Interview with Akana's EVP, Roberto Medrano
Roberto Medrano is the Executive Vice President for Akana, leader in API Management, API Security and Cloud Integration that provides SaaS, PaaS, and on-premise solutions. Roberto is a recognized executive in internet security, governance, compliance, software, cloud integration, and SOA/API management. Based on his Internet security work, Roberto was selected as a participant in President Clinton's White House Security Summit on Cyber Security. He was founder and board member for the Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center (IT-ISAC). He participated in the National Cyber Security Summits and The White House National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. Roberto has extensive general management and marketing experience with start-ups and large companies. He was one of the top 100 Senior Executives at Hewlett Packard (HP). At HP, he was General Manager of HP Software. Roberto holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from UCLA and a BS in Electrical Engineering from USC. He has been recognized by Hispanics in Technology in their list of Top 100 Hispanics in IT, and was recently positioned as #12 on ExecReps’ listing of the nation’s top 250 CMOs.
How does technology power your business?
Every business is going through a digital shift, and this requires providing better connectivity among applications, customers, employees and their devices. Akana provides the infrastructure to provide this connectivity between applications and Apps by enabling management and security of APIs. APIs help with the consumption and distribution of business capabilities as sharable services. And now the emergence of the microservices paradigm delivers flexibility and scalability to the development and deployment of service-based applications. Akana helps enterprises to build web-scale, distributed and decoupled applications that are composed of microservices.
The Akana API Management platform enables an enterprise to unlock data from backend systems and applications, and securely make them available to partners and developers to build apps for web, mobile or Internet of Things. The platform is extremely scalable and allows customers to use public cloud, private cloud or the Akana Cloud platform. The advantage it brings is that it keeps the entire ecosystem in mind. Security is a predominant element that is paired with the ability to productize your APIs and present it in a visually usable way. Users of the API Management platform can make their data available in application and API forms, for free or through a licensing model. Either way, they benefit from increased awareness, usage and branding.
Akana recently changed its name. Can you tell us about that?
Yes, we changed our name from SOA Software to Akana to reflect the evolution of our market and the expansion of the types of solutions we provide. We started the company with a product that helped companies create enterprise-level web services and SOA. Companies adopted SOA as way to build and manage their digital assets and extend their applications to new channels. Enterprise applications now require fast sharing of data among different applications and Apps throughAPIs. Since we were providing solutions that did all of these things, we recognized that we weren’t just about SOA anymore. We had become more comprehensive in our offerings, and we wanted a name that reflected our new direction of APIs, cloud integration, microservices, and API security.
What are the biggest tech projects your team is working on this year?
We can’t give away too much information, but I can say that by the time 2015 is over, the market will have new tools and support for microservices and DevOps development, and better capabilities for App development and cloud application integration. We will also announce partnerships that will extend our solutions to include application development for different types of platforms.
What trends do you see happening in API management and cloud integration over the next few years?
The demand for cloud applications will grow in a massive way. Cisco predicts that there will be more than 30 billion connected devices by 2020. To accommodate the digital needs of businesses and individuals, companies will have to become more efficient at building applications. Most of the future applications will be built using APIs. We are moving to a framework that will rely more and more on small, shared services to build and manage applications so they can address the proliferation of all these endpoints, which are being enabled by APIs. To ensure operability, API security and lifecycle management will quickly become among the most essential elements of an application infrastructure.
You've seen a lot happen in your career. How hard is it to constantly improve and innovate your offerings?
Most importantly, you need to know what your customers are doing, and what their future plans are. You need to know where technology is going and how you can help your customers. Make your customers your partners. Recognize how you can help make them successful. Then look at the skill-set within your own organization. Chances are you have brilliant people who, irrespective of education or experience, know how to solve problems. When you identify challenges, and let smart people get energized by the prospect of solving those challenges, some really innovative, interesting things happen.
What is important for the Los Angeles tech community to know about Akana?
Our company was founded and headquartered in Los Angeles. Being here has helped us become what we are today. There is a deep sense of creativity, innovation and quality that permeates so many of the different sectors in Los Angeles, and all of that is embedded in our DNA. This is a diverse place - different types of people, backgrounds, industries and mindsets. Akana itself mirrors this wonderfully eclectic place and that has brought to our products a sense of inclusion, progress and excellence.