Juggling the immediate digital needs of your program office or department with long-term IT upgrades can feel like an either-or proposition.
But what if you didn’t have to choose between today’s technology demands and tomorrow’s needs? What if you could provide value to the public much faster?
These aren’t far-fetched goals, said Kevin Flanagan, Public Sector Strategy and Product Marketing Lead at MuleSoft.
“When it comes to roadmap prioritization, IT modernization and providing new digital solutions does not have to be an either-or decision,” he said. “That belief is starting to change, and I think COVID-19 has been a driving factor.”
Working extensively with government agencies, MuleSoft uses an API-led approach to help them connect disparate data and new digital solutions with various backend applications and systems required to deliver government services.
APIs, or application programming interfaces, are software intermediaries that allow two applications to talk to each other. MuleSoft helps agencies manage the full API life cycle on a single platform. That means they can securely, methodically and rapidly deploy digital solutions that align with their long-term roadmap, while allowing for flexibility when needs shift, Flanagan said.
He highlighted three government case studies that illustrate the benefits of an API-led strategy.
1. Speed adoption of digital services
Modernizing IT systems with an API-led approach unlocks data and enables faster adoption of digital solutions to meet citizens’ needs. The Indiana Department of Child Services is proof. In the midst of an ongoing cloud migration project themselves, the agency took advantage of reusable APIs to launch its COVID-19 solution — which tracks everything from health care data to personal protective equipment (PPE) availability — in a mere eight hours.
2. Support timely data sharing
“Flexible, fast infrastructure enables government agencies to set up quickly, share mission-critical data securely with private and public organizations to support new digital solutions, and reuse assets to more quickly respond to future needs,” Flanagan said.
This is critical for entities like New South Wales Health Pathology, an Australian statewide health organization that delivers reliable pathology to the public. Using APIs, the agency reduced costs, digitized pathology results and sped access to patient data while supporting faster clinical decision-making. When the pandemic hit, the agency reused APIs from previous projects to set up an automated COVID-19 test result delivery system statewide in less than two weeks.
3. Accelerate cloud adoption
Access to compliant, secure cloud technologies is critical for accelerating cloud migration and complements API adoption. For example, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services used a secure, cloud-based platform to stand up a comprehensive PPE management system. It gives the state a single, automated, consistent place to go for ordering, filling, distributing and measuring California’s PPE needs.
An API-led approach can change the speed of digital transformation for government agencies, Flanagan said. “Agencies don’t have to wait to complete a significant IT modernization milestone to provide new digital solutions.”
This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s new guide, “Agency of the Future: Common Misconceptions Holding You Back and How to Break Free.” Download the full guide here.