API Management

Western Union and Apigee: Building a Bot

How the Money Bot for Facebook Messenger was delivered with security, stability, and speed


We at Western Union were very excited when we struck a strategic partnership in March with Facebook to build a money transfer bot for the social network’s popular Messenger instant messaging service. But the real excitement began when we realized we had only three weeks to release and beta test the product.

Why the rush? We wanted to release the bot at the rapidly approaching F8 Facebook Developer Conference, because of the amazing opportunity to showcase the new product to our customers.

We made the deadline, launched on time, and got a lot of media coverage at F8 and in the press. But how did we do it?

Using the Apigee API platform, the development environment was ready in an instant with rapid deployment and configuration tools. It was simple to create Dev, QA, and Prod environments and move the Bot through the software development lifecycle.

The environment was also very stable and ensured that we completed the product from Dev to Production on time and didn't miss a beat on infrastructure-related issues.

Security is an important consideration for Western Union. The APIs servicing the Bot traffic needed to meet our strict corporate information security standards.

All of the required functionality came out-of-the-box so we didn't need to worry about certificates or API keys; we just had to configure the functionality and control the access.

Multiple other out-of-the-box Apigee services came to the rescue as we worked to develop Facebook Bot functionalities, including in-memory cache and key/value management for various environments, on a very tight deadline.

The Apigee API platform removed the burden of maintaining the infrastructural pieces like security, caching, and environment management and helped us focus on the business logic needed to launch the Bot on a very tight deadline.

We’re looking forward to building upon the momentum and putting the Apigee platform to work in many other use cases in the future.

Vijaya Kouru is a director of front-end engineering at Western Union Digital in San Francisco. He has led multiple transformations of front-end platforms at Western Union and helped grow and expand web and mobile into 40+ send countries and 200+ receive countries.