise edition.
Companies that want to have immediate return on their investments without going through the hassles of hardware procurement, installation and software configuration can opt for In-Cloud deployment. With In-Cloud deployment, the companies can let go off the burden of needing to administer the software upgrades and applying patches. For In-Cloud, SAP Hana Cloud Platform is best suited.
- Increase engagement among consumers, employees, and partners to generate new streams of revenue.
- Enable sharing of digital information through single solution.
- Managing data interfaces in simple, scalable, yet secure manner
- Enable businesses in simplifying the way developers integrate with SAP and non-SAP applications reducing cost, foster innovations,and improve participation in the API economy.