Telenor: Pumping Data Through Pipelines with Apigee
As one of the world’s major mobile operators, Telenor has been connecting people and empowering societies for more than 160 years, from telephone calls to text messages and, more recently, through APIs.
We’ve long recognized the potential of APIs. In Norway, back in the 1990s, we started offering APIs to our business partners that enabled customers to buy ringtones and logos for personalizing the mobile phone—a novel concept at the time.
Today, APIs have become the foundation of the digital transformations happening in organizations around the world. If data is the new oil, then APIs are the pipelines.
Controlling how data moves through pipelinesOver time, we have built and maintained our own solutions for the APIs we offered partners, enabling them to deliver more features and services to customers. But we realized that managing exposed APIs was a bigger job than our current staffing could handle.
Rather than add more headcount, we explored API platform options. We needed a platform that offered API management and access control, so we could control which data that flows through the pipelines and to whom. It was also important to adopt an API platform that would make it easy to deploy new functionality and enable us to monetize API transactions.
A few years ago, we chose Apigee because it checked those (and other) boxes. Initially, Apigee served as the API gateway for our My Telenor app, which enables Telenor customers to interact with their accounts, such as finding out how much data they’ve used in their plan.
Launching our self-service API development portalMore recently, using Apigee we launched the Telenor Developer Portal in Norway, a self-service API development portal with an easy-to-use graphical interface. Our partners had been asking for our help in digitizing their businesses. They wanted APIs from us that would enable them to integrate to our services and help them digitize their processes.
With APIs, we can provide our partners and customers with more agile service deployments, information consistency, and more secure information flow. Security is even more important today as the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance goes into effect. We’re able to have strong authentication and authorization using our APIs, which makes it possible to integrate a variety of information systems and apps from partners that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, such as financial or human resource systems.
Through open APIs, partners can connect their customers to new or enhanced services such as Mobile Payments, Bank ID on Mobile, Mobile Enterprise Network (that gives an overview of all fixed, mobile, and IP-telephony in an enterprise) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, to name a few.
Selling APIs like any other productOur new portal enables us to sell and manage APIs as we would other products. It’s completely connected into our billing system, so partners can easily buy an API from the portal and be billed for it automatically—no manual assistance needed from us.
Signing the contract for using the APIs is also done digitally by “click to accept.” The goal is to do everything we can to make our APIs accessible to partners and easily manageable through the graphical interface. We ran a project together with Accenture and Evry to make the complete solution for managing APIs as products. Apigee contributed with a technical expert in the starting phase of our project.
Currently, we have around 20 API products on the portal and over 260 partners are integrated. On our Apigee gateway we now have over 140 API proxies, and many of them have the potential to become new API products.
Like every other major company today, we’re going through a complete digital transformation of our business, and APIs are key to that transformation. For example, we’ve installed the Apigee Edge gateway in all of Telenor Group’s global business units. This can enable us to use the same API development platform throughout the company, and to scale and expose global APIs as needed.
The Apigee monetization module has made it easier to monetize our various APIs, such as charging per transaction via our Mobile User Info API or Device Detection APIs. Overall, we have had a significant amount in direct revenues year over year from our APIs.
Since we’ve been in the API business for years, some of our APIs come from other platforms besides Apigee. As a result, currently, we have a fragmented way of exposing APIs. We’re planning to move most of the work we do with APIs to Apigee to have a unified overview of all our customers and their APIs.
This unified overview will make management significantly easier and help us to immediately know who’s accessing what data from which pipeline. It’s already making a difference, in fact. We can now trace live traffic in the pipelines and see who is using the APIs much easier and faster than before.
Helping partners on their transformation journeyGoing forward, we expect significant growth in our business as more enterprise partners around the world increasingly require APIs. We’re in a very good position to help our partners innovate with new services and features—to help them on the digital transformation journey they need to take, to stay competitive.
At Telenor, we have a storied past—160 years is a long time for any company. But it is also 160 years with proven ability to innovate and adapt to changes. This, plus our love for APIs of course, makes us well positioned for our digital transformation journey ahead.
Telenor is one of the world’s major mobile operators across Scandinavia, Central Eastern Europe, and Asia. Elisabeth Falck is product manager for APIs in Telenor Norway’s Business Division and is responsible for the Telenor Developer Portal, new APIs, and is heading Telenor Norway’s API council. Lars Thingstad is System Expert in Telenor Norway’s Technology department and is responsible for the Apigee Edge Gateway in Telenor Norway.