Read the interview of Marco van der Hoeven, editor-in-chief of Executive People with Lex Crielaars, CTO at SMT. During the interview he talks about AppyThings, why API data is important for organizations and especially what role SMT plays in this. You can also read the interview on the Executive People website.
Work better with API data
Organizations that use APIs extensively in their infrastructure see a huge amount of data going through their network. Not only is the exchange of that data business critical, but this data can also provide valuable information with which customers can be served even better. That is why SMT and AppyThings have joined forces to process API data using Splunk.
The online economy can’t do without APIs. Connections between systems are not only business critical, they are becoming a more integral part of a business model. For example, a postal company can offer an API for finding the nearest service point to all kinds of web shops. For them it is essential that the API continues to function properly.
Also, the systems in their network must have sufficient capacity to handle fluctuations in the number of API calls. A sudden peak that overloads the systems leads to lower quality or even a complete loss of service. Smart insights from analyzing the API platform can prevent many unpleasant surprises. Analysis can also prevent abuse and recognize human errors.
Due to the increasing importance of both APIs as such and the added value of analysis, SMT and AppyThings have joined forces. AppyThings specializes in providing implementations of API management, while SMT focuses on obtaining value from large amounts of unstructured data by using Splunk. Lex Crielaars, CTO at SMT explains: “It’s about the value that can be derived from the data. Think of issues such as: “Which less obvious conclusions can be drawn?” And “What decisions can an organization make to help them grow?” This can be done with a platform like Splunk and you can also link data to other data in the organization, to get even more value out of that. ”
He mentions a real-life example: “One of the problems that a food delivery service ran into, was that people could adjust the final amount due to a programming error on the website. For example, they could order a meal for ten cents. When you capture such API data in a platform like Splunk you receive a real-time warning that something is wrong, so action can be taken.”
“So, in addition to business intelligence, it is also security, error prevention and fraud detection. In short, it ensures business continuity. Not all organizations have so much to do with APIs, but for the companies that do, it really is the continuity of their core business which is at stake. They have similar questions about the use of APIs, the insight they want is comparable.”
“The collaboration grew organically, initially because we met and talked about the possibilities and questions of our customers. We quickly found out that there is a lot of valuable data in the APIs of our customers, which is captured in the API management of AppyThings. They understand APIs, we understand analytics and Big Data, so it all came together nicely.” Coincidentally, both parties also appeared to have a joint customer. The respective contact persons within that organization were brought in contact with each other. “That has led to solutions that they can benefit from once again.”
The Big Data market continues to develop rapidly. “SMT has been active in the Big Data market for almost nine years, so we know what the shortcomings are. This allows us to properly assess which services are appropriate for our customers’ demands. And if a company from a certain branch responds positively to an idea, we can assume that it also applies to other parties. ”
“Especially, in the field of analytics, a customer sometimes doesn’t know what he is missing out on. But when we point out the possibilities, they indicate that they wished they had those insights before. From time to time we see that the market is not ready yet, but you can predict that this need will arise within the foreseeable future. And even we are sometimes surprised by the possibilities that certain combinations can offer.”
The introduction of Big Data and analytics solutions is often a gradual process in which organizations are growing more and more. “Usually you start with the low hanging fruits, and from there more questions will arise about what else can be done in the field of analytics. The time when companies had to make decisions based on their gut feeling is far behind us.”
“Companies are increasingly becoming more driven data. Data becomes information to make decisions quickly. For example, one day an insurance company noticed that their sales lagged considerably. By quickly analyzing the dashboards with real-time data, they discovered that a competitor had just started a campaign that had an effect. With this information they were able to take immediate action, instead of finding out after three months. ”
Handling data this way, requires a different mindset, according to Crielaars. “It is important to ensure that the data is good and reliable. The saying garbage in – garbage out is also applicable here. That is something that we always pay close attention to with our customers. They are happy to implement the changes that are needed, because they know what the opportunities are if they do well. That goes beyond installing and configuring software. It is a process in which people play an important role. We help our customers in the entire process from A to Z. “