Com colaboração de Rafael Rocha, Head of Solutions
Even after a challenging scenario in 2020, the technology area still found many opportunities for growth and this year will not be different. Even with the pandemic and social distancing, technological innovations do not stop and are on the rise right now, we can see this through the improvements in APPs such as Instagram and Facebook, and in the new formats of online events. They had a fundamental role in staying connected, see the growth of platforms like Zoom, and as the integrations cannot be left out, we have several Microservices and API trends for 2021.
With the increased complexity of companies' IT infrastructures, especially global ones, new needs arise to meet the demands. One is the adoption of multiple clouds to decentralize services, optimizing costs and preventing service interruptions. In addition to this scenario, it is not uncommon to find a scenario where several API gateways need to coexist within the same infrastructure. In addition, the governance of API programs that were already complex, become even more challenging for companies, and need special attention to avoid future problems.
With that in mind, one of the main concerns that the IT areas should have for 2021 is to think about how all these assets are organized, and how the Governance guidelines on them will be established.
Do your teams have, or can they have, autonomy to publish APIs? How does this directly impact your business and how are they organized to ensure that security and compliance requirements are properly implemented? Think about automating these flows and ensure that all your assets are published depending on the requirements of the organization or the market.
Security is always the priority, no matter what business segment. Having a complete view of all your cloud environments, gateways and APIs and being in compliance with the minimum-security requirements is extremely important for the health of the business. LGPD and GDPR have important roles in this context and we dedicate a topic to them.
Looking at this entire ecosystem is complex and requires attention. It is not effective to migrate to the cloud exclusively to reduce costs without visibility into what is actually happening. The same goes for APIs and gateways, which must follow best practices and meet the requirements of your architecture.
As API programs are becoming more and more specific, and now there is a movement of multi-cloud strategies that adds even more challenges to this context, the strategy of deploying DevOps in organizations has increased considerably. The automation of processes that assist in development has gained increasing focus and investment in organizations, as they accelerate the delivery of new products and services.
Having a DevOps team is a tactic to ensure not only support for all technical teams, but also to have a team focused on improving processes, evolving tools to newer versions, and monitoring the entire health of a company's solutions ecosystem. Think about how much time your company can save by solving problems of database versions more quickly, for example.
Before, when thinking about developing software, the programmer had to deal with “n” tools and with a “pure” programming language to create his systems, that is, start everything from scratch! It is no wonder that frameworks such as Angular, Express, React, Spring and Laravel were so famous for helping developers create systems from a baseline, making the coding process more agile, simple and standardized.
Thinking about code automations, Low-code and No-code have gained prominence in the Developer community, especially when it comes to APIs. This provides a more attractive development experience for inexperienced developers and even for people who have never coded in life. Furthermore, scalability is the biggest advantage of this new trend, companies are able to produce much more in less time, increasing the productivity of developers.
According to Gartner's “Emerging Technology Analysis: Service Mesh” article, more than 75% of global organizations will be running applications in production containers by 2022, this brings great visibility to Service Mesh that works directly with this application infrastructure and makes it stand out in 2021 trends.
Mesh convergence with APIs has been widely explored for adding several advantages, areas that were previously separated bring great value when used in synergy. APIs can be used to assist in the mesh of services that manage containers. Some of the advantages that we can perceive are:
The expectation is that these areas will be increasingly in synergy in the coming years.
Open Banking is already a reality in many countries, and for 2021 many others are expected to further accelerate discussions on the topic. For the Brazilian scenario, this will be the year of effective implementation of Open Finance regulations (The Brazilian Central Bank changed the nomenclature from Open Banking to Open Finance). This means that all banks must adapt to the implementation schedule and make the necessary information available to other platforms.
For other contexts such as the United Kingdom, Open Banking has been a reality for some time and the maturity of the model there is already more advanced. However, 2020 represented a significant change for the entire financial industry worldwide. We are talking about the accelerated digitalization of consumers due to the Covid-19 crisis. What did this represent in practice? All companies that already had digital initiatives took the lead and managed to leverage their businesses during the period, while others struggled to change their models and continue to survive. This was a movement with no return, and one that will require companies to increasingly offer digital experiences to their customers, and that is where 2021 promises to be a new business boom.
• Fintech explosion and new business
2021 promises to be a period with a new business boom, from the emergence of fintechs to the composition of new offers driven by Open Finance. In Latin America, the implementation of regulations will drive the market, and will allow newer players to enter the market, bringing entirely new business models. Even in the most advanced contexts, such as the European one, the “accelerated” digitization should bring many trends, primarily related to the payments market, and we will also be able to see especially the medium and small banks better exploring their business models. It will not be just about models, but about how much value is being added in customer journeys.
• Instant payments
Undoubtedly, the payments sector will be the most reassessed in 2021. New experiences need to be inserted in the customer's journey, and this necessarily involves instant payments. Speed and agility will be key factors to ensure competitiveness and allow other sectors, such as retail, to benefit. In Brazil, there is the recently implemented PIX, and for this year it is expected that it will be used even more and establish itself as the preferred payment method for users. Adhering to PIX will be fundamental for all companies in the payment sectors, who can take advantage of this model and think about products leveraged by PIX or offer it to indirect participants. Thinking about the consumer experience, the migration to online shopping environments and the need for speed in delivery, make instant payments even more necessary. Who would like to miss a delivery day because payment took too long to be accepted?
