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Blog February 08, 2017

Digital Transformation with API Led Connectivity and the Five-Storied pagoda

Nowadays companies must embrace the digital transformation to be able to quickly adapt to new technical trends and ensure that their business stay relevant and competitive. New technology trends like: SaaS, mobile and IoT demand new level of connectivity that cannot be achieved with yesterday’s integration approaches. Connectivity is not only a critical enabler of digital transformation, it is arguably the biggest differentiator of success.

API Led connectivity as critical enabler for Digital Transformation

The API Led connectivity is an approach that defines methods for connecting and exposing your assets by packaging the underlying connectivity and orchestration services as easily discoverable and reusable building blocks exposed by APIs.

A multi-tier architecture containing the three distinct layers below, brings agility and flexibility:

•    The System Layer -  Seen as an abstraction layer on the resources of the core systems of record that are often not easily accessible due to connectivity challenges

•    The Process Layer  - The APIs in this layer perform specific functions by using the data exposed via the System APIs

•    The Experience Layer - In this layer the data can be reshaped so that it is most easily consumed by the intended audience/channel

This will result in a sustainable network of applications that is organized around well-defined units of value that can be reused and recomposed to holistically address connectivity challenges.

Five-Story Pagodas – wisdom from the past

Even though we are living in the Digital transformation era, many challenges faced while undergoing this transformation are similar with the challenges faced by our ancestors.
Let’s take for instance a five-story pagoda: earthquakes occur frequently in Japan, but five-story pagodas keep standing as beautiful as they were centuries ago.

What are the secrets of this constructions?

•    The material used – every structural part of the five-story pagoda is made of wood. When wood is subjected to force, it may bend, but it does not break easily. When the force is removed, the wood returns to its former shape.

•    The way the timbers are fastened together – with hardly a nail at all, by inserting carved thinner and narrower ends into slots. This way, if the ground begins to shake, the wood surfaces in these joints twist and rub against each other making the entire structure extremely flexible (like a tree/plant/snake/human)

•    The layered structure – the word by word translation of a pagoda is “five-layer tower” as the pagoda is basically a number of box-like structures laid one on top of another. The boxes are fastened together with joints. When the ground shakes, each of these box layers sway slowly and independently of the others.

•    The wobbling effect – each box layer permits a certain amount of gentle swaying. It is said that during earthquakes, when the bottommost box layer sways to the left, the one above sways to the right, the one above that one to the left and so on; this way the tower seems to be doing a kind of a snake dance.

Let’s draw a parallel between a pagoda and the API Layered approach:

•    The Pagoda’s layered arrangement with multiple box-like structures on each layer – resembles with the three layered architecture described above, where each System/Process/Experience API corresponds to the ”box-like” structure

•    The ”material” used to build the Pagoda must be suitable so that the entire structure acts like one – we make sure that we use the right product for the right integration

•    The way the ”timbers” are fastened together – the connections between the systems and layers are made in an optimal way for reliable and flexible integrations

•    The wobbling effect – the infrastructure hosting the APIs is designed to allow a certain amount of load and in case of extreme load, it can be scaled up as required.

Similar to pagodas that stand beautifully during centuries, we are building integrations that last for decades!

If you would like to know more about how Enfo help customers on their digital transformation journey, contact us.

Ana Chiritescu, Practice Lead, MuleSoft, Enfo Integration