Cigref publishes the report “Information system servitization strategies: Transforming the information system into a service offering for the company and its partners”, resulting from the reflection of his working group, steered by Françoise Moumen, System Architecture Manager at Groupe Orange, and Thierry Souche, CIO of Groupe Orange who steered this study with support from Technical Expert Vincent Tassy, IT Architect at Air France-KLM.
To become more agile and innovative, large companies and public administrations have already opened their IT (Information Technology) to internal teams or to their close or extended ecosystem (suppliers, clients, sellers, partners, etc.) with cloud computing services, and they now offer technical or functional services made available through APIs. This service-based approach to opening information systems is also called servitization. This report, intended for all employees, studies how the servitization strategy interacts with the information systems and the company more generally.
IT and Business stakes
Servitization responds to several issues, both business and IT: homogenise and automate business processes, customise the customer experience, co-build new offers and services with your partners, improve operating efficiency and reduce time-to-market and, finally, provide access to applications and services while keeping control of know-how. The challenges for IT are to better serve business units, support processes, offer a certain autonomy to teams that use the APIs, and reduce costs.
Offer a coherent portfolio of services internally and externally
Opening the information system leads companies to offer a coherent portfolio of services to internal and external partners. For this, they apply several key principles. First, companies are transforming their information systems to make them modular. Then, they adopt a « security by design » approach to APIs to avoid the main risks of compromise. Finally, large companies and public organisations segment their APIs by type or domain as provided for by their architectural framework.
Use a reference framework
Certain industries have organised standards of interoperability in an architectural framework between partners. This architectural framework defines common API specifications to standardise data models and certain technical interactions. If this framework exists, you should use it to offer the best level of quality and interoperability possible instead of creating your own models and APIs from scratch.
Focus on APIs
Large companies build APIs as products in their own right and in an « open by design » way, taking into account developers’ experience. Finally, they seek to maximise APIs’ reuse, an approach made easier by solid governance.
Information system servitization’s good practices
The participants in this Cigref working group recommend several best practices in this servitization approach to information systems:
- Prefer industry standards and use a reference framework,
- Work together to define the technical interface before implementing it,
- Define design rules,
- Pay attention to documentation,
- Support and acculturate teams,
- Be pragmatic,
- Set up API governance,
- Use an API management solution.
Using these best practices speeds up the implementation of approaches to agility in companies and allows you to eventually consider pooling certain business or development processes that you have in common with your sector of activity or ecosystem. This way, companies can focus on their core business where they bring value.