There is a change of approach in the construction and incremental development of corporate IT platforms, especially in enterprise contexts: that change has a strong impact on corporate strategies and IT Governance. The new paradigm is well summarized by the claim “from projects to products”. Today the focus is on the development of digital products, which – like building blocks of a puzzle – incrementally compose a digital platform, a true strategic asset of the company.
This paradigm contrasts with the classic project development approach, which implies that each new project is approached as a building site on its own, disconnected from all the others, and follows its own rules, methodologies, practices, and development standards.
It is a change of perspective – starting to consider every new development as the realization of a real company product – which has drastic consequences on governance models, on the ways in which support is given to decision‑making processes, as well as on the work of people in different roles. A change that requires more cross‑area collaborations between teams and closer relationships between IT and the business.
The paradigm shift: from project to product
Today, digital companies must think about IT in new terms, be able to rely on agile systems and collaborations among cross‑functional teams to create customer‑centered solutions quickly and at reduced costs. But agile, lean, and distributed organizational models, although much more efficient on paper, can bring with them a considerable complexity, which risks jeopardizing all the benefits and even generating slowdowns, errors, problems in production, poor code quality, increasing costs and technical debt.
The IT Governance according to Accenture
Precisely for this reason, the issue of IT Governance is increasingly important in large companies. In the recent Accenture “Full Value Full Stop” survey, it emerges that, for the same investments, the companies that share this goal (91% of the leading companies) record growth rates double that of the others. In order to stay on the market, companies decide to change strategy, which requires new operating models capable of increasing IT agility, giving effective responses to business needs, and focusing their objective on the product.
AaaP: API as a Product
The centrality of APIs, which has increasingly become a real business product (AaaP), implies that IT must no longer be considered as a cost center only, but as a value production center, delivered through concrete products (and services) of business. In this direction, we are truly in the midst of the API economy: today, banks, retailers, utilities, transportation, and public administrations develop their offer through API.
From a technological point of view, therefore, companies need to create a digital platform that allows them to correctly organize and manage their offer and their IT assets.
IT Governance, External Developer Portal and API Gateway
The first fundamental component of this platform is the External Developer Portal: this tool allows you to promote your APIs on the market. In addition to providing the API documentation updated in real‑time according to the OpenAPI specification, it allows external developers and partners to view, test, and use the available APIs.
Furthermore, it provides the business with complete visibility on the catalog of products available and allows you to monitor the consultation and use flows of the APIs.
Another key component is the API Gateway, which allows you to centralize access control and ensure the security of your APIs. A solid and reliable Gateway, in fact, constitutes a single access point to the system, from which to manage all API calls and requests, configuring authentication rules, call quotas and limits, and methods of managing data requests. This component, flanked by a series of API security best practices, is an essential governance piece to safely manage complex ecosystems. Indeed, the use of micro‑gateways to separate and manage communication between blocks of services and different APIs within the same ecosystem is rapidly emerging.
The entire software life cycle governance
Combining multiple functions in a single platform is a strategic aspect, as it remains difficult to use dozens of tools (Git, Jenkins, Docker, Nexus, Kubernetes, Terraform, Prometheus, Kibana, just to name a few) to manage the different phases in the code lifecycle.
However, building a company‑friendly digital platform is not limited to the development of an IT technological platform, but includes supporting tools and methodologies to make people from different teams work together in the best way.
In fact, a digital platform allows improving internal communication between development and operations teams, which work side by side and have complete visibility on the development process. Furthermore, thanks to the implementation by the design of guidelines and methods at the platform level, the teams are immediately aligned and can work independently with the certainty of respecting the same rules.
From the point of view of CIOs, this translates into a reduction in technical debt and TCO, accompanied by a significant improvement in the time‑to‑market of the new solutions.
Why to centralize IT Governance
Managing an IT platform at an enterprise level means giving the best support to the various business areas, with all that it entails in terms of IT management, alignment of work between internal teams, external suppliers, and the needs of stakeholders. A task that is addressed by adopting processes and tools that facilitate centralized IT governance by the CIO and his team, and at the same time make all the teams working on the platform autonomous and independent in the development and (possibly) release of the code.
Working in this way simplifies collaboration between business and IT: the business has the entire catalog of APIs available and can experiment, organize hackathons and partnerships, and easily build new business models.
How to win the IT Governance challenge with Mia‑Platform
What is needed today to win the IT Governance challenge is to develop a valid ecosystem of products and processes to facilitate the development of high‑quality code, capable of giving more value to the corporate business. This is a step that can be achieved only with a decisive change in the paradigm we have worked with so far in IT: moving from the idea of developing the product required by the business, to the implementation of the “right product” – the one that has value for end‑users.
Mia‑Platform has the ability to support companies in this path of change with both enabling tools to build a brand new IT governance, and skills for training people and transforming processes in an Agile and DevOps perspective.