Accelerating Time To Value In The New Digital Economy

Cross-posted from the Red Hat Services Speak blog.

Today, most organizations have significant internal datasets and digital services. These resources have the potential to be converted into new revenue streams by securely exposing them to customers and partners as web services. The availability of a number of open source web service frameworks, has meant that it has never been easier to develop RESTful APIs and expose these resources to customers. This allows organizations to validate an idea or hypothesis and capture customer feedback in a matter of weeks or possibly even days.

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Open-APIs-v5.png

While the internet has leveled the playing field in delivering new products and services, paving the way for small companies or startups to compete and disrupt far larger and better funded organizations, it has also meant that competitors can bring their own offerings to market more quickly than ever before. Developing a sustained competitive advantage for products and services has never been more important.

Every successful web services organization has one thing in common. They each adopt an agile approach to software development and have an obsessive focus on customer centricity. This allows them to significantly reduce the time it takes to incorporate customer feedback into their products and services. Reducing the time from months to weeks or days means they can often increase the feedback effect by a factor of 10x. The ability to reduce the time from idea to customer validation will be one of the greatest contributors to help organizations sustain a defendable competitive advantage.

Organizations that grew up as digital service providers have already figured out how to securely and reliably provide services over the internet, but what about organizations that are going through digital transformation and entering new territory? Developing and sharing web services outside of an organization requires significant additional effort compared to simply exposing services internally. It is necessary to increase the focus on security, scalability, reliability, track consumption, access control, ensure Quality of Service (QoS) and subsequently bill customers. Building this capability from scratch requires significant heavy lifting and resources, resources that would be better served developing web services rather than a management platform to support them. To this end, most organizations adopt an API management platform to remove this burden and allow their teams to focus on what’s truly important, developing digital services to meet the needs of their customers.

Back in June 2016, Red Hat acquired 3Scale, a leading provider of API management. In addition to addressing the challenges I’ve highlighted around API management, 3Scale also provides valuable data analytics that can be used to show how customers are using each service. This further amplifies the feedback signal from customers and allows organizations to be even more customer centric.

Is your organization going through a process of digital transformation? Are you exploring creating web services to expose datasets and digital services to customers and partners? Do you need help developing an API management strategy and platform to support your business? If so, please contact the Red Hat Consulting team so we can help accelerate your journey towards open innovation.

Five Links: Fun and Games Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

As we kick off spring break season, let’s look at something a little lighter and happier: the gaming side of technology. Consumer design can be a huge driver even for enterprise technology; the simple UX of Apple products is now influencing design and experience expectations for backend systems. From nostalgia games to astronomical artwork, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on in the world. One of my favorite lines from Graceland (seriously, Paul Simon rocks, people): “These are the days of miracles and wonder.”

Continue reading “Five Links: Fun and Games Edition”

Five Links: Band of Brothers Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

Red Hat has a lot of corporate blogs (worth reading!), but a huge part of our culture as a company is collaboration and meritocracy. As in … letting our opinions be known. There’s a reason we actually made a t-shirt to commemorate our corporation-wide mailing list.

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From Pinterest

A lot of Red Hatters have personal blogs (or active LinkedIn postings) precisely because of the value that we as a group place on transparency, defending ideas, and innovation.

This week, I want to highlight some of the blogs by Red Hatters that I’ve read recently. I’m not even going to call this a “top 5,” because we have a lot of prolific and interesting writers on a million different topics. These are a random sampling of the blogs that I hit periodically.

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Five Links: Pattern Recognition Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

When I was a reporter in Livingston, Montana, I wrote a story about a massive infrastructure campaign that was just kicking off — new sewer and water lines across town, changing traffic flows and redesigning streets, new green spaces and public art. I interviewed the primary architect, and he told me that the designs were influenced by A Pattern Language, published in 1977. That book has fascinated me; from the placement of a single window to the layout of an entire central business district, it breaks down the patterns of human behavior and then analyzes design techniques that best reinforce the desired patterns for a given space. It doesn’t say what should be done; it simply uses patterns to say if you want to accomplish Goal A, use Design Technique B.

In a roundabout way, this week’s series of links look at patterns and how they influence behavior.

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Ultra Low Latency API Management for Microservices with Red Hat 3scale

In this article, we provide a solution that enables almost latency free API management for Java-based microservices APIs. We build on Manfred Bortenschlager’s white paper Achieving Enterprise Agility With Microservices And API Management. We provide a practical solution for adding the management layer Manfred outlines to internal microservice-to-microservice API calls.

API Management and Microservices

Figure 1 – a typical microservices architecture with depictions of externally and internally consumable microservices

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In the white paper Manfred describes a typical microservices architecture consisting of:

  • A perimeter service layer that is typically implemented by an API gateway which manages and secures components that follow the backend for frontend (BFF) pattern. The perimeter service exposes APIs to external consumers.
  • Internal microservices that are clustered into functional elements and communicate via APIs.

