Telenor: Moving data through API pipelines with Apigee

About Telenor

Telenor is one of the world’s major mobile network operators, delivering core mobile telephony, payments, and identity services to 180 million customers in 12 markets across the Nordics, and in Asia.

Location: Norway

About Accenture

Accenture PLC is a global management consulting and professional services firm that provides strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations services.

Telenor sells and manages APIs as products with the Apigee API Platform to offer its partners and customers agile service deployments, information consistency, and more secure information flow.

Google Cloud Results

  • Provides partners and customers with a self-service API development portal
  • Monetizes APIs for significant year-over-year increase in direct revenues
  • Enables digital transformation of core business by building a scalable API ecosystem

APIs are Monetized for significant year-over-year increases in direct revenues

As one of the world’s major telecommunications service providers, Telenor has been connecting people and empowering societies for more than 160 years by tapping into the latest innovations. Telenor first recognized the potential of APIs in the 1990s, when it started offering APIs that enabled customers to buy ringtones and logos for personalizing their mobile phones —a novel concept at the time.

“APIs give us so many opportunities to deliver new services. If data is the oil, then APIs are the pipelines it flows through. We can build incredible services using them.”

Elisabeth Falck, API Product Manager, Telenor Norway

Today, APIs are an integral part of the company’s digital transformation. “APIs give us so many opportunities to deliver new services. If data is the new oil, then APIs are the pipelines it flows through,” says Elisabeth Falck, API Product Manager at Telenor Norway.

Moving data through pipelines

As an early API adopter, Telenor built and maintained its own solutions for the APIs it offered its partners on a variety of legacy technologies. As the company’s digital transformation evolved, Telenor wanted to deliver even more features and services, such as e-health, smart cities technologies, and IoT, to customers. To accomplish this, the company needed an API platform that could keep pace with its goals.

Telenor focused on finding a solution that offered API management and access control to handle the data flowing through pipelines and where it goes. It was also important to adopt an API platform that would simplify deploying new functionality and monetizing API transactions. Apigee checked those essential boxes; Telenor standardized on Apigee Edge in all of its business units around the globe.

“With APIs, we can provide more agile deployments and information consistency, and better secure information flow, which is especially important in responding to the EU’s GDPR. The strong authentication and authorization required when using our APIs allows us to integrate a variety of systems and apps from partners that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”

Elisabeth Falck, API Product Manager, Telenor Norway

Launching a self-service API development portal

Initially, Apigee served as the API gateway for the My Telenor app, which enables Telenor customers to manage their subscriptions and interact with their accounts, such as to find out how much data they’ve used in their mobile plan. But Telenor quickly saw that it could also use Apigee for safely exposing APIs externally, thanks to the access control mechanisms in the gateway. The company decided on a strategy that moved all external facing APIs to the Apigee platform.

Telenor launched the Telenor Developer Portal, a self-service API development portal with an easy-to-use graphical interface. This also helped Telenor’s partners who wanted access to Telenor APIs to enable them to integrate with its services and help them digitize their own processes.

Security is even more important today as the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance takes effect. “With APIs, we can provide more agile deployments and information consistency, and better secure information flow, which is especially important in responding to the EU’s GDPR,” says Falck. “The strong authentication and authorization required when using our APIs allows us to integrate a variety of systems and apps from partners that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”

Through APIs, Telenor’s partners can connect their customers to more secure payment, identification, enterprise telephony and data management, and IoT ecosystems.

Pushing the boundaries of digital transformation

Telenor is going through a digital transformation, with APIs being a key component of the process. With Accenture on board as a consulting partner, Telenor Group decided to deploy the Apigee Edge gateway in all of its global business units. This enables use of the same API development platform throughout the company, with the ability to scale and expose global APIs as needed.

Falck says that the biggest shift the company has experienced since adopting Apigee is towards a digital onboarding experience for its partners. “Previously it could take months to exchange contracts and documents, and give access to developers over email,” she says. “Now, with Apigee and our new Developer Portal, partners have digital onboarding so when they purchase APIs they simultaneously get access to the API through the gateway.”

“The goal is to treat our APIs as products and do everything we can to make our APIs accessible and easily manageable through a graphical interface. Making Apigee a part of our order value chain, partners can sign API contracts electronically in our self-service portal, using ‘click to accept’ for a truly digital experience.”

Elisabeth Falck, API Product Manager, Telenor Norway

Signing contracts, purchasing, and provisioning of the API product are automatically done using Apigee and the existing product value chain. The Apigee monetization module makes it easier to commercialize various APIs, such as charging per transaction via Telenor’s Mobile User Info API or Device Detection APIs.

As Telenor got into the API business early, some of its legacy APIs came from platforms other than Apigee. As a result, APIs were exposed in a fragmented manner. A big step in the company’s API strategy is to move most API development to Apigee to gain a unified overview of all customers and their APIs.

This unified overview and the Apigee analytics module are already making API management significantly easier —giving an immediate view of who’s accessing what data from which pipeline. API product managers can spot support and other potential issues early, enabling Telenor to proactively respond to its partners.

Selling APIs like any other product

A key component of the company’s digital transformation is the strategy of productizing APIs: treating the development and commercialization of APIs as it would any other product. Telenor partnered with Accenture, Evry, and Apigee to design an end-to-end solution for managing APIs. “The goal is to treat our APIs as products and do everything we can to make our APIs accessible and easily manageable through a graphical interface,” says Falck. “Making Apigee a part of our order value chain, partners can sign API contracts electronically in our self-service portal, using ‘click to accept’ for a truly digital experience.”

“Working with APIs, the ecosystem is key,” Falck says. “Without an ecosystem you won’t achieve scale with your APIs. You need to work with system integrators, aggregators, and partners in the market to grow your API customer base. We wouldn’t have the sales capabilities to handle all those things in-house, so partnering up is perfect for getting APIs out to market.”

Currently, about 20 API products are available on the portal and over 260 Telenor partners are integrated. The Apigee gateway has over 140 API proxies, with many having the potential to become new API products in their own right. The new API development process is handled just like the process for other technology products.

“Nobody is going to pay you to solve a non-problem; you have to start with the customer need,” Falck says. “And when we see a customer need, a partner asking for an API, we think about how we can develop a product that can be inserted into a normal value chain so that it’s really easy to on-board.”

Helping partners on their transformation journey

Telenor expects significant growth in its API business as its enterprise partners around the world increasingly require APIs. As a successful early API adopter, the company is well-positioned to help its partners innovate with new services and features—helping them to embark on their own digital transformation journeys.

About Telenor

Telenor is one of the world’s major mobile network operators, delivering core mobile telephony, payments, and identity services to 180 million customers in 12 markets across the Nordics, and in Asia.

Location: Norway

About Accenture

Accenture PLC is a global management consulting and professional services firm that provides strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations services.

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