After years of providing a management solution to their private clients, StrikeIron is releasing IronCloud as an end-to-end API management platform. Justin Helmig, Vice President of Products and Technology from StrikeIron spoke with ProgrammableWeb just before today's launch at the Gartner Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit.
"We have built up the IronCloud platform since 2005," Helmig told ProgrammableWeb. "Our business basically has two streams: we have managed APIs - data APIs - that we are selling direct to end customers, and we have had an API management type platform that we have been using with about a dozen clients to help them monetize data as products. We're venture backed and we have 10 years experience in the API business. With IronCloud, we are deciding to double-down on providing the API management platform as a customer service."
IronCloud hopes to position itself as a turnkey solution for business clients who want an end-to-end API management solution. "Most of the other API management platforms are at the management level: they host API endpoints," Helmig said. "This still puts the burden of architecture on the end customer. We have the option of hosting the data on our servers and can take on that operational burden."
Helmig points to a client example: "The SAS Institute is one of the world's largest software developers, focusing on analytics software. They worked with us to onboard their software in our infrastructure. We host their data and their business logic layers within our servers, making it easy for them to integrate with SaaS providers like Marketo and Eloqua."
Two of the key features that Helmig believes IronCloud offers ahead of other API management platforms include monetization and operational management.
"We have been monetizing APIs for our entire history. Other management providers are just getting into metering now, but we have been allowing monetizing directly with out-of-the-box payment gateways and turnkey subscription systems, and easily configured solutions for credit card customers.
"For example, with a large data company we have helped them monetize their data assets. Previously, they had been selling access to their marketing database and their data on demographics and propensity to buy, for example. But to integrate their marketing database into Salesforce or Eloqua was burdensome for their end-customers. We are taking those marketing databases, hosting them in our IronCloud infrastructure, then providing them with API endpoints and integration accelerators to help them integrate their data as a service into SaaS applications for their end customers."
One of the key benefits of working with IronCloud, given their experience with monetization, is how this is then supported in the business management of an API providers' operations. Helmig explained:
"In API management service delivery, we believe that there are a set of personas being missed in the user experience, and that is mainly on the business side. We felt that there was a missing piece around operationalizing the API: how to identify churn risk, who is reaching throttle limits, that sort of thing. So we really focused on optimizing analytics. We used regression and predictors on variables indicating churn and upgrade potential and have folded these variables into the analytics dashboard. We have built these models into the platform and we're rolling this out as part of the user experience interface."
Both SOAP and REST APIs are supported on the IronCloud platform. More details are available on the StrikeIron website.