A Catalyst for the Digital Economy and Resilience” API Management Summit KSA
Ain Alalam – Rashad Iskandrni
Enterprise integration is at the cornerstone of digital transformation, with enterprises increasingly recognizing the need to adopt effective API management systems to unleash data out of their silos and set the scene for greater agility to better connect data and applications, therefore, to improve operational efficiency and add value for shareholders. In an exclusive virtual event, the API Management Summit, took place in KSA, featuring a host of esteemed industry leaders and experts. The flagship event was organized by International Data Corporation (IDC) and Software AG, addressing the theme of “A Catalyst for the Digital Economy and Resilience”. Mr. Harish Dunakhe, Research Director (Middle East, Turkey & Africa for Software & Cloud) at IDC, focused on the promising trends that Saudi Arabia is running through together with the successes achieved on the digital front, mainly API management, IoT solutions and other components of digital transformation. In addition, he reiterated the augmenting need for a new breed of CIOs who can take the lead for spearheading the different nationwide strategic initiatives by employing the latest digital technologies that can render both private and state organizations less vulnerable to out-of-nowhere challenges as well as more qualified for prosperity and market supremacy.
The online virtual API Management Summit showcased insights, the recent trends in application modernization and the role of API Management in digital transformation along with the realities of API implementation and some of the API use-case applications in various industries. Mr. Dunakhe opened the summit with a welcoming note and shared interesting insights about the latest state of digital innovation in Saudi Arabia in 2021, indicating that 53% of organizations in Saudi Arabia have already implemented plans to accelerate digital innovation initiatives within one or two years to meet strategic and operational needs, while actively reviewing and creating new business models that are digitally enabled clearly that revenue streams will be greatly impacted by the implementation and integration of digital channels and platforms.
To further demonstrate the reality of API implementation, Mr. Jonathan Heywood, Senior Vice President of Integration, API, and Microservices at Software AG discussed the benefits achieved and value creation possibilities of utilizing APIs and the challenges associated with the implementation of API management practices and tools. “When talking about managing APIs, you want to create a system where your APIs are made easily consumable by application developers.” He noted that this highlights the need for integration and API management altogether, which is also recognized by the 950 IT leaders who were questioned in a recent survey organized by Vanson Bourne and Software AG, reflecting that the way forward is driven by hybrid integrated platforms that involve integration platforms that could link together on-premise applications data sources with cloud services, as well as IoT devices and machines that are utilized in the physical world. At the bottom line, APIs require integration to unlock data through integrated platforms to accelerate business value.
Eng. Abdulrahman Al Mohimeed, Technical Solutions Manager at Software AG Saudi Arabia addressed a very critical topic by walking the audience through various industry API use-case scenarios to demonstrate how crucial and relevant APIs are to all industries and how can an enterprise benefit from the revolution of APIs, with the subject becoming a top priority list on the strategic agendas of CEOs and CTOs. The pandemic presented enterprises with unprecedented challenges that impacted stakeholder expectations, requiring organizations to utilize APIs as a mechanism to transform the customer and employee experiences as we are all consumers of data, services and applications. He said: “The companies that had better employee experience were able actually to have a continuous operation and serve customers more efficiently as their employees were ready and had a wealthy digital experience”. This underscores the importance of securely passing data to employees and customers, governed by APIs. A prime example of an API use-case is reflected in Software AG’s partnership with the telecom, banking and energy sectors that was furnished with API management solutions targeted at enhancing and developing a competitive package of services to their clients. Another example is seen in the government sector, where flagship governmental organizations in Saudi and the region have bundled their own digital services into one single API and integration platform using Software AG’s webMethods.
The summit was rounded off with a panel discussion on “How Can Effective API Management Create Sustained Organization Value and Business Resilience”, which provided an overview of the benefits of API implementation and improving the customer experience through the utilization of API management tools. Contributors to the panel included industry leaders and representatives from Commercial International Bank (CIB) and Software AG. Mr. Mahmoud Fawzy, Head of Global Transaction Banking at CIB, where he stated that “There are changes in the customer behavior. It is evolving and fueling the regulatory and technology changes that we are witnessing at present. Consumers now have greater control choice and consumers are leading and influencing the business world as we are operating in a progressive regulatory landscape where APIs can help us in providing more streamlined processes for our customers”.
The panel also included Mr. Masood Mohamed, Director of Alliances & Alliances at Software AG. He pointed out the immense business opportunity that API management brings to customers and Software AG partners alike. He further noted that Software AG has a well-developed partner network in the region which helps customers to rapidly realize value of Software AG API Management technology.