The last two years have seen unprecedented disruption and upheaval, the kind that we never thought we’d witness in peacetime. The Covid-19 pandemic brought air travel to a virtual standstill, changed the way we work, and caused immense tragedy for millions around the globe. And some of these trends will stay with us into the next decade and beyond.
Working from home is now an accepted part of our working lives, on a scale that we would not have imagined in the early part of 2020. Supply chains have been forced to adapt to enormous challenges - and not all of it caused by the pandemic.
And the healthcare sector had to rise to the task of managing the influx of patients with an entirely new disease with a wide range of symptoms. It is a testament to the technological advances of science and medicine that multiple vaccines and treatments were created within 12 months.
While human endeavor and ingenuity are the main driving factors behind these incredible achievements, there’s no doubt integration accelerated these herculean feats. For instance, many vaccines came about through cooperation and collaboration between companies, institutions, and governments.
Pfizer and Biontech, AstraZeneca, and Oxford University are just two examples of successful partnerships that came up with effective vaccines.
What does it mean for 2022 and beyond?
With the value of integration being proven time and time again, the API economy is an integral component of the digital era. In fact, according to a survey from Vanson Bourne, 91% of key IT decision-makers say APIs are or would be very important to their company’s operations.
Furthermore, the same survey suggests API needs are becoming increasingly advanced, with 83% saying that basic API management solutions are no longer adequate to serve their organizations; needs.
In 2022, we expect to see more demand for sophisticated API management software, like Universal Adapter. The way we use APIs is also set to evolve, including an increased focus on internal operations. Let’s take a look at some of the key trends coming up in the next 12 months and beyond:
Internal APIs will continue to be the focus
As mentioned, internal APIs will continue to dominate the market. This is supported by data from Google’s State of the API Economy 2021 report. It suggests that around 50% of APIs are solely designed for internal purposes, with 44% serving both internal and external. Just 6% of APIs are designed exclusively for external operations.
The pandemic has forced companies to embrace remote working, and with the work from home phenomenon taking hold, there will be an increased emphasis on internal operations. APIs can be used to synergize projects and tasks with team members working from multiple locations.
This is in line with what we’ve seen at Universal Adapter. Our clients often seek to better coordinate their internal operations, improve data management, and automate processes as much as possible.
Facilitating hybrid SaaS and Cloud deployments
One of the core advantages of APIs is their ability to work with multiple platforms with different data formats. As cloud technology becomes a mainstay of businesses, companies are merging cloud-based solutions with SaaS products. Once again, this plays to the strengths of APIs, which can help to integrate the two types of platforms to serve your business.
A good example of a hybrid SaaS is Salesforce and its Integration Cloud platform. Set up in 2018, it allows clients to utilize Salesforce’s leading CRM solutions with other cloud-based programs in areas such as HR, shipping, and other key business processes.
The purpose behind these integrations is to add functionality to existing SaaS solutions, something 40% of SaaS companies recognize in their pricing structure, which reflects the value it gives to clients. Since the emergence of Salesforce over 20 years ago, SaaS technology has evolved and has become more personalized than ever before.
And APIs are playing a pivotal role in this trend, supporting integrations with other platforms.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Drives API Management
AI is not a new thing. However, both AI and ML (machine learning) are constantly evolving as tools to support the workplace. As companies continue to automate their processes as much as possible, AI and ML can play a crucial role in data management, performance analytics, and security.
In the last year alone, there was a 73% increase in API analytics, which is fueled by the fact that AI can help companies do this with minimal input.
By 2022, we can expect to see enhanced AI and ML capabilities in API management. For instance, API security looks set to be increasingly automated to deal with the ever-evolving vulnerabilities in data and other sensitive information.
With the support of ML, APIs can be protected from security threats as it evolves. As one expert explained, the strengths of ML and APIs are both similar and complementary:
“When you look at the strengths of ML, the biggest strength is to process data at scale. And newer applications have taken a turn in the form of API-driven applications.
“Large pieces of applications have been broken down into smaller pieces, and these smaller pieces are being exposed as even smaller applications in themselves. To process the information going between all these applications, to monitor what activity is going on, the scale at which you need to deal with them has gone up manyfold. That’s the reason why ML algorithms form the best-suited class of algorithms to deal with the challenges we face with API-driven applications.”
The importance of API security cannot be overstated, and getting it wrong could lead to severe consequences for your business. The value of having a robust security strategy backed by ML is both financial and reputational, with your assets and customer details protected.
And this is just one area where ML and AI are set to make a difference for APIs in the coming decade.
API Landscape in a Constant State of Evolution
There is no single great transformative trend or product to speak of in the API industry but it is constantly evolving. The picture from just 5 years ago will be radically different from the one we see today. The emergence of AI and ML into the mainstream is one aspect where unprecedented change can be seen.
The trick is to continually evolve with the times and be proactive in optimizing your API ecosystem as much as possible. Automation, training, and investment will all help your business stay one step ahead. However, to get started and to take full advantage of APIs, you need to use an advanced API management platform like Universal Adapter.