APIs are now the driving force behind modern business models, seamlessly creating an ecosystem that supports profitability and productivity while nurturing relationships with partners and customers alike. In a recent guest post for CIOInsight, Aaron Sandeen, Phil Manfredi and Kiran Chinnagangannagari discussed how they leveraged the power of APIs to drive fundamental change at the state of Arizona.
As the new IT leadership team, the three addressed the decentralised and siloed state of IT by adopting an API-first culture through five broad concepts. The first of which is embracing change, which has become an absolute requirement in today’s modern world. Running the business is as important as ever, but this must be balanced with constantly adapting to change if a modern organisation is to survive.
Although the CIO is responsible for ensuring the continuity of the systems that have supported the organisation up to this point, it is important that he or she stops acting like a traditional CIO. Much like an API Evangelist, this involves a deeper understanding of business and marketing objectives and how technology can be leveraged to aid those goals.
The team announced their statewide strategy of using APIs to enable the state to change the way it provides services to its citizens, businesses and employees without any tech speak or architectural diagrams. Instead, they aligned with the business to become a partner by focusing on business outcomes and ensuring the value of sharing data was communicated clearly to non-technical people.
Once this strategy was adopted, the authors expressed the importance of transparent support from the leadership team for collaborating, prioritising and developing a plan. Challenges arose around the decentralised nature of the organisation and convincing agencies of the value the strategy offers the enterprise as a whole.
This work required a change of culture to drive the digital transformation and ensure continuous process improvement. These improvements mean not just making processes faster, but asking questions about why they perform the way they do, and if APIs can be used to enhance the experience of all related parties.
The resulting digital platform was deployed in a private cloud at the end of 2014 and its API-driven services are used by over 75 agencies. However, to drive change in this way, first define your strategy and then change the culture before implementing any piece of technology.