IBM API Connect Review

Reduces costs with faster integrations

What is our primary use case?

We have implemented this for four or five banks in Nigeria. The bulk of our clients are banks. We need determine if there are transaction capabilities from their back-end applications. If so, then we consume their APIs. For example, we have a logistics company who uses the bank's back-end API to complete their payments.

We specialize in application and cloud integration. 

We have clients deployed on-premise, on the cloud, and with hybrid cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

The workflow allows for different parties to work independently of each other, e.g., business people can work independently of the developers. 

If the rules are well followed and aligned, an organization can run a constant API ecosystem.

Our version supports containerized integration. I can write APIs, which can be moved into a testing environment without needing a forklift. It can check if APIs are compliant before moving them into production. 

API Connects has absolutely helped to reduce the time it takes to deliver new integrations to my clients. Integrations are a lot faster, which is a big selling point, as it reduces cost on the front-end.

What is most valuable?

The developer can connect to the back-end services and exclude APIs through API Connect. It is very robust, e.g., I can exclude web services. We can paste the code into the UI interface.

Pre-built connectors are good if you need more security, though it depends on the extent to which you use them, as they are not necessary to use.

The solution is very simple and straightforward.

What needs improvement?

There is room for improvement in the reporting and monetization. With monetization, I want to be able to provide my own pricing and platform.

I would like them to add hooks into the API. E.g., it should be able to check credit, then limit access to people who don't have credit anymore.

They need to have more training for people. 

For how long have I used the solution?

Since 2017.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are issues with upgrading in the cloud version. The cloud version is extremely buggy. We prefer to use the on-premise version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's redundant so scalability is not much of an issue.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate their technical support as a five out of 10. They are very slow. IBM has been working on this for three years. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Some of our clients tried to use a customer design. They switched to API Connect because it is more advanced.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup and development are straightforward. The cloud is already available, so the development is what takes time. Deploying the cloud just takes clicking. It can deployed in minutes. The on-premise deployment takes two or three hours without issues to set up. if there are issues, it could take a day to set up.

What about the implementation team?

It takes one person to set up, max two, as it is straightforward. There is not a lot to do. The system admin will probably spend one to two hours on it to maintain it.

It takes us a week or two to set up 50 services in API Connect. The only thing that might take extra time is portal design because that requires us to go into the back-end.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

API Connect is quite pricey.

The developer builds the API and determines what should be put together. However, the business people determine the price.

The product plan and pricing needs improvement. It is confusing to the client based on the way a business might put it together. E.g., I have to be able to pick out different APIs, then group them together. I then have to explain to the client if they subscribe to this API product all the services available. Many clients want a variety of price groups based on their API selection.

I haven't seen anyone go from on-premise to the cloud. In fact, I am seeing people go from the cloud to on-premise because the costs can quickly grow on the cloud. 

If you want to small small, start with the cloud.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The integration is quite fast compared to others. Other companies combine their API platforms, but API Connect is as straightforward as you can get it. 

Oracle doesn't understand the different personas that need to be defined. This is why API Connect is superior to it.

Microsoft is extremely cheap compared API Connect. We are reviewing their solution in comparison to API Connect.

What other advice do I have?

The client needs to understand the service to use it. They need to make sure that they have the back-end infrastructure to support API Connect.

API Connect is known for its light front-end system. Therefore, it depends on what system it connects to on the back-end. It is important to know how it connects to the back-end.

We are not using Cloud Pak, as it is still too new. We are using it in the lab.

I would rate the solution as a nine (out of 10). 

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Business partner.
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