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How the Belgian government innovates thanks to APIs

Smals, a nonprofit Belgian company, provided a new, API-centric platform to modernize the Belgium government’s data architecture and leverage new technologies and security protocols while offering greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Smals specializes in delivering IT solutions for the government, social and healthcare organizations, as well as public services that need IT services. The main objective is to work actively and in a manner that is sustainable for the future.

As a non-profit organization, Smals purpose is to play a key role as an ICT assimilator between the various public social security institutions. By offering high-performance IT solutions at a reduced cost, they seek to have their services and know-how capabilities readily available to their clients.

Willem Salembier, Solutions Architect at Smals said, “Smals is a participant for an initiative for creating a private cloud that is specifically for the Belgium government and we host a service like an API Gateway for services.”

Smals has a long history of exchanging data through services. They began their journey in the late 90s with communications solely-based on web services and then proceeded to services-oriented architecture (SOA).

Read more about API Gateways in the modern enterprise.

Smals needed a new direction for modernizing their legacy systems, so they sought out help for this endeavor. New challenges presented themselves in RESTful services which today’s standards. As Willem said, “We had neither the platform that goes well with these new technologies nor new security protocols.”

“Because our catalog of services is growing, and the number of clients is growing fast with a significant cost in hosting and protecting these APIs that exist, the main goals is to go for a cost reduction for a more efficient platform to host the APIs.”

Smals teamed up with Axway to bring a modern approach to Smals’ legacy problems. As Willem stated, “The main challenge was to grow to a new platform without impacting all the existing consumers and providers of services because we have this big catalog integrated into many applications.”

AMPLIFY solution

With the AMPLIFY solution, Axway provided a new platform Axway that is not only flexible to meet Smals’ objectives but it could also expose the same functionality and interfaces, all while modernizing how it’s implemented internally. Axway’s solution met Smals’ challenges with a sound migration for their legacy systems.

Migration in progress

Currently, Smals is in the process of migrating their APIs from their old platform to the new Axway AMPLIFYsolution. So far, over 50% of Smals APIs have been migrated to the new solution. Smals continues to migrate its APIs in a controlled manner to ensure efficiency. With Axway, Smals is provided with a high-available platform. Smals has numerous integrations for software for medicines, as well as pharmacists that must run 24/7. AMPLIFY meets these challenges with a strong platform.

The platform is set up in a high-available architecture across multiple data centers. The entire volume of the platform treats about 35 million requests a day. This allows Smals to continue to scale even further. Smals is finalizing the migration so it can shut down the old platform and just run on the new solution.

Axway AMPLIFY brings a cost-efficient solution for Smals’ necessary requirements to stay competitive in a digital world. The new API-centric platform helps provide new skills and security protocols that Smals simply didn’t have before.