API Lifecycle Management

The continued shift to cloud based platforms and the proliferation of “apps” has lead to many parties “opening” up their applications to third parties developers at a rapid pace. This is creating a real need for API Lifecycle Management.

Many ISV’s roll up their sleeves to expose their applications for external developers clamoring to gain access to core application components and features. Quickly, a test harness gets created and logging is implemented. As the number of independent parties accessing the API set increases, it only gets more complicated. API Key management is becoming a nightmare, usage based billing is needed, analytics are thrown into the mix…. You get the picture, perhaps you have lived it! What started as a small side project has turned into a major drain on developer cycles. This is an alternative… API Lifecycle Management Platforms.

API Management Platforms

A number of vendors are addressing this space and are helping organizations meet these challenges proactively. Mashery , 3scale and APIGEE all offer platforms to handle many of the challenges developers face with their API development and management.  Do yourself a big favor and evaluate these options on the front end of your API development efforts.  Even if you choose not to make the investment in a robust platform out of the gate, you will have a view of what it will take to manage your API – Developer channel as you API’s start to take off!

Evaluating the overall effort to provide API Access Control, Analytics, Policy management, Developer tools, and channel portals may sway you to a buy vs make. Moving forward, API Lifecycle Management is something which will become increasing important in this APP centric world.



Monetization of Social Influence

Its always interesting when technology becomes so pervasive that both my parents and kids are actively engaged on the same platform or application set.  It’s clear that social networks have arrived at that point and crossed the age divide!  What is also striking is the amount of time that is now being invested on social media platforms and the variety of applications they expose.  With all this usage, organizations are looking for monetization of Social Influence.  Im not talking about the Zynga’s of the world monetizing via an IPO, but more about businesses looking to show true ROI on their social media investments.  Much has been learned about measuring influence online (clearly still a growing art <-> science) and companies like Klout are clearly positioned to help identify key influencers in the social space.  While Klout is interesting, there is still a perceived gap between a Klout score and the ability to truly influence or drive the behaviors that organizations are looking for.  Let’s face it, many folks are performing activities to drive up their Klout scores with the hope that it will lead to future results from their Influence score.

OneBill is taking a interesting position allowing social media applications to measure actual behaviors and provide rewards based on these behaviors.   They have extended their lifecycle subscription services platform to allow providers to define, measure and monetize actual influenced behaviors.

Lean Thoughts

Make it real as quickly as possible.  Enabling business outcomes quickly via technology is becoming easier all the time.  The new XAAS mobile world is enabling working solutions in weeks (some in days) that took months a few years ago.  There is no doubt that the consumerization of technology  has raised the expectations of business users for quick results but, also I believe there is more tolerance towards completeness or lack there of…  if it works, looks clean, feels good, and solves a pain then it has value.  I compare and contrast this to feature bloat expectations of years gone by….

So how do you capitalize on this change in perspective?  Heres a few guidelines to follow

  • Find your unique value. What are you doing great for your clients that your competitors are far behind
  • Build the unique value FIRST and make it usable FAST
  • LEVERAGE everything you can outside of what you have to build
  • Get it out in the market and get FEEDBACK
  • EVOLVE based on that FEEDBACK

If your like most businesses,  you need to maximize your investments wisely and get the most return possible.  Today’s best applications and products have grown collaboratively with significant customer guidance every step of the way.  The feature “misses” have been discarded along the way as better interactions have won the day.   The sooner your product is in your customers hands the better!

Value is in your sweet spot

Having spent many years in the outsource consulting field (few gray hairs to prove it!) It never ceases to amaze me how many times the wrong partner is selected for specific projects.

I always advise organizations to stay close to their core value proposition and stray with caution… Consulting firms stretching from their core (often without customer awareness) has led to many failed initiatives and created an environment of mistrust.

There are a lot of great consulting companies but you have to ask… great at what?  Great companies can deliver mediocre results if they are stretching and straying away from their core capabilities.

How much waste goes on every day by the wrong partner delivering on project initiatives?  Imagine if there was a way to connect the right partner across project initiatives?

Zegosoft is committed to helping resolve this dilemma by helping connect companies with the right partners to build software for success.   Zero Waste… Maximum Reuse…

Cloud Definition and Guidelines

NIST (National Institite of Guidelines and Standards) recently released two documents the first defines a proposed definition of Cloud Computing and the second defining Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing.

The definition defines four key characteristic:
On-demand self-service
Broad network access
Resource pooling
Measured Service

delivered in three Service Models:
Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS)
Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

via four Deployment Models:
Private cloud
Community cloud
Public cloud
Hybrid cloud

The second guideline document is a bit more ambitious and is a bit more ambitious and serves as a good starting point for understanding the key issues surrounding cloud security and privacy challenges and a high level overview of key activities and elements to consider when outsourcing to a public cloud provider. Perhaps my favorite take from the entire documents is in the conclusion section stating:

“ The transition to an outsourced, public cloud computing environment is in many ways an exercise in risk management.”

At the end of the day the risks vs. rewards of outsourcing to the cloud need to be carefully analyzed. Jump in without doing your homework and you may get burned. Sit on the sidelines to long and you may be passed by.

Why use the Cloud?

In two words… Business Value.

Cloud Value

In three words… Faster Better Cheaper.

Like most technology transformations the inherent risks of adoption are overtaken by the compelling value that can be realized. If existing organizations are not willing to take the risk or want to “protect” existing revenue streams they will leave an opening for new providers that ultimately could be extremely disruptive. As technology cycles continue to shorten and provide more compelling value in each wave, organizations need to continuously evaluate, plan and act!

Will you wait for the Storm Warning before taking action? It may be to late…

Take a QWIKI view into the future

I recently took a look at Qwiki http://bit.ly/eF8Evo and was instantly inspired by the possibilities this disruptive technology could bring. Backed by a recent capital raise of $8 Million they may just have the fuel to make this work. The concept is simple to understand… Return Information from a search request as a multimedia experience similar to a brief interactive movie. Who wouldn’t want search results delivered in an easy to consume multimedia experience? Of course it would be optimized for your Ipad , iPhone, Andriod, PC, Laptop, XBox… you get the idea.

Simple in concept yet, like many great ideas extremely difficult to pull off. Talk about a Big Data challenge… Having helped Information Service clients with complex data environments over the last several years http://bit.ly/i2alUN makes me appreciate the many challenges needed to pull this off moving forward.

Will Qwiki bring semantic computing to life? I think they might!

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Ever wonder about the risk profile of your IT application portfolio? Sure you know the problems encountered by poor software quality (outages, lost customers, hacked systems) and I bet you have even tried to drill down on the issue only to hear about the latest methodology, process, or super star consultant who is going to save the day. You know you need to measure to drive organizational improvements but, until now have been unable to find the yardstick that ties to your critical business risks. If your business is like most, you have held back on leveraging offshore development teams to minimize risk because you had no real way to drive accountable and ensure quality. Finally, there is hope on the horizon. Application quality measurement tools are maturing and ready for prime time.

Its amazing to see technology teams and organizations react when they see applications measured and exposed for the first time. Its not uncommon for groups to shy away from being the “first” to embrace this game changing technology.

I bet the early adaptors will gain significant market advantage exposing their work and committing to measurable improvements moving forward.

Are you willing to take a deep look at your IT Portfolio and drive improvements afforded by measurement?