Nationwide Insurance: Modernizing shared services with API management

About Nationwide Insurance

Nationwide is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the United States. Nationwide offers a full range of services, including car, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, farm, life, and commercial insurance, as well as annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans, and specialty health services.

Industries: Financial Services
Location: United States

Nationwide Insurance transforms its IT shared services organization and drives an API-first business strategy across the company by implementing Google's Apigee API Management Platform.

Google Cloud Results

  • Empowers more than 1,000 internal developers to independently build and share APIs
  • Evolves development strategy from an application and asset ownership perspective to a product-based model
  • Drives digital transformation from the inside out by increasing API adoption and awareness among developers, architects, and business partners

Reduced onboarding time for B2B partners from months to just days

Nationwide Insurance is one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the United States. When the company sought to undertake a digital transformation inside its large IT organization, deciding on a direction early in the process was fundamental. One of the most important considerations was fostering an environment where people could innovate and be creative in addressing business and technology challenges.

"What I've really appreciated about Apigee isn't just the functionality in the developer portal, but the guidance they provided on how we should roll out our API strategy and how we can think strategically about digital transformation using APIs."

Rick Schnierer, AVP, One IT Applications Business Solutions, Nationwide Insurance

Creative thinking drives business transformation

One component of Nationwide's digital transformation centered around an effort to create a better experience for everybody who touches the IT system, including employees, customers, and business partners. A critical first step in this transformation was the modernization of many of the backend systems, which involved both a technology change but also re-imagining business processes to take advantage of emerging technologies.

Nationwide provides IT infrastructure and support to the enterprise from a large shared services organization called One IT Applications. In 2015, the One IT team saw the opportunity to support this transformation by implementing