APIs are paving the way to new types of capabilities in insurance organizations, from accessing property information to rate comparisons. Insurance companies also are finding advantages in producing their own APIs, which either face consumers and partners, or address internal workflow considerations.
The key to APIs -- whether they are being consumed or produced by insurance companies – is they need to be managed and maintained in the same manner as any other piece of software. The accuracy, scalability, consistency and accessibility of APIs is critical to avoid potential errors or issues.
That means having the right teams in place to manage APIs – from their inception to consumption to eventual retirement. A new online guidebook from CA, titled The API Management Playbook: Understanding Solutions for API Management, describes API creation, management and consumption as a team process, involving players with varying skills from across the organization.
Here are the roles and responsibilities that will help ensure API success:
Line of business managers: Managers with more than a passing interest in APIs may include the chief digital officer, chief experience officer, VP of digital, or even director of omnichannel. “These executives are responsible for meeting business goals and driving the organization’s competitive advantage and differentiators. They see APIs as a strategic enabler for launching innovative products or services, forging new partnerships and improving the customer experience—so API management must be a trusted, reliable platform on which to achieve this.”
Enterprise architects: Examples include CIO, chief architect, VP of integration, or director of integration. Their focus is to integrate and create APIs. “Architects are responsible for translating the digital business challenges into an ideal technology infrastructure. They see APIs as connective tissue that will orchestrate the data and functionality they need to make it happen—and API management as a set of tools to help them model, design, shape and optimize these integrations for years to come.”
Developers: Titles include VP of app development, VP of mobile; director of apps, mobile/web development lead. Their focus is to accelerate mobile and IoT development, and to build front-end applications while discovering, acquiring and consuming APIs as their gateway to enterprise data and capabilities. For this group, API management represents stable, secure and scalable access to the back-end, as well as a source of tools and utilities to help them obtain and leverage the APIs more efficiently.”
Security teams: Typical titles include chief information security officer, VP of information security, and director of IT security. Their focus is to “secure the open enterprise, because APIs are designed to “open the enterprise” by establishing new digital value chains, they pose a unique challenge when it comes to protecting the business against vulnerabilities. For security professionals, API management is about providing advanced threat protection and authentication capabilities—without compromising the overall mission of increasing connectivity and convenience.”
API owners: VPs of product development, product managers, and API specialists are likely to be API “owners.” Their job is to “build, deploy, operate and optimize API infrastructure,” the guidebook states. “Once an overall API strategy has been determined, this group ultimately becomes responsible for operating and maintaining its technology infrastructure.”
The way these various teams work together depends on the nature of the projects being undertaken, and the stage of API development. The CA guidebook outlines typical API management scenarios and who gets involved:
Integration and creation of APIs: The key players for integration and creation of APIs include enterprise architects and API owners. “To support this mission, experienced architects look for API management to help them solve the challenge of integrating systems, adapting services, orchestrating data and rapidly creating modern, enterprise-scale REST APIs from different sources.”
Security: The key players in maintaining security are security teams and developers, the book states. “Information security professionals look for API management to identify and neutralize critical threats, enable robust policies, offer consistent and repeatable security for mobile apps and provide the capabilities needed to deliver features such as single sign-on and risk-based access.”
Accelerated development: Developers and API owners are the key players here. “Competitive pressure, rising customer expectations and the increasing pace of change mean that applications—especially for mobile and the IoT—must be delivered faster and more efficiently than ever. Developers look for API management to help them discover, acquire and consume APIs quickly, while also providing tools that speed up or eliminate the “dirty work” of repeatedly building core functionality to handle data and security. The right solution will help them.”
Achieving business results: Line of business managers and API owners need to collaborate here. “Digital transformation initiatives that leverage APIs create new business opportunities and routes to market. Line of business executives look to API management as a central launch point for their digital strategies, with a range of capabilities that will support their efforts to build a robust digital ecosystem by expanding partnerships, nurturing developer communities, monetizing data and leveraging digital connections to improve operations and efficiency. The right solution will help them.”
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