Faster value from your API management infrastructure

Building an API-first infrastructure, with robust API management in place, can ensure your business operates with maximum efficiency – something that is particularly important during times of recession and economic hardship. That path to maximum value and efficiency may involve overcoming a few challenges – including ensuring your infrastructure is the right size – but it can also deliver plenty of benefits.

What’s stopping you from achieving faster time to value?

Time to value is a combination of getting your product to market, getting it in the hands of your intended users and enabling them to achieve a desired outcome. Being keen to get to market faster doesn’t automatically make it happen. Several factors could be holding you back if you’re struggling to improve your time to value.

1. Infrastructure setup and reinventing the wheel

This is one of the key blockers from getting to market faster. Extensive infrastructure setups cost time and resources, plus this is seldom a one-off commitment, as once set up you also need to maintain your infrastructure on an ongoing basis. Admittedly this may be unavoidable in some cases, especially where data sovereignty requirements are strict, or you desire really low level, fine grained control over your system. 

Then there is the classic, “Why should we pay for it when we can build it ourselves?” line of thought. Of course you can build it – but do you really need to? When you are getting started, it’s better to consider if a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform will meet your needs and get your product to your users faster.

2. API and overall application security 

While speed of delivery is important, you must ensure that your solution is secure. There are no silver bullets here. The solution needs to be considered as a whole, with each component contributing to its overall security. A combination of authentication, authorisation, access control or even web application firewalls may be applied. However, in order to know what you need to get up and running quickly, you need to be clear about your needs – are you in a highly regulated industry with strict security requirements or is there room for flexibility? Do you need custom security solutions or can you use off-the-shelf? Are you adding to your security requirements just because a competitor or someone else in the industry is doing it?

Which leads us to…

3. Overplanning or planning too far ahead

This is also known as analysis paralysis – and we’ve all been there! You have this big and amazing vision for the future of your product, and you want to get there as soon as possible. You look at your competitors and industry leaders (who have been around for multiple years) and think you should do what they are doing. But stop. It’s not going to work. 

It is great to be ambitious, to be inspired by Amazon, Netflix and Spotify, but the truth is that the scale of their problems and their solutions is very different from yours. Trying to map what they have in version 142 of their product to your v1 makes little sense. Plus requirements will inevitably change and your plan must change accordingly. A better approach would be to launch with a minimal viable product (MVP), get feedback from real users and scale up in an agile and iterative way – which is precisely what those industry leaders did.

API management platform(s) to the rescue

Now that we know what’s stopping you from accelerating your time to value, what can we do about it? The answer lies in changing processes, mindset and using the right tools and platforms. We touched upon the process and mindset bit briefly (I believe it really deserves a post of its own – watch this space!). For now, go agile, iterative and collaborative. 

What I want to focus on next is tools and platforms, particularly API management platforms – and specifically Tyk’s API management platform! Tyk delivers far greater flexibility than many other API platforms – check out our review of Tyk versus Apigee, for example – which means you can adapt and iterate swiftly as you evolve and scale.

When considering any tool or platform early on in your journey, there are three things that it should bring to the table:

1. Simplicity and ease of use

An API management platform helps simplify your application architecture. It abstracts away the administrative requirements like security, monitoring, versioning and cataloguing, while leaving your backend microservices to focus on the business logic of your application, enabling you to design and deploy APIs faster while enjoying full confidence that each of your products will have standardised security.

The platforms should be easy to use and onboard, without having a steep learning curve. One way to do this is by having a great user experience; the other is through support for OpenAPI standards. This enables developers to use their existing toolset harmoniously with the API management platform to create and manage quality applications.

2. Flexibility

This is the solution to overplanning up front. It can be classified into two parts – technical flexibility and billing flexibility. Technical flexibility includes support for different API styles, different security methodologies, deployment patterns – self-managed, SaaS or hybrid, and the ability to extend your solution by creating custom plugins. Billing flexibility gives you the ability to scale up or scale down your plan based on your changing needs and cost implications, especially in a SaaS environment. 

A flexible solution that adapts to your evolving needs goes a long way in providing peace of mind to you and your team. 

3. Customer support

Customer support is another important factor. There’s little more frustrating than getting stuck and then having to wait for days on end for someone to reply to your ticket. If you’re looking to move fast and efficiently, choosing an API management solution with a helpful and responsive support service is a must.

Tyk – an express API gateway to faster time to value

With that perspective and those initial challenges in mind, let’s look at how Tyk’s API management platform accelerates your product’s time to value.

1. Technical flexibility and API security

Tyk supports different API styles like SOAP, REST, GraphQL and gRPC. It also supports different API security methodologies, like Auth token, JWT, Open Authorization, Role-based Access Control (Rbac), as well support for identity providers (IdPs) like KeyCloak, Gluu and Okta to enable Dynamic Client Registration (DCR).

Moreover, Tyk has extensive support for custom plugins, both out of the box and ones that you can create in a language of your choice. To take things even further, Tyk has built-in support for Open Policy Agent, making it possible to add custom, fine-grained policy rules to your API stack for better governance.

Tyk also adheres to a lego-blocks, right tool for the right job philosophy, where you can delegate specific tasks of your solution to dedicated tools, with Tyk bringing it all together into a cohesive, efficient and effective unit. 

2. Open source and OpenAPI standards

Working with open source tools and OpenAPI standards enables easier adoption and faster integration with tools when needed. Tyk’s API management platform is powered by an open source API gateway, which is easy to use and deploy, providing greater transparency into what’s under the hood. Tyk supports open standards like OpenAPI Specification (OAS) and OpenTelemetry. 

OAS enables developers to use their existing tools to build and deploy APIs using a design-first approach, while OpenTelemetry brings in more robust monitoring and overall observability to your API product stack. 

3. Tyk’s vendor agnostic offerings

Tyk is vendor agnostic, which means that you can deploy it on any hosting solution of your choice, without being tied to an ecosystem. You can deploy Tyk in three different ways: 

  • Tyk Self-managed, where you own and manage your own infrastructure
  • Tyk Cloud, a managed SaaS offering to get you up and running quickly
  • Tyk Hybrid Cloud, where you host the API gateways, with a Tyk-managed control plane providing a single pane of glass for your API portfolio

4. Best in class customer experience and support

Tyk is known for its top of the line customer support. Our core belief is that technical features will never be a key differentiator for any company, at least not for long. What truly stands out is the people that make up the company and the experience that users have interacting with them, i.e. the customer experience. And yes, of course, every vendor will claim they are the best – but few can back it up. So, here are some stats to help you make up your mind:

  • In the last three months, we’ve hit 99% SLA compliance on support ticket response times
  • In the same period, we achieved a 98% customer satisfaction score
  • Our first response time average for Gold SLA clients is 38 minutes

Right, over to you! If you’re ready to start realising the value of your API-based core infrastructure, you can trial Tyk today. I hope this article gave you a good sense of some common tropes that prevent product teams from achieving faster time to value, and how to set yourself up for success as you navigate through uncertain times!

Don’t agree with what I think or have your own opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected]