The two best known spy film genres are Jason Bourne and James Bond. The two on the face of it do a very similar job, but the way they go about it are subtly different.
James Bond is suave, sophisticated, independent. Yet if you drill a little deeper, James is very dependent on the whole of MI6 to deliver his service. After all where would 007 be without Q & M?
Jason Bourne, on the other hand, is an outsider and independent of the CIA. Yes, trained by them, but delivering what he needs in an agile and responsive way.
Yet the two of them ultimately need “the system” to be successful.
For Government users, APIs can deliver a number of advantages. We’ve already touched on (in a previous blog) the fact that location services can be used to alert customers when they’re near a store. Also, data can be gathered on the buying habits of an individual to target advertising. This can lead to improved customer loyalty and higher sales. Other examples could include travel apps using APIs to link to currency conversion or weather apps, to allow users to find more information about potential destinations.
There are also benefits for users of cloud storage. Businesses increasingly use the cloud to store information and exchange it between devices. APIs for cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive allow other business applications to access the storage directly, reducing the time needed to move files around.
Both of the above are examples of the self-service approach to IT, the Bourne approach. Often these involve the development or amalgamation by Lines of Business (LOB) of their own API’s to create a new services. Often that Service has bypassed traditional IT, because “A Government function” has seen IT as too slow and unresponsive to the needs of Government. These services are hosted in the cloud, again bypassing the traditional IT operation.
However, the IT operation has a responsibility to ensure that the data that is used by the Government function is both secure and governed in such a way to ensure that large amounts of duplication and/or replication of data are not introduced into the equation. This is usually seen as a slow but necessary need of a well governed organisation, keen not to ruin its reputation.
Thus we get to see that there are competing dynamics and tensions between the needs of the business and the needs of the overall organisation. Gartner have described this as the bimodal IT approach. The need to provide Government with the ability to respond to changing Citizen needs whilst ensuring that good governance and security are maintained. Directors of integration or more commonly Digital Leads are being challenged to support the agility, flexibility and rapid integration long coveted by lines of business (LOBs), departments, application teams and power users, while maintaining a certain degree of centralised control and governance.
Implementing a Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP) that exists both in the cloud and on premise is seen as a necessary solution to meet the bimodal capability. The key elements include:
Establishing an integration facility (not a centre of excellence) to support a self-service style of integration. This facility must not be seen as a “centre for bottlenecks”, but an active facilitator of best practise and guidance to get projects up and running in integrating their solution and services into an organisation. James Bond would see this very much as Q’s department; the area that helps Bond facilitate the work he has to carry out.
Maintaining an overall governance structure that accommodates the highly adaptive aspects of HIP. The facility will have a body of templates, patterns, guidance and if necessary expertise to help LOB’s and super-users get at what is already available to shorten “time to market” cycles. Bond would call upon the knowledge and expertise of M to facilitate a successful outcome to his operation. Whilst M is keen to ensure Bond does not stray outside the bounds of what is acceptable.
W3Partnership, with their chosen partners are Digital Integration experts in providing integration facilities and common integration assets (CIA) to lines of business to shorten service lifecycles. For further reading see our white paper here http://w3partnership.com/BvB.html or contact us at Info@w3partnership.com to discuss your requirements.