The most common and most decoupled way to achieve API management is through deployment of API gateways on the API provider’s infrastructure. These gateways act as traffic controllers which authenticate, authorize, and report on API traffic to the 3scale API Management Platform. These extensive management features are achievable with very low latency overhead through our caching and asynchronous architectural features. Additionally the gateways provide excellent routing and security protections such as defense against DDoS attacks and more.

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Data and Architecture: Business Architecture and Capabilities

Does your organization talk about connecting the execution of work to its strategy? Are you building a roadmap on how to get there and achieve desired goals? To help your organization achieve the strategy and goals, model the business architecture by understanding the organization’s strategy, communicating business outcomes, and aligning these outcomes to the appropriate business capabilities.

Business architecture is illustrating what the business does and how the business operates. Gartner defines business capabilities as  “what the business needs to do to achieve the business strategy.” Business architecture uses business capability modeling, to visualize and influence people, processes, and technologies needed to maximize stakeholder value, achieve organizational goals, and execute on the business strategy. This model should map out the future state capabilities needed to support where the business is going over multiple years, as defined by the organization’s strategy.

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APIs Are The New Language of Collaboration

“Survival of the fit,” in Darwinian evolutionary theory, describes the mechanism of natural selection. The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. But could this also apply to modern business? Sustained growth might be the criterion for fitness in a business context. So why is sustained growth so difficult to achieve? Surprisingly, it is not for the lack of ideas but lack of ability to adapt to change and competition.

The fittest business can quickly innovate and adapt to competition and it can use its core competencies to extend itself in new ways. These organizations are often lean, mean, and learning machines using application programming interfaces (APIs). They are built on a foundation of cloud, mobile, big data analytics and social computing and they are generally connected to the internet of things, to extend and monetize the organization’s core assets for growth and  new value and revenue streams.

Even organizations born in different eras of digital transformation (mobile, internet-based, and client/server) that are successfully using APIs to achieve disruptive growth in their respective industries.

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Architecture, Process, Platform

Digital transformation is a hot topic in enterprises these days, and like any such topic it’s associated with a wide range of use, overuse, and misuse. But the phrase does get at something that we can all sense is really going on, a truly profound change. As different businesses undergo or undertake variants of digital transformation, we see a number of common characteristics of the more digital world:

  • More things happen (or are expected to happen) in real time
  • More different sources and kinds of data are brought together
  • Activities are more decentralized and ad hoc
  • There is a broadening of participation in both the building and the use of I.T.
  • There is a shift from analysis and planning to trial-and-error experimentation

Each of those ideas deserves elaboration–topics for future blogs–but going for the moment with whatever came to mind for those bullets as a rough characterization of digital transformation, let’s explore the interplay of architecture, process, and platform in helping enterprises compete and succeed in this emerging digital world.

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The Shared Economy for your IT

Don’t forget that Red Hat’s JBoss Middleware is part of the Shared Economy, too.

Whether it’s Uber, Airbnb, Waze, Snapchat, or Spotify, the new shared economy is the way of the future, or at least it seems so right now. In 2017, the Shared Economy is going to be a buzzword. What will happen to the Shared Economy under the U.S government’s new administration, what about taking Shared public in the Snapchat IPO, how is the Shared Economy going to deal with regulation issues? Regardless of the specific ponderings of the day, the Shared Economy is more often than not, at the front of most of them – just read the latest copy of Fortune Magazine. According to Investopedia, the definition of the Shared Economy is  “… an economic model in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else. The sharing economy model is most likely to be used when the price of a particular asset is high.” Huh, that sounds a little like Red Hat’s Open Source approach to Middleware, doesn’t it? I know it’s a big claim to make, but Open Source was one the originals of the Shared Economy, and Red Hat belongs in conversations on the topic. Further, Open Source is needed now more than ever.

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Webinar Now: In-Memory Computing and Real-Time Analytics

In-memory data grids provide a distributed network (or “grid”) of nodes that work as an elastic data store. This is an approach to distributed computing which can work as a foundation for systems which require rapid scale, responsiveness, and high loads, like Internet of Things and mobile applications.

In-memory computing (like any distributed architecture) can be very complex, and understanding how to map the functionality of your existing infrastructure to a distributed computing infrastructure is critical.

So we have a webinar for that! “Real-time advantages of an in-memory data platform” with Cojan van Ballegooijen and Thomas Qvarnstrom (both JBoss technology evangelist at Red Hat) will be covering:

  • An introduction to in-memory computing
  • In-memory data grid use cases
  • How data access can affect business decision making, application responsiveness, and customer / revenue opportunities

Details

  • Tuesday, Dec. 6
  • 11a.m. Eastern time (US)
  • Presenters: Cojan van Ballegooijen and Thomas Qvarnstrom

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