Digital transformation is expected to play an even bigger role in 2023, as customers and employees demand easy access to services on-demand, and businesses look to transformative technologies like 5G and AI to innovate and improve user experiences. A recent IDC report—Worldwide Digital Transformation Spending Guide—forecasts that digital transformation spending will reach $3.4 trillion in 2026. It has become a priority for nearly every organization, and projects that can help drive innovation and agility, such as moving to multicloud or hybrid models and modernizing legacy infrastructure, are prioritized.
To accelerate digital transformation and meet employee and customer needs, connecting business processes, systems, and applications is critical, and IT leaders tasked with this should be planning for the implementation of automation APIs. API integration helps enterprises automate their business and operational processes end-to-end and better collaborate with partners. Organizations can realize significant improvements in productivity, innovation, and revenue across many crucial elements of their business by leveraging APIs. And, as more service providers automate the buying and selling of services through open, standardized APIs, it’s a natural extension to pull through the same business and operational automation to the enterprise with managed services offerings.
Advantages of implementing business and operational APIs
- Empower subscribers with frictionless access to digital services.
- Reduce or eliminate errors in ordering and managing services from multiple vendors for connectivity, security, etc.
- Avoid costly, proprietary interfaces that may lock in an organization to a single provider.
- Enable end-to-end service automation across multiple providers.
- Accelerate service turn-up, both on-net, and off-net.
Here are some recommendations to help you get started on the automation API journey.
Research what’s available
Consider open, standardized APIs. Integrating proprietary APIs is time and resource intensive because each implementation is unique. Standardized APIs offer a common set of languages and service descriptions to work from and eliminate the manual processes of automating interconnection between networks and other services, lessening some of the barriers to implementation. In addition, standardized APIs, such as those offered by MEF, allow you to “invest once” and scale with multiple providers and services. For example, as 5G becomes widespread and more data moves to the cloud, managed services purchased by the enterprise will be delivered across multiple operators, from 5G to the core network to the cloud and so on. Operational automation APIs enable the service to be delivered seamlessly across all those operators and allows the enterprise to have end-to-end visibility of that service.
Focus on the business ROI
Many enterprises implementing standard APIs see measurable ROI very quickly. Reduced complexity enables better collaboration with partners and customers. Elimination of previously manually intensive processes enables an enterprise to operate far more efficiently, and because IT departments spend less time on customization and integration of proprietary APIs, costs are significantly reduced. However, among the largest improvement is in superior user experience and customer satisfaction.
Ask for open, standardized automation APIs in your RFIs/RFPs for services
Organizations moving forward with digital transformation initiatives, legacy infrastructure modernization, or cloud migration projects should consider including standardized automation APIs in their RFIs/RFPs for the ordering, provisioning, management, billing, etc., of services. Requiring automated business and operational functions via APIs can help eliminate or greatly reduce manual processes and errors and speed up the delivery of services as well as adds, moves, and changes. They help accelerate transformation projects and further drive innovation throughout the organization.
MEF Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) APIs define open, standardized business automation designed to accelerate service delivery and supply chain interoperability and can be implemented and used by anyone. MEF also is accelerating the development of operational APIs to complement the business automation APIs for functions such as service operations, administration, and management.
APIs continue to grow in importance as organizations increasingly rely on them to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. As companies evaluate, implement, and deploy APIs to drive innovation, achieve greater agility, and develop new applications and services, consider open, standardized APIs for a "build once, deploy anywhere" opportunity.
Pascal Menezes is CTO of MEF. Read his other Network Computing articles and view his full bio here.
(Editor’s note: This article is part of our regular series of articles from the industry experts at MEF.)