On the Ground at FinTech API Summit 2016 – Part II


In my last post of the two-part blog series on the FinTech API Summit, I highlighted observations I took away from the sessions from the earlier part of the one day event. This is a continuation of those insights.


Build a Future-Proof Emerging Payment Platform (Customer Panel)

Payments Panel

Patrick Howard, Director of Product Management – API Channel Strategy at First Data and Shawn McCarthy, Director, IT, Portals, and APIs at Vantiv shared their API journeys with the audience. For First Data the impetus to embrace APIs was predicated less by choice and rather an increasingly VUCA {volatility uncertainty complexity & ambiguity} environment. With First Data rolling out Apple Pay, Apple insisted on APIs to support the mobile payments initiative and help drive innovations and options that financial institutions could offer their customers. In contrast, Vantiv had an earlier immersion into APIs starting in the late 2000s to 2010 in an effort to get their “systems to talk to each other.” As lessons learned, McCarthy noted, “Developer hub is not just a technology enabler, but a lead gen opportunity for your business.” Howard offered his own takeaway, “Treat API as a product with a product roadmap and P&L” remarking on the success of First Data, which doubled its developer adoption in less than a year (though he acknowledged the inflection point was mid-last year and took longer than they had originally hoped).


Taking it to the Top: How to sell APIs to your Board

Board -Banner

Jennifer Banner, CEO of Schaad Companies, sitting member of various Boards of Directors for the past 12/13 years, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and BB&T, spoke enthusiastically about APIs and reflected on the transformation of Boards over those years. In the early years, discussions of “digital strategy” was non-existent with talk more focused on “IT strategy.” Since then a lot has changed – increasingly more time is requested with the CIO. Interestingly the CIO responsibilities has bifurcated into two roles – the CIO, who is focused on the more deliberate practice of the banking system, and Digital Officers looking into the more nimble, agile digital space to promote innovation.  She further commented that within banking, fintech is seen as a more “them versus us” discussion; or “slow and behemoth” incumbents versus the “fun” fintechs. Yet Banner pointed out that what appears to be sluggishness is what came out the financial crisis and the desire to uphold safety and soundness in the financial system and drive out risk.


Apigee in Action (Demo)

Apigee Demo

Next a representative from Apigee walked us through its Developer Portal. Although I’m not a programmer (at least I haven’t programmed since the late 90s/early 2000s), I do like to peek under the covers every so often. Apigee’s developer portal is fairly straightforward with configurable features. Apigee offers a lot of documentation on setting up a developer portal that can be used to take backend stored data and expose them in a secure, and relatively easy way to external developers. More information can be found here.


Digital Success Begins at Home – Why Culture Matters

Culture 2

Apigee concluded the day’s sessions with a pragmatic lesson in moving to a digital business – namely culture matters. Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” (In reality culture and strategy interact.) But in order to move the needle in a company you need to have an open culture. Indeed, corporate culture can lead to a company’s collapse or inspire and contribute to its success.




If you’re interested in learning more (or get a better understanding) of APIs, Apigee has a free downloadable book to explain what an API is entitled, “APIs for Dummies.” You can download a copy here.

In the meantime, bidding adieu from Q INSIGHTS until the next event that strikes my fancy.


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