Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

The Market has never been Stronger for Horizontal and Vertical API Platforms

22-May-2018
The Market has never been Stronger for Horizontal and Vertical API Platforms
API technology is more valuable now than ever before. As many industries still use legacy systems in tandem with more modern solutions, APIs serve as a connection between the two, while also connecting modern systems to other modern systems. Essentially, it’s difficult to connect to disparate pieces of technology without APIs, no matter how old or new those systems are.

As API technology continues to develop and gain traction, there are two types of API companies experiencing success—vertical and horizontal API platforms—each offering a different level of connectivity and expertise. Salesforce recently purchased Horizontal API platform, Mulesoft, sending a clear message that API platforms are valuable commodities in today’s technology landscape.

Vertical vs. Horizontal APIs Platforms
First, let’s examine the two primary types of API platforms—horizontal and vertical.

Mulesoft is a horizontal API platform. They connect technological systems—Saas, IoT, microservices, etc.— via APIs. They span multiple industries and can connect some fairly distantly related systems to one another. It’s an important methodology for solutions in the right context, but it lacks the direct expertise of a vertical solution. For example, when an ERP connects to a CRM they’re likely crossing from one vertical to another, making it a horizontal connection.

project44 is a vertical API platform, meaning our APIs are specifically designed to function within trucking and logistics technology. We have entire teams devoted to engineering, development, support of APIs specific to this industry, and we normalize all of the data that touches our platform so the systems that integrate with us are able to utilize it quickly and efficiently. Supply chain technology is our main focus, resulting in a more refined product, consistent and thorough support, and a commitment to constant innovation and improvement of our solutions.

The Market has a Place for Both Vertical and Horizontal Solutions
When Salesforce acquired Mulesoft for $6.5 billion, it turned a lot of heads. Many people thought the price was too hefty, while some just couldn’t quite place the strategic value. The thing is, Salesforce still integrates into a lot of legacy systems. Those systems house valuable data, but they’re too archaic for Salesforce to effectively harvest that data without the help of modern API solutions. By acquiring Mulesoft, they’re acquiring a company with a wealth of APIs and integration expertise. What they’re not getting, however, are APIs specifically designed to function within a certain vertical.

That’s where the additional value of a vertical API platform can really benefit a company like Mulesoft—they can share their expertise and give Mulesoft access to a wealth of existing integrations, a prebuilt network, and data. If a vertical API platform has already integrated several systems across its vertical the hard work is already done—all a horizontal platform like Mulesoft needs to do is integrate that vertical solution, then they have access to several systems that would have cost them valuable time and resources to build on their own.

For example, project44’s APIs transfer data between things like carries, shippers, transportation management systems, warehouse management systems, 3PLs, and more. These are all different systems across the trucking and logistics vertical, and they require a wealth of domain knowledge in order to build and implement in a useful way. Much of the data transferred via p44 could be useful if integrated with, say, a CRM like Salesforce. Mulesoft integrating with project44 would provide access to that data and create even more visibility for both sides.

Salesforce isn’t just a technology company, they’re a great company. They are successful for a reason, and when companies like Salesforce make moves like buying an API platform for $6.5 billion, everyone should take notice. A move this large suggests that the use of API platforms, both vertical and horizontal, is well past the early adoption phase, and becoming a crucial component of success for businesses involved with integrating technology platforms.

The API economy is still figuring itself out. API platforms has become a crucial aspect of modern technology, especially where sharing information and gaining visibility is concerned. As companies like Salesforce continue making huge investments into APIs, it is becoming increasingly clear that horizontal and vertical platforms have a lot to offer.

64 per cent of manufacturers rate their shop-floor IT capabilities as just average, weak or non-existent
5 days ago
The supply chain lessons of the modern grocer
5 days ago
Time to mitigate the risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit?
1 week ago
App Insights: How can artificial intelligence innovate supply chain management?
2 weeks ago
Managing Technological Change Without any Supply Chain Disruption
2 weeks ago
Moody’s Blues for House of Fraser; but Website Failings are Just as Damaging
2 weeks ago
Artificial Intelligence: What’s Now And Next In IoT-driven Supply Chain Innovation
2 weeks ago
Indiana Jones and the supply chain bullwhip effect
2 weeks ago
How Enterprise Labeling Helps You Conquer Regulatory Challenges
2 weeks ago
3 Tips for Empowering Millennial Warehouse Workers
3 weeks ago
More robots means easier delivery - but what about the infrastructure?
3 weeks ago
Safety in the warehouse: Five key risk areas for 360-degree protection
3 weeks ago
Automotive resilience, not just airbags and crash tests, but IT too
3 weeks ago
New High Street panel is facing a race against a terminal diagnosis
3 weeks ago
Delivering the supply chain revolution
1 month ago
A market of one: the potential of the personalized supply chain
1 month ago
5 EIS rules you are probably not aware of
1 month ago
TMS: an enterprise priority
1 month ago
Labeling Solutions for Global Expansion
1 month ago
Prime Day will be a $1.6bn loss-leader creating millions more Prime members, says e-commerce expert
1 month ago
Say what? The new possibilities of voice and machine driven retail
1 month ago
‘Peak faith’ in the cloud only 12-18 months away with slump to follow, warns 6point6 Cloud Gateway
1 month ago
As you were for UK manufacturing sector, but new business growth at three month high
1 month ago
Back to IoT basics: Automating outcomes to improve customer experience
1 month ago
Investigation of the "Fast Fashion" impact
1 month ago
Redefining Rental for Materials Handling Equipment
1 month ago
With the Intelligent Enterprise, SAP Creates “A Completely Different Kind of Flexibility”
1 month ago
The supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link
1 month ago
How to Streamline Labeling in the Pharma Space
1 month ago
‘A revolution happened in the way we buy services last week – and no one has noticed!’
2 months ago
Hot Topics at GS1 Connect? Labeling, Blockchain and More
2 months ago
Retailers must Embrace Change
2 months ago
Labeling Solutions That Bridge Islands of Data
2 months ago
My Journey to the World’s Most Important Gathering of Supply Chain Leaders
2 months ago
Workforce of the Future
2 months ago
Securing your supply chain against political uncertainty
2 months ago
On-demand warehousing could help retailers score big this summer
2 months ago
Half of organisations set for major procurement and supply chain AI investment within two years
2 months ago
Brexit, the weather & online shopping: How Britain’s favourite conversations are shaping supply chains
2 months ago
The Road to Regulatory Compliance for Your Supply Chain Labeling
2 months ago
The War on Packaging
2 months ago
Five data dramas that keep your CIO awake at night
2 months ago
As sales fall new report finds many department stores’ websites suffer from clunky integration and poor delive
2 months ago
Got Your Surfboards Ready to Master the Wave of Digitalization?
2 months ago
TrustArc to Offer IAPP Privacy Core® GDPR Training to Address Compliance Requirements
2 months ago
Selecting the best Transport Management System - One of the most important logistics decisions you’ll make
3 months ago
“Digital Transformation” and Supply Chain Planning
3 months ago
Coolest Advice for Making Blockbuster IoT Devices?
3 months ago
The Fall of ‘Made in China’
3 months ago