Similar to the music world where a new song can be created from bits and pieces of two or more different songs, mashups in the technology world follow the same basic structure. Taking disparate data from divergent sources and/or applications, a mashup is an amalgamation of this information, which, when put together, is a unique application tailored to the user/designer’s specifications. While most carriers and agents might not be fully cognizant of them, mashups, when crafted properly, can improve workflow, disseminate knowledge, improve customer service and marketing, save time and money and—potentially—permanently change the shape of the insurance IT landscape.

The term mashup is tricky—meaning many different things to many different people. According to G. Oliver Young, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. “A mashup is a way to combine data and applications in disparate applications into something that is more valuable than the sum of its parts,” he says. “So, in the case of applications, it’s combining two separate applications into one that becomes more valuable than the two separate applications. In the case of data, it’s combining two or more data sets into one data set that is more valuable to the user.”

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