Data API Management for Digital Transformation: GigaOm Research

Data API Management for Digital Transformation: GigaOm Research

Posted on July 30, 2018 0 Comments
Data API Management for Digital Transformation GigaOm Research_870x450

It's time for enterprises to move forward in their API journey. Learn how you can get started, and then dig into new research from GigaOm to find out more.

How can enterprises get started with their API journey? In a recent report from GigaOm, lead analyst Andrew Brust discusses the need for enterprises to adopt Data APIs along with APIs to move into the new era of Data Driven Operation and Digital Transformation. This post will introduce the main concepts covered in the report, and help you get started with APIs.

Top executives across every industry agree that data is a top competitive differentiator for their organization. Integrating data for true visibility into the business required IT to build a cohesive enterprise integration solution and leverage Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). APIs allow enterprises to successfully govern the quality of data, maintain a single source of truth, and generate a 360-degree view of customers. But APIs essentially are focused on application integration alone and cannot meet the analytics needs of the organization.

Today, a new set of audiences—data scientists, data engineers, BI analysts―have taken on prominent roles in an organization and need access to the raw data from their favorite BI tools such as Tableau, Power BI, Qlik, Excel, Cognos and more.

languages tools and software

Graphic Source: DataCamp

Data APIs are Essential to Unleash the Real Power of Enterprise APIs

APIs traditionally came in several flavors, and SOAP, REST, CORBA, etc. were some of the dominant ways to access enterprise data. In the last decade or so, however, the developer world has agreed to adopt the REST API as the basic framework for application integration. You can see this in the graph below, which shows Google search interest since 2004:

rest vs soap

But as noted earlier, APIs (including REST) are not suitable for analytics because they are very shallow—designed for pace, not for analyzing trends. BI tools don’t just need access to data, they need access to tabular data. That’s how your BI team and data engineers can run complex SQL queries on your enterprise data. In his whitepaper, Andrew observes how enterprises can strengthen their data strategy by building Data APIs on top of their enterprise APIs. I encourage execs to read this paper to understand the industry’s journey from databases to APIs to Data APIs.

Data APIs as a Gateway to Data Driven Operation and Digital Transformation

Although most ODBC and JDBC connectors talk to databases and most of them issue SQL queries in the database’s native dialect, things don’t have to work that way. Even a set of APIs can be translated to behave like a Database / Data API. The translated APIs are then no longer shallow—they can expose raw data in a BI-friendly manner.

Abstracting the REST API using Data APIs (the Database metaphor) is a popular trend that many IT teams are deploying in their organizations so as to access their business logic from the BI stack. If this sounds complicated, well, it can be fairly complicated if you don’t do it the right way. There are typically three ways to get started with your Data API journey (and one of them is a clear analyst/enterprise favorite):

  1. Give direct access to the database: While this gives you SQL (ODBC/JDBC) access to the database, you lose access to the business logic developed over the years. Custom procedures can be used as a workaround, but that’s not going to be easy. Moreover, sharing database credentials can lead to a security breach that you can never recover from.
  2. Build Custom Data APIs: You can always reconstruct an ODBC/JDBC based SQL query by custom coding against the regular enterprise APIs. However, it is an extremely resource-intensive task to create or maintain such a standard. And end of the day, the custom connectors you develop will need many more tweaks before they start working with all the major BI tools.
  3. Partner with a Data API management vendor: You can simply partner with Progress DataDirect, which offers a robust SDK, known as OpenAccess, to quickly build custom ODBC or custom JDBC over your enterprise APIs in just two hours. This whitepaper on SQL access for enterprise APIs explains how you can build custom Data APIs in days, rather than months or even years. Our data experts will be glad to develop a personalized Data API solution for your company.

Kick-Start your Data API Journey with the Pioneers of Data APIs

Progress DataDirect has long been a leader in data connectivity solutions. We are the co-founders of the ODBC spec and a key-member of the JDBC spec – we wrote the book when it comes to Data APIs. Over 350+ ISVs and 10,000+ enterprises rely on us for their connectivity needs. Our connectors are even embedded by 8 of the 9 BI leaders, helping them deliver a seamless experience for their end-users. DataDirect brings you OpenAccess, the same technology that our commercial connectors were built on, so that you can build world-class custom Data APIs.

Partner with us and let's get ready for Digital Transformation 2.0. Contact us to learn more.

Download the GigaOm paper


Nishanth Kadiyala

Nishanth Kadiyala is a Technical Marketing Manager at Progress. He got his B.Tech degree from IIT Guwahati and his MBA from UNC Chapel Hill. He has worked on several technologies including database designing, SQL querying and Cloud Computing in the past. Currently, he is committed to educating enterprises about standards based connectivity via ODBC, JDBC, ADO.NET and OData. He is also proficient with DataDirect Hybrid Connectivity Services – DataDirect Cloud and Hybrid Data Pipeline. You can stay in touch with him through Twitter.


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