Why is API Governance Marketing's Best Friend?

20 Jan 2016
by: Lou Powell

First, they will be able to pull data out of and push data into the enterprise in days, not months. Second, they will be able to on-board expert vendors in days, not months. Third, they will excel at analytics. These core capabilities are the keys to successful innovation and speed.

So how does governance, which seems to slow my process, become an advantage?

First, we need to all agree that governance is necessary. Governance processes ensure that we are compliant with legal, compliance, regulations, and protect the sensitive intellectual property of our organization. Governance ensures that we follow standards of practice and process to ensure that production products are reliable and supported.

All of these things are definitely necessary, but most corporate experiences show that these processes are incredibly time intensive. THEY DO NOT MAKE THINGS FASTER.

Achieving speed does not mean compromising governance or increasing risk.

Now, picture a world where governance decisions are considered for most common cases before requests for data are made.

Let’s walk through a fictional example. ACME's Marketing group believes that they can increase sales if they implement a customer referral program. They have a few design meetings and come up with three different approaches they would like to test to see if they can be successful and how. They believe that the best approach to customer referral will be to create native mobile applications. ACME calls their mobile agency to get started, but the agency can only commit to one proof of concept (POC) app in the needed time-frame. Therefore, ACME decides to bring in the specialty mobile agency, Mobifreak.

Mobifreak is directed to a website where they are asked to create an account by answering a series of questions and agreeing to terms and conditions as a temporary vendor. They are approved later that same day. Mobifreak is then able to log onto the website and learn the standards for constructing mobile applications and where and how to collect and submit analytics. They also learn what data is available for the customer referral program, how to submit a lead, retrieve status, and check accumulated benefits to date. They make requests for access to the data and answer some questions about the applications that will use it and set expectations for consumption. They are approved immediately for access to the data based on rules living in the requisitioning system and begin work on their app later that day. The apps are constructed and deployed for the POC in two weeks.

Now, how did governance make all of that possible?

All of the processes it took to quickly on-board a vendor, educate them and give them access to resources were things that were preconceived and templated for rapid approval by legal, vendor management, and the business.

For instance, you can work with your vendor management team, legal, and procurement to understand what processes are used for on-boarding a vendor. You can then come to an agreement on what would minimally need to be implemented to use a vendor for a POC. What financial liability limitations should be set? Can we automate the process of getting a D&B report? What information would preclude us from working with this vendor? In addition to an intellectual property and non-disclosure agreement, what minimal terms and conditions do we need to agree to with this vendor at this time?

Let each of these groups understand that your objective is to meet all of their governance criteria, but you need to be able to do this fast; in one day.  More time can be spent later if you choose to continue to do work with the vendor or if you choose to expand the POC.  Later work could include proof of liability and E&O insurance to cover the additional exposure, comprehensive service agreements, further financial diligence, or a formal procurement review.

These same principles can be applied to granting access to the development portal, granting access to data, security, IT operations, and legal.

If you truly intend to innovate and compete at the speed of digital you will have to get very creative and dedicated to preconceived governance and if you do, it WILL accelerate your business.