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Akana’s API Management Leadership: How to Apply the Forrester Wave Report Article

Recently Forrester’s Randy Heffner published a very good report on The API Management Solutions Market Heats Up. In the report, Akana is mentioned as a leader with “Consistently rich and deep functionality across all core functions. Particularly well suited for broad-based enterprise-level API initiatives.”  Before this report, Forrester published the famous Forrester Wave reports. Akana was mentioned as a leader by Forrester, Forrester states:“[Akana] has broad coverage across all our feature-function categories and is the only vendor to embed both service life-cycle management and runtime management product within its API management solution.”

With their additional report, Applying the Forrester Wave, Forrester details their findings by adapting their analysis to determine how various API management solutions fit specific buying scenarios for digital business efforts to improve efficiencies and realize greater economic gain. We are proud to be named among our esteemed competitors, but it’s especially nice to be named an API management leader, see Forrester Wave API Management Graphics here.

Whereas The Forrester Wave: API Management Solutions addressed specific criteria and how different vendors stack up against one another, Applying the Forrester Wave focuses on the process of selecting the right solution and provider for an organization’s particular needs. Specifically, the report encourages readers to consider three critical elements in their evaluation and buying decisions:

  1. What categories of APIs will your enterprise invest in?
  2. What is your intended API user audience?
  3. Use API categories and audience to inform your API technology decisions.

When thinking through the different vendor offerings, Akana was cited for our “…broad coverage across all our feature-function categories and is the only vendor to embed both service life-cycle management and runtime management within its API management solution.” Applied directly to the question of how to actually use this knowledge and map it to your company’s needs, The Forrester Wave analyzes three major categories of criteria: Current Offering, Strategy, and Market Presence. Forrester suggests that customers review each offering from the standpoint of its current instance and what it can offer immediately (this includes ease of integration and requirements for enabling the API through your existing product architecture), the vendor and product vision/strategy, and overall market presence.

This report customizes the Forrester Wave for API Management Buyers and its findings illustrated three key API management buying scenarios: API Service provider, mobile app support, and enterprise services. These 3 scenarios shows the interplay between API Strategy and API management solutions.

API Management and API Service Provider Scenario

Simplicity is something Forrester tries to guide readers to, but the report points out that a simple solution must be paired with robust functionality. They explicitly emphasize the importance of REST APIs because of the flexible nature they provide and that they contribute to connecting with more applications to create ecosystems – in the view of Forrester (and we share this), APIs are only as good as the reach to the enterprise they provide.

Bear in mind that Forrester is particularly pragmatic in their approach; there is no blue-sky thinking here or subjective reasoning, they actually review the products in detail. They specifically state, “In this [API service provider] scenario, an organization’s API strategy is to create a new source of revenue by charging for use of its APIs.” In other words, you’re making a significant investment that should lead to demonstrable financial gain for your company; you’re going to be putting your data assets out there for consumption, so be smart and forward-thinking in how you find a company to partner with.

Because the report breaks down so many specific features, they also consider them in aggregate, and account for a product’s overall enterprise services by looking at the “range of maturity with planning, designing, developing and delivering services”. About Akana and our API Management solution, Forrester says:

“This scenario plays particularly well to [Akana’s] strategy of providing an overall platform for enterprise service governance. It embeds its service life-cycle management solution into API management, along with the core of its service runtime management offering. This, combined with its consistently strong feature set across the majority of our criteria, allow [Akana] to maintain its leadership with this scenario.”

See Forrester Wave API Management Graphics here for this scenario.

Akana provides an API management solution along with a flexible construct that enables customization and change based on increased scale over time. Additionally, Forrester states, for the API Service Provider scenario “…we increased the emphasis on API product manager criteria, which includes analytics and API user relationship management.”

In terms of current product offerings, Forrester breaks down the necessary qualifications needed to support complete API usage; as we have proven with a host of customers, our emphasis on API lifecycle management is targeted directly at this need. We think of APIs as not having a few features that address only certain verticals or portal functions. Rather, every customer needs to have complete flexibility to deliver holistic security, easy transformation and integration, and portal capabilities to allow access to the API. Reading the report and looking at the numbers, in our opinion, it seems that Forrester highly values the maturity of our API Management solution.

API Management and Mobile Support Scenario

In line with current enterprise needs, Forrester uses the report to emphasize the growing need for mobile enablement of applications through APIs. Key to this happening are integration, communication and coordination efforts across the enterprise; this, they indicate, can only happen with the right mix of mobile-specific capabilities, notification features, discovery and applicable strategy.

See Forrester Wave API Management Graphics here for this scenario.

Mobile is an area that gets particular focus. Through a lens of the mobile application development and management scenario, and considering how widespread the purpose of mobile apps have become “In the mobile app scenario, the requirements and our weighting of Forrester Wave criteria shift toward a narrower use case, where API management is deployed solely to support an enterprise mobile app initiative. This places a higher emphasis on integration and coordination across a large enterprise.

Forrester’s research also indicates that they place a great deal of importance on API management products that can, without complexity, build off their original intentions and purpose so that the mobile API management experience mirrors what is being done for cloud and on-premise apps.

What is notable about this part of the report is that Forrester analyzes [Akana]’s leadership as an extension of our overall API management strength. Forrester states:

“[Akana] maintains leadership with its enterprise service maturity: [Akana]’s solution can handle mobile user authentication, but its strength in our analysis comes from its enterprise service maturity. Its API management solution includes service life-cycle management and the core of its service runtime management, but also its strong security and rich features to support mobile LOBs factor into its leadership position.”

API Management and Enterprise Services Scenario

As part of Forrester’s emphasis on future plans, Forrester spends considerable time in the report on the maturity of enterprise applications and how ready they are to address different user scenarios.

According to the report: “This scenario plays particularly well to [Akana]’s strategy of providing and overall platform for enterprise service governance. It embeds its service life-cycle management solution into API management, along with the core of its service runtime management offering. This, combined with its consistently strong feature set across the majority of our criteria, allow SOA Software to maintain its leadership with this scenario.”

Forrester also addresses product and solution maturity by looking at how flexible an API solution is and how widely it can be adapted. Those who use REST APIs as a services framework, and those who encourage the development of APIs to address different business scenarios within an organization fared well in their estimation. They also emphasized product architecture and application integration, which, for anyone implementing APIs, are critical evaluation criteria. Forrester notes both the need to be able to future-proof your API framework, and also the ability to scale as needed.

See Forrester Wave API Management Graphics here for this scenario.

Forrester is not in business to be generous; they have staked their brand on unbiased reporting, and in the software industry, they are known for being brutally honest about the products and vision they have for different segments of our industry. Combined with the great praise we receive from customers, it reminds us of our purpose and encourages us to continue to provide functionality that change how the world works.

We’ve provide a complimentary copy of the Forrester report Applying the Forrester Wave: API Management Solutions, Q3 2014.

This blog was written by Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President of Akana

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