Image Blog API B2B Integration
August 24, 2012

APIs for B2B Integration


APIs are precisely the long-missing bridge in facilitating B2B interaction, addressing businesses that generally haven’t thought about their respective capacities for interfacing when they’re in production. This makes any future, mutually beneficial liaisons that much more difficult to execute. APIs lowers these technical barriers, allowing businesses to collaborate effectively in the interests of their now growing pool of consumers.

As one might expect, the adoption of APIs uncovers new metrics for gauging company performance.  As they say, the whole is always more than the sum of the parts. An API in a B2B collaboration reaps greater, usually unforeseen dividends for all three parties involved – the two businesses and the consumer.

The Reach of Enterprise Technology

The many direct benefits for B2B API integration are clear and present. Yet, along with unforeseen advantages, there do exist some concerns. In the climate of increasingly prevalent and sophisticated cyber-attacks and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) - related system breaches, this type of enterprise technology can’t be completely open. In an ideal world, complete openness would yield the greatest benefit for interaction, correction and user-friendliness. But in this world of fair (and unfair, of course) and healthy competition and system compromises, most API code must be semi-private, if not altogether private.

This isn’t an issue solely of safety, however. Most APIs simple are as robustly applicable as the major ones with which every businessperson and consumer is familiar. It’s actually fairly rare for a company to put out an API platform that will have the widespread utility of Twitter or some Microsoft Windows application. Usually, the kind of enterprise technology that a businessman would invest in would be shared between App developers with whom he shares business relationships of varying degrees of involvement.

Akana API Management’s Options for API Sharing

The developer community available through Akana API Management platform is tailor-made for securing APIs for B2B integration. It gives enterprise technologists a range of options for collaborative integration across multi-platform programs. Since most business program interfaces are somewhat specialized, as mentioned, they can only really benefit from limited programmer-community interference anyway, with the specific scenarios being:

  1. Two companies realize that they have two applications that would enhance each other, and the combination of which would increase the applicability and user-friendliness to their respective groups of customers. Bringing them together successfully now widens the pool of consumers for both companies. The collaboration between this duo is termed “private sharing of enterprise technology”.
  2. The second option enabled by our API management product is “semi-private sharing”, which facilitates the exchange and integrated use of code between multiple business partners.

The Akana API Management platform implements certain built-in restrictions to enhance the effects of B2B integration of APIs even further. Companies using an API can remain “cloaked” if the originating company has multiple business partners but wants each to remain unaware of the other. The originating company can also impose a lock-and-key directive on the use of their program interface, by enabling access only to businesses that have received an invitation to join the private group. Akana API management specifically aids this by keeping that API invisible within their index, so it can’t be searched for. There are a number of variations on this theme, and they’re all geared to meet the needs of the B2B collaboration.


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