In our context, we have a number of REST APIs that we had to expose, a number of partners, internal users, as well as external partners who wanted to basically integrate cleanly and quickly, but didn't want to do five independent integrations into each API, so the CA tool allows us to effectively wrap those APIs into a common interface, so you can make one call and then the gateway will go away and make the other calls for you. That is the primary goal was that and the tool does that for us.
Room for Improvement
What it allows us to do is it's more time to market than the value, actually, so a lot of our affiliate marketing teams, they go and engage with the vendor's affiliates, effectively, and they want a very quick, clean solution to get a lot of customers in, place a bet, see their bet history and then log out and tap on and move on to do something else. What this allows us to do is that, whereas previously, I would have had to a specific project team, they would take two or three months to do an integration, now you can do that in a matter of weeks. You can realize the value of a commercial relationship very quickly.
Once it goes live, it's very stable, clearly, it's as stable as your infrastructure or authority or testing is, but once it goes live, as long as you sort of adhere to all the policy management, and make sure you're progressing code, you're testing it correctly, once it goes live it's pretty stable. We've not had any failures with it in the year and a half that it's been live, and it's very stable. From a performance perspective, it's great. You can throttle, you can do rate limiting, so it's very flexible for us.
Customer Service and Technical Support
It's been very good as we need them, thankfully we haven't had much call to call them up, because it's been stable, but we call them up for platform upgrades, when we went from version 7 to 8 and 8 now through to 9. As we need assistance, we raise a ticket. They're very responsive, they're very thorough in what they come back to us with, so they've been a really good partner for us.
The trigger, effectively, was that we had a partner, we'd done a commercial deal. The partner wanted to integrate, we wanted to integrate with the partner, but the partner had a legacy sort of application that they weren't able to do this integrating to five APIs. They wanted one interface, and they didn't want to on-board any of the logic, they wanted that to be done somewhere else, hence the CA API Management tool that does that for us. They make one call, it goes away, does all the connections, all the session affinity, with all the underlying APIs, and that partner can just make the calls as they want. They deployed it on desktop, on tablet, mobile's coming as well now, and we use it for other partners as well.
We had a very short time for it to get it done, so I dealt with CA, we managed to do the deal for the software. They put us in touch with a partner called Smart, Smart421 in the UK. We had a very high-level discussion about what my requirement was, the platform that we have, what I needed to wrap, which calls, so we did a lot of preparation in advance, and then they came on-site, and within two weeks we had a working API. We'd wired together the underlying platforms to build this API that was then sent to the first vendor. Very clean, very slick. As with any IT project, as long as you are prepared, you've done your homework, you know exactly how to lead the implementation, what to take the vendor through, then it works very well.
Other Solutions Considered
Partly it's obviously the reputation of the vendor, it's the support structures, it's the partners that they deal with. If they put you in touch with a partner to install the software, what is the calibre of the partner that they're dealing, and that reflects on them as an organization. Their licensing structures, how flexible they are to deal with you, these sorts of things. We also looked at Mashery and Apigee.
We chose CA API Management as it was better licensing model, it was better cost model for us. I wanted that product. I'd previously worked in an organization with they'd bought what was in the Layer 7 product, and so I had an understanding of the product, I had an understanding that it had been used in my industry. I knew that it would work, because I'd seen it done before, so those things were quite key for us.
Break it into small chunks, so what we did was we had a very defined use case, and we could have gone to a much larger project, but the ideas was to focus on the component that we were after, what we had to go and deliver, break that down, get it working, and then that gives the business more confidence to then invest in it further, future phases, and we just broke it down to that. We were able to very quickly deliver something of value, and that then allows you to move on from there, as opposed to doing the full solution first up, and then we could have failed on the way through, the requirements could have changed, but it was better for us, and it's something I recommend that you just break it down.
I give it a nine. It's a great tool, it's a great product. It's good for us because it does specifically what I need it to do. The only area I'd say there could be some improvement is some of the documentation perhaps, some of the release notes are not the best. I think they're trying to brush things up and make it better, so it's improving all the time, but initially when we first started seeing some of the interface and some of the documentation it was quite confusing, but then we have a partner that takes the pain, I suppose, for that. Buy the tool. It's fantastic.
What are the key digital priorities and initiatives in your company?
The key things for us is on-boarding affiliates, partners, as quickly as possible, for their customers, or our customers who bet through them, to leverage those relationships, leverage those customers to allow them to bet with us. API Management for us at the minute has been around in having a clean interface for these guys to be able to quickly integrate with us, and then we can very quickly get them up and running, and it's a commercially beneficial arrange for us.
Are you considering upgrading in the future?
We're investigating options as with most industries, omni channel is the big thing now, so we're investigating how we could use this in an omni channel perspective to wire up our other parts of the business, so that's something we may consider. Part of the show, there are developer portals to making it easier for developers, third parties, to actually interact with us. The current product, the gateway product, doesn't have a portal, so effectively I have to document how to integrate, and then every time I make a change, I have to then email the document out to all of my development partners, whereas if I had the developer portal, they can then just go log in themselves, register themselves, they get their own API keys, all that stuff's taken care of, so those things are quite interesting for me and for our partners.
Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Feb 08 2016