Application programing interfaces (APIs) are everywhere. Everyday actions — like posting a message on a social network, reading the news on a smartphone, or buying a theatre ticket online — are completed through API calls.
IT leaders tasked with delivering on the demands of digital business understand that the composition of an organization's application portfolio must change to support bimodal IT where legacy run-the-business applications (Mode 1) must work alongside less constrained, more innovative solutions and approaches (Mode 2).
The practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of developing and delivering business change can create friction between the requirements of the modes, which will become increasingly frequent because the styles of work are so different.
“This friction can be minimized by the intelligent use of APIs,” said Paolo Malinverno, research vice president at Gartner. “APIs are the layer through which Mode 1 and Mode 2 can connect, allowing doors to open between the core data and functionality of a Mode 1 application and a more experimental, innovative Mode 2 application.”
An enterprise's digitalized application portfolio increasingly needs access to both Mode 1 and Mode 2, as well as a deep interaction between the two modes. APIs make these interactions possible. However, some IT leaders question how to govern this turbulent evolution and all the moving parts it involves.