APIs Here, There and Everywhere

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, February 6, 2014

The noise is almost deafening: Application programming interfaces (API) are the cure for everything. IT pundits and analysts are proclaiming the dawn of the API economy, and vendors are API-zing their offerings.

But what value, exactly, do APIs bring to the business? 

Mala Ramakrishnan, director of product marketing at Oracle, addressed this question in a recent article at the Service Technology Magazine. There are two advantages an API, which stands for “application programming interface,” but is now mainly referred to by its initials — brings to the table:

Flexibility and agility to the organization. The ability to tap into APIs for various pre-built functions — be it CRM, purchase orders or IT security protocols — means cutting out countless hours of programming time to build such functions from scratch. In addition, it means capabilities are immediately available for the asking, enabling swifter responses to problems or opportunities. It also encourages collaboration across departments and business units, who may be sharing or using one another's APIs. APIs may be accessed from outside third parties via the cloud model, or built and shared within the enterprise.

Bring partners and customers into your orbit: APIs open up applications within the enterprise to drive new business opportunities. Ramakrishnan provides an example: “Offering APIs which allow developers to create a mobile-device friendly retail store may bring in more purchases from shoppers on the go, who are not sitting in front of a computer with a web browser. Another approach is making APIs available that can be leveraged by third parties to create innovative new offerings combining core capabilities with other web-based content or capabilities. This can positively alter the consumer experience and result in increased revenue.”

The most recent estimates I have seen put the number of open, or publicly available APIs at more than 13,000, but there are millions more being created internally within enterprises.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Of Enterprise BI

When IT can't deliver, business users build their own applications focusing on agility, flexibility and reaction times.

The IT-Savvy 10%

IBM survey reveals best practices of IT leaders.

The Software-Defined Health Insurer: Radical But Realistic?

Can a tech startup digitally assemble the pieces of a comprehensive, employer-provided health plan?

Data Governance in Insurance Carriers

As the insurance industry moves into a more data-centric world, data governance becomes more critical for ensuring the data is consistent, reliable and usable for analysis.

Fear This

Just days before this Issue, which contains our security cover story, went to press, we got some interesting news: 1.2 billion unique usernames and passwords and 542 million email addresses were reportedly stolen from 420,000 websites, according to The New York Times. The websites ranged from Fortune 500 companies down to small online retailers.

Should You Back Up Enterprise Data to the Cloud?

Six questions that need to be asked before signing on with an outside service.