• Bank as a Service (BaaS)
BaaS is one of the pillars of Open Banking. Soon, this will be a model to keep an eye on next year. Providing financial services to partners will be one of the main business models for banks, therefore, it will be essential to bring into the strategic discussions how a Bank as a Service position can leverage the bank's revenues. This is one of the most promising paths for banks, especially the medium and small banks.
Technologies are always evolving and with that comes the concern with security of the data they carry, are the systems we use really secure? This depends on the way this application is developed and the protocols used to add security layers in the system. The creation of national and international data laws came with the intention of making all systems on the market more secure and protected against Hackers and Data Leaks.
Adding HTTPS protocols to integration calls, token authentication to data query controllers and automatic and periodic backups of relevant data are ways to add more security and avoid major privacy problems within your application.
In this universe of security and legislation, Compliance has standardized and performed greatly to ensure that what was guaranteed actually happens within the rules and professional ethics. It is not interesting that a customer has a bad experience with your company based on an ambiguous service provision term that could have easily been revised by a team dedicated to this, or even that your company takes an ethical position regarding security in a hurry, a Compliance team would help in these situations.
APIs are directly impacted by new security legislation for carrying data in their architecture, implementing security mechanisms in their API layer, and avoiding the risk of fraud in these scenarios is one of the biggest concerns of platforms, but this is also an opportunity for companies that already have structured security layers to outperform their competitors in 2021.
Companies are increasingly focused on their expertise, taking care of all the internal development of their products is already a challenge. Developing solutions that are not the core of their business often proves to be a necessity, and the difficulties only increase and creating something of quality becomes a very complicated task.
The strategy of having specialized partners to develop solutions with higher quality is a major trend for 2021, since the company does not need to develop an entire solution from scratch, it gains scalability in its processes by integrating with ready-made services and manages to create a personalized ecosystem for its customers.
It is possible to integrate different systems, even legacy systems created decades ago, with current and robust systems. The idea of having hybrid systems is increasingly being used by organizations, because it is not always possible to fully migrate from one system to another. Imagine that you are a bank, you cannot replace an entire ATM system for InterBanking, they need to coexist and communicate so that both have the same information. And doing so you gain advantages such as:
And how do companies manage these integrated systems? A good example of how organizations have control over several microservices ecosystems is with API management and Service Mesh, using this service it is possible to have a personalized control over these different services that together form their solution, ensuring a general view of the entire application, however complex it may be.
In the article “2021 CIO Agenda: A Brazil Perspective”, by Gartner CIO of 2021, we can see Brazilian organizations leaning more intensely towards digital transformation, and this directly affects the routines of technical teams and CIOs themselves will not be left out. This new scenario brings new challenges for those who are in charge of managing an organization's resources and IT.
In addition to all routine activities, functions such as:
They will be added to the daily life of CIOs in the short term, where this professional will need to be closer to the people on their team and ensure that they continue to deliver results with excellence and the key factor: security! We have already mentioned this word a lot in the post, and it is not a coincidence, as it has become the basis of all company areas, especially for remote work, where the organization's internal information is no longer just inside the office walls.
The new aggregate functions can provide many benefits in the long term, having self-managed, less dependent and more proactive professionals is one of the results of promoting remote work, where trust in the employee increases, since you must believe that they are working even without being able to see them.
With the imminent official launch of 5G technology, several sectors will be able to take advantage of this to bring new communication flows to their applications. Among them, we highlight the use of IoT, which will be much more viable due to decreased latency, essential for the correct functioning of multiple devices. Thus, being prepared to process large volumes of data and guarantee responses in real time are some of the requirements for companies to effectively use these technologies.
In this context, we highlight the need for Event-driven Architecture (EDA). It allows applications to be built to react in real time to any status change (events) without generating excessive use of computational resources. In addition, an EDA allows scalability in the volume of data processing, which with the use of smart devices can quickly become quite large.
We can highlight some examples of EDA application that are common in our daily lives, a good example are changes in payment status for online purchases, blocking access to systems due to default payments and even sending information to build automatic Dashboards.
To be efficient with EDA, the use of event-driven APIs is recommended, being a more efficient method than request-response cycles.
According to Gartner, there has been a huge growth in integration strategies in organizations and companies are increasingly looking at the advantages of integrating systems. Software companies are in the race to deliver better and innovative solutions with the shortest time-to-market, after all, in the world of technology, timing is important. Spending a lot of time developing a solution carries the risk that when it is ready to go to the market it is outdated and with the other players in the market offering the same solution.
The 2020 pandemic contributed to accelerate the need to integrate assets and this brought many advantages to companies that already had a solid integration strategy, making them spend their time improving the experience of their users and not in creating integrations from scratch, thus getting ahead of the competition.
In addition to the RPAs that won over some companies for having a bias towards robotizing data transfer processes, the APIs stand out for offering the same strategy along with a package of other services, integrations are no longer just a mass data transfer. They have become a key tool for companies to be able to have control of their processes, and this control needs services such as personalized Dashboards, visual control of integrated applications, real-time monitoring and handling of potential errors, which is the focus of the API management systems.