This is something you wouldn’t want to miss if you are in the Banking industry and are considering an API strategy or are well on your way in your API journey. I wanted to share some interesting news that is relevant to the world of APIs for the Banking industry.
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For your APIs, which approach below would you choose?

a. Come up with your own set of banking services, design the interface of each service, socialize it with various banking application vendors and service providers, gain consensus and then implement each service?

Or

b. Read a technical specification document that describes a standardized way to define the service interface (contract) for various banking services, and then define the interface yourself for each service, followed by implementing each service?

Or

c. Browse a catalog of banking API definitions that are based on a standard banking specification, where each API is organized by a banking domain, and you can download the service interface (contract) to visualize how you could implement/connect the API to your backend systems?

It’s a no-brainer that the last option above would accelerate your digital transformation. I am excited to announce that we have made progress to enable you with such a standardized catalog (option c above). To help facilitate collaboration across the Banking industry using open standards for developing and using Banking services, IBM has defined a set of Banking APIs and published it on a self-service API portal (ibm.biz/bianapiportal). These common banking API definitions will help standardize application components, promote reuse and accelerate the creation of APIs across the banking industry.

Background


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IBM is an active member of the Banking Industry Architecture Network or BIAN (bian.org), whose mission is “to assist and guide the banking industry towards a consensus-based approach to achieving the vision of a flexible architecture”. BIAN brings together banks, vendors of banking applications and service providers, and currently has 60+ members worldwide.


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In May 2015, financial industry experts at IBM along with other BIAN members built a “service landscape” that finalized the identification of banking services by domains. See partial view below. Details of the BIAN Service Landscape 4.0 are at bian.org/assets/bian-standards/bian-service-landscape-4-0


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So what’s new?

As mentioned in an IBM press release last week on the API Economy, we took a set of banking service operation definitions from the BIAN service landscape, and documented the interface (or API) for each of those services. We then published those APIs on a developer portal (see screenshot below). This will help facilitate open API usage and application development, to ultimately allow banks and service providers to quickly and easily integrate their digital banking services.


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It’s encouraging to see IBM actively promoting banking industry standards and encouraging collaborative, innovative technology solutions for banks worldwide. IBM’s sharing of banking industry APIs — with the additional operational value from IBM’s Banking Industry models — will accelerate development, propel adoption and set the stage for enhanced business benefits and future growth.” – says Hans Tesselaar, Executive Director of BIAN, on the BIAN website.

Under the hood

  • To design the API, we chose REST as the architectural style
  • To describe the API, we chose Swagger as the description language
  • To publish the APIs organized by service domains on to a cloud portal, we chose the IBM API Management service in Bluemix


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What’s next?

We plan to:

  • Make these APIs testable/interactive on the portal
  • Define and publish more APIs from the BIAN Service Landscape
  • Leverage complementary API Economy technologies from IBM including cognitive computing based API Harmony

For more information on IBM’s point of view on the API Economy, visit this page. If you are interested in a quick self-assessment of your API journey, to see how you stack up to your industry peers, visit this page. To read other API- related blog posts across various industries, visit this page.

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