Why the use of APIs is critical to your modernization project.
By Mark Mayfield, Sr. Software Implementation Manager, Catalis Regulatory & Compliance
APIs can be used to dramatically accelerate Unemployment Insurance (UI) modernization by unlocking and allowing legacy data and applications to be consumed by cloud services, allowing for innovation without the risks, delays, and costs often associated with data migration. And APIs do not care if your UI benefits system is an older mainframe, a newer legacy, or even a modernized system – they can work with any of them to exchange data back and forth in real-time!
There is no question that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Education and Training Administration (DOL/ETA) is pushing state agencies towards taking advantage of APIs in state UI modernization efforts and for good reasons. There are many advantages to deploying microservices, or modules, over all-in-one monolithic applications. The DOL UI modernization team, in the recently published IT Modernization Strategy, stated that “to reduce the cost of IT system change, states should adopt modular systems that are easy to maintain incrementally, reuse existing software, and integrate new solutions through standard interfaces and an API-first approach.” Additionally, recent UIPL No. 11-23 uses the acronym “API” twelve times in describing the DOL recommendations for modernizing UI systems.
The pandemic had a major impact on just about everything – including the way we all do business, where we work from, how we provide services, and how we communicate. APIs are at the heart of helping to redefine ways to accomplish these pursuits because they enable evolving digital transformation. APIs are necessary to continuously enable new services, but the need for digital-first strategies has made APIs more of a priority than ever before. Every agency is expected to make changes fast and adapt to new ways as they come along – like new guidance. APIs streamline the transformation process, help support faster application or service delivery, and reduce operational and technology costs by simplifying and accelerating development. In short, APIs are key for modernizing your UI platform.
Think of APIs as the “connective tissue” between your various applications and modules, as you can use them to manage your data flows and customizations. The plasticity and efficiency you can gain are what make APIs arguably more important than the application itself. Start any conversation with a prospective vendor by asking if they utilize APIs to communicate back and forth between benefits systems and other microservices, and you know the answer you need to hear.