API-First : Automating and Accelerating Carrier-to-Carrier Interconnection

API-First Automating and Accelerating Carrier-to-Carrier Interconnection

Network-centric businesses across the globe are adapting how they consume connectivity and transforming the way their partners interconnect and grow through network Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Control is being placed back into their hands allowing them to create a solid foundation for faster, more agile and friction-free networking models that no longer limit innovation.

Legacy models for carrier interconnection are time-consuming, manual and error prone. Manual businesses are vulnerable to loss of control, service quality drops, as well as revenue leakages. They are not scalable in the long term. When a network API is available, partners can immediately increase the reach and depth of their services and offer their customers new capabilities. The challenge is that developing a network API internally is resource-intensive and limited to only a few of the largest players.

Businesses need to become more agile and efficient as customer demands increase, allowing their operations to run smoothly. If businesses want to transform not only their internal operations, but how they partner, procure connectivity and create solutions of the future, they need to understand the potential of network APIs.

Delivering Friction-Free Interconnection

For any network-centric businesses looking to not only thrive but to grow in a rapidly changing market, network APIs are the solution. Carriers need to rapidly meet the demands of their new customers and offer comprehensive network solutions with agility.

Not only are they solving critical challenges, but they are creating new opportunities. Network APIs allow business partners instant access to service catalogues, locations and inventories, as well as making service assurance processes easier. An API framework improves business control and service levels, as well as revenue assurance

At the same time, they need to increase efficiency and productivity while removing unnecessary costs from the procurement and delivery processes. Interoperability between telecom service providers is still a challenge. Legacy network interconnection is too complex, time-consuming and really doesn’t move at the speed that a cloud-centric, on-demand ICT ecosystem demands. However, if the industry has robust open standards, then rapid carrier-to-carrier interconnection can be a reality. As an industry, we need to work together to make standardisation a priority, as it will give providers unprecedented control over network resources and service capabilities.

While many of the commercial contracts and manual ordering processes still exist, the technical aspects, especially the data exchange model of processes, are not fully automated. They are manual or semi-automated. Network APIs are able to drive service availability and orchestration, allowing the provisioning of connectivity to become faster, seamless, and far more cost-effective. They also allow carriers to gain full visibility into the state and health of a partners’ network.

If carriers have a network API deployed, they can remove the complexity from interconnection and make it simple for partners to sell new services across their infrastructure. As an industry, it is key to prioritise the creation of such standards to give service providers unprecedented access and control over their network assets and services. Through refining internal processes with APIs, carriers can support their partners with new levels of automation, integration and access to global destinations.

Having a secure network API is the starting point for supporting product ordering, trouble ticketing, appointments, and service issues management for partners with an efficient model. It goes beyond just meeting customer needs and supports the automation of processes and rapid provisioning of new services.

APIs also provide a new and efficient way for the networking community to partner and interconnect. They’re helping to evolve global networking into a more platform-driven and software-defined ecosystem, which can boost efficiencies and user experiences.

Taking an API-First Approach

Carriers that are taking an API-first approach are starting to see the integration of APIs as integral to how they develop and grow within the industry. An API-First approach enables carriers to present out their network infrastructure to partners in a more comprehensive way. API-first carriers gain an unprecedented opportunity to get more deals.            

By integrating new services and capabilities into their existing platform and offering their customers solutions that go beyond basic connectivity, they are able to expand their partner ecosystem and shape it to meet the needs of their customers. The control is really in their hands. In times that are rapidly changing it is about having a responsive platform and providing a global ecosystem with agility.

There are a few things that are certain in the future. There will be more change, there will be more unexpected events, and there will be more partnerships required as the ecosystem becomes more complex. It’s all about listening and empowering partners. To create new opportunities in the digital world, carriers have to focus on creating a solid foundation. Businesses can evolve their platforms to meet changing demands or pivot based on unexpected events, such as COVID-19.

There are certainly a few good examples of standardisation and API in-the-box solutions available for fast implementation in existing BSS stacks. Apart from operational benefits, the API-ready architecture supports partner onboarding, integration with network management systems, integration with ERP systems, and hardware virtualisation (ESB).

By ingesting APIs and delivering new capabilities to customers, service providers can create partner ecosystems that emerge as key differentiators for their offerings. In uncertain times, they’re ready to transform and change, creating a long-term competitive advantage. We don’t know what will happen in the future, but thanks to network APIs, businesses are able to adjust their systems to requirements that are unknown today.