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My API Story: APIs at the heart of products

Brian Coombs, Product Director, Cerillion shares why the company has put TM Forum Open APIs at the heart of its latest product modernization program.

Brian CoombsBrian Coombs
Ailis Claassen
30 Jan 2023
My API Story: APIs at the heart of products

My API Story: APIs at the heart of products

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Tell us about yourself and your job

I’ve been at Cerillion for over 20 years and have been the Product Director for the last six. My role is to define the direction we take the product as well as working out the details of the new functionality we want to develop. Three years ago, I made the decision to put TM Forum Open APIs at the heart of our latest product modernization program and since then we have been working to get them developed and certified.

Why do you believe in TM Forum’s Open API program?

Integration has been the hardest part of any transformation project for as long as anyone can remember. The Open APIs arrived at the right time for us as we were looking to create a new set of REST APIs. They also came with the right coverage and so are very relevant to our product suite. It was clear from the very early presentations at Digital Transformation World that they would be a success as the industry was crying out for this approach, and it’s great to see that early potential become a reality. The world is digital now and many of the requirements for serving that digital world can be achieved through using these APIs, so they can open up new avenues for us as well.

What TM Forum Open APIs are most valuable to your company?

As a full suite vendor, most of the Open APIs are of value to us. We currently have more than 20 of them in various levels of use. The value is in their functional nature and breadth of functions they cover. This gives us a great starting point for conversations as to how our APIs should be structured, but still allows us to create differentiation in the features and benefits our products provide. Today our most used Open APIs are:

TMF629 - Customer Management API
TMF663 - Shopping Cart API
TMF678 - Customer Bill Management API
TMF620 - Product Catalogue Management API
TMF622 - Product Ordering API

Why did you choose to highlight those APIs?

As a BSS/OSS vendor, these APIs are widely used in many of the core processes that our products cover.

How do you use those APIs?

The key thing we have done is to build each API as required to support our application GUIs and processes, so this means for some we will start with only the GET operations, and then as we modernize the edit screens, we develop the PUT and PATCH operations. At the point we have developed most of the operations, we then look to certify them. These APIs are at the heart of our product, they contain the business logic, they drive our GUIs, they are used for our intra-product integrations, as well as for third parties to integrate with us via products such as our Wholesale Gateway. This allows our customers to offer their services as a platform provider, confident in the knowledge that these aren’t an afterthought layer that will become diverged from the core product over time.

How have you benefited from using those APIs?

The TM Forum Open APIs have been a great success in the market, and these days it is a rarity when an RFP doesn’t require conformance, or at least enquire about your plans and progress with the Open APIs. Moving early and going “all in” on them means we have a very strong position on this, and it has been very well received amongst our customers and prospects.

More generally, having a common language to discuss different parts of the system has helped greatly in conversations with CSPs and partners, especially when it comes to drawing boundary lines of responsibility.

Where do you use them?

We have been delivering our Open APIs in all new customer projects and upgrades over the past 2-3 years, and with our evergreen software updates, this means our customers get access to the latest APIs with every six-monthly release.

To learn more about Cerillion visit www.cerillion.com