Skip to main content

Harnessing the power of APIs for AI-powered innovation

New AI technology is driving rapid change for businesses and consumers alike, and organizations are exploring opportunities to harness the power of AI to improve productivity and spur creativity. Automating repetitive tasks empowers employees to spend more time on innovation, and the advanced analytic capabilities of AI offer new insights in near real time that can help your business build and maintain a competitive edge.

The right digital foundation prepares your organization for cutting-edge AI technologies. Application programming interfaces (APIs) that facilitate communication between software programs are the backbone of digital transformation. Integrating in-house and third-party software and applications is essential to helping your business streamline operations, manage data, and ensure seamless communication across different applications.

A comprehensive API management solution like Azure Integration Services offers companies an efficient, cost-effective way to create new business value and empower employees to maximize the use of existing technology. An API-first strategy helps your organization build a foundation for future innovation and the effective use of AI-powered solutions.

API solutions are pivotal to data management

Companies eager to embrace AI and unlock new business opportunities are rapidly recognizing the value and necessity of integration. Gartner estimates that 50 percent of the time and cost of building a digital platform will go toward integration.[i] Focusing your business on developing APIs and using the features available in Azure Integration Services offers your company a simple, effective way to streamline data across hybrid environments.

Most businesses store information in multiple software applications—sometimes in the cloud and sometimes on-premises—creating a complex digital ecosystem with different touchpoints and third-party suppliers. Using integration services to manage your entire data estate ensures that disparate software and application sources connect seamlessly to bring data together in one place and spurs business-wide innovation.

For example, Swiss Re, a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance and insurance, saw an opportunity to offer new microservices, such as flight insurance, with a fully automated process. The company developed a digital platform in Microsoft Azure that offers flight insurance, tracks flight statuses, and automatically reimburses travelers for delays. Swiss Re’s platform as a service is cost-effective and can process millions of micro-insurance policies concurrently.

Driving digital transformation with an API-first strategy

Embracing an API-first strategy for data management helps your business build seamless communication between existing software programs and ensures that the apps you’re building today are ready for whatever tomorrow brings. Companies can develop cloud-native apps and integration solutions around the APIs for internal software applications and connect with external entities critical to business operations. With APIs that collect, store, and analyze data from legacy software, your organization can continue using the applications that employees love while benefiting from real-time analytic insights.

When Swiss manufacturing company BÜCHI Labortechnik AG began its digital transformation, for example, it knew it wanted to continue using existing software as a service technologies but needed an integration solution to streamline business operations. The company turned to Azure Integration Services and an API-first approach to integrate its various technologies. “We can integrate everything,” says Pasquale Prudente, Lead Architect at BÜCHI Labortechnik AG. “That is the beauty of this solution.”

An API-first strategy not only means faster development and better collaboration but also improved scalability, reusability, and customer experiences. Creating APIs that can be replicated and scaled provides your organization with a flexible architecture for data management. Enterprises can use additional products, such as Azure Logic Apps, to orchestrate a reliable, secure workflow. Retailer SPAR NL in the Netherlands used Logic Apps to build workflows and help dozens of producers and consumers to send messages securely in the cloud and on-premises. Automation tools available in Azure Integration Services can also help your organization minimize manual tasks and give employees more time to focus on work that matters.

Data estate management feeds AI-powered innovation

Organizations that invest in an API-first approach will be ready to implement cutting-edge AI technologies quickly and securely. Managing your data estate with integrated solutions is the first step toward harnessing AI’s capabilities. Customers working with Microsoft to understand and implement integration solutions are realizing tangible benefits through improved workflows, real-time business insights, and seamless communication between software applications.

To discover how an API-first strategy can deliver superior outcomes for your business, register for Unleash the Power of a Modern Integration Platform from the Azure webinar series and learn more from the experts on developing and accelerating API management.

[i] Rob van der Meulen, “Use a Hybrid Integration Approach to Empower Digital Transformation,” Gartner, April 26, 2018