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Data-based insights are an incredibly powerful tool for IT and business leaders today. Such insights can inform growth strategy, simplify key trade-offs, improve operational efficiency, and even inform strategies to boost customer satisfaction. At the end of the day, data is one of the most valuable assets a company has.

But, despite collecting zettabytes of data, most companies find unlocking that value to be a formidable challenge. Eighty-nine percent of IT leaders say data silos are their greatest obstacle to digital transformation, and just eight percent of companies are successfully scaling their analytics to drive business insights.

In this blog post, we’ll cover four basic steps you can take to make your organization more data driven using APIs. 

#1 Build your APIs

The first step is to create APIs that unlock data from applications, cloud databases, and on-premises systems. Look for an integration platform provider that simplifies this process as much as possible as developer productivity is a crucial resource. Once all of your data is unlocked, write a series of APIs that orchestrates your data into functional blocks. The final layer of APIs will power the experiences you want this data to feed into, such as an analytics platform, a mobile app for customers, or a website for employees. This layer of APIs should prep data for the format required for the experience.

#2 Secure your data 

Data integration can only be successful when data security is a priority. Any breach, large or small, will destroy customer trust and deteriorate many of your larger data strategy goals. Data security starts with eliminating vulnerabilities. Most of this functionality should exist in an integration platform, including mandatory policy configuration, tokenization, and network edge protection. You’ll likely want to implement layered security, meaning there is security around the perimeter within which the API is deployed, within the API itself, and on the data at rest or in transit.

#3 Follow API management best practices

Once you deploy a new API and ensure that it is secure, it’s essential to manage it closely. Some common API management best practices include setting alerts, access management, and defining SLA tiers. It is important to be thoughtful about which teams and individuals have access to APIs. Remember, the goal is to empower teams throughout the organization with APIs that unlock data, so open up API access to line-of-business users who will benefit from it. A good API management tool will also let you track API usage if you need to calibrate governance and access down the line. 

#4 Monitor your progress

Regardless of how perfectly you built your API, issues are bound to arise, and you must resolve them quickly. No matter where you host your APIs or what technologies you run them on, make sure you can monitor them all from one place. As your organization invests in more APIs, you’ll quickly realize why this is so important. From this single pane, monitor all your APIs and integrations, and track the health of your entire network.

To learn more about how you can bring data-based insights into your company with an API-led integration strategy, download our whitepaper. And tune into MuleSoft CONNECT on May 17 to learn how to connect your unlocked data into Tableau for analysis.