Posted September 29, 2015
Quality Conversations on Financial Technology and API Culture in London
An event like APIdays London proves that it’s not always a bad thing to show up to an event underdressed. Last week at APIdays London, the sessions were well attended by both financial business professionals in suits and fellow technical geeks like me in jeans. Aside from dress code, the perspectives shared were refreshing and tastefully orchestrated, my own included as video at the bottom of this post.
Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Adriano, @jacqsadriano
Sessions covered everything from what an open banking platform would look like in practice to live demos of hacking mobile apps to show how insecure we all should feel about our financial data in the hands of unwitting startups.
What does fintech have to do with API quality?
Well, for one thing, SmartBear sponsored the event. We had to. As a company devoted to making sure there’s fewer and fewer excuses to ship bad code, financial accuracy and timeliness are close to our hearts. SoapUI is celebrating yet another fun anniversary as the world’s API testing tool, just as open source today as when it started.
API quality specifically cuts to the very core of iterative, rapid delivery (design, build, test, deploy, manage, monitor). APIs that don’t work accurately, quickly, or securely don’t have a place in the future. And because everyone should be able to contribute to the future, we think that some tools should be free and open source, allowing people to use and refine their own strategy for success on their own terms. We are invested in the future of the connected world the way few are: we invest in you.
Who says SmartBear is a leader?
What, do you mean other than me? Ah. How does 3 million developers and testers worldwide sound as an answer? A bit like a boast? Sorry, never what I mean to lead with, but it takes my own breath away every morning when I walk in to represent SoapUI, I figure it means something to more than just me.
But seriously though, I met with one API expert from a large bank (a SmartBear customer), who indicated that a customer-first, API-centric technology shift was bringing together a myriad of legacy systems, integrations, and personnel alike. The astounding transformations he is witnessing inside his organization and in his industry, unlike stories of institutional bureaucracy from his competitors, underline how quickly clear thinking and iterative change can resolve seemingly insurmountable issues facing financial technology today.
The way through, however, is not always a straight path. It takes practice. It takes iteration. API strategy is an important part of modernizing IT, but by no means the only hill to climb. This is echoed by many customers I chat with as part of my job. They all know that the path forward is to reorient business and technological strategy to be customer-first, but the trail forward is often unclear for organizations that already have work to do, are agency-based by design, and operate under tight regulatory compliance constraints like banks, heath care, air travel, and other mission-critical industries.
That’s why over 3 million people see SmartBear as a leader in more than just the API testing and monitoring markets. We have a unique view into software quality, providing solutions in API, web and mobile app testing, performance monitoring, quality management, and peer review, that no other competitor has. We can help you navigate the questions and challenges, not just sell you software, because we have been in the cutting edge space of APIs and automation for over a decade.
How do we get from talk to success?
For my friend-customer at his bank, he doesn’t just need developers. The buy-in from top-down, at the VP and C-level, was crucial to moving forward and secured a solid foundation for decisions for the next 6-12 months of initial work and also for years to come. While use of SmartBear technology was already well established before they embarked on their new direction, this customer had the rare pleasure to build a brand new approach to developing solid, scalable APIs without having to re-think once their choice to use API tools like Swagger and SoapUI.
Notwithstanding new API tools flooding the landscape and vendors falling over themselves to look like they know how to help, SmartBear remains a thought leader, more relevant and prepared to help you than ever before. That was my message to the conference, and it is my message to you now.
[Audio also available on SoundCloud, MP3 download, and via RSS feed]
So how can I build my own API strategy?
Collaboration, iteration, contribution. Reach out to people in the API space, evangelists, speakers, authors. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and expect a lot back. If you need direction, know that no one will give it to you better than yourself and your own team. In the meantime, there are resources, books and videos, blogs and webinars; but most importantly, you must lean in, lean forward, roll up your sleeves and exercise your most important muscle, your mind.
SmartBear can help with our award-winning tools, our partner network, our connections, and whatever guidance we can offer. But what about you? What challenges are you facing? What questions do you not hear being answered? It’s the questions that drive us!