What is an Interface? (And Why You Should Care)

Rob Say, Professional Services Consultant, FINEOS

This is not about programming; this is about your business.

All my work ultimately comes down to one group of people talking to another group of people about something the other needs to know or do.

Sometimes things get stored on computers, sometimes we get the computers to help with decisions by talking to each other – and we do that because it’s efficient.

If you’re taking a long hard look at your business, or even your whole market, the mechanisms in your systems aren’t really the important bit.  It’s the understanding of why people talk to people, why people talk to systems and why systems talk to systems.  Every time that happens, that’s an interface and it is important.

  • Some can be systemised; the appointment of an expert to a claim needs to be recorded and you’ll want it to match it up with the purchase order and any invoicing.
  • Others will be ad-hoc; a claims manager having a monthly update with a service provider or broker is valuable and the conversation will be different every time.
  • And of course; some are simply not required, so remove them and any system dependencies

And here come the punch lines:

  1. If you want to change your business, somewhere you’ll be changing your interfaces
  2. If somebody else changes an interface – big or small, you’ll probably have to change your business to accommodate that

And as a final offering; if you ever find yourself getting submerged in technical detail on a project – just ask them; What are the business interfaces?  When does the all that fancy computing talk to something I do know about?

If you don’t get a straight answer – get a new technical team!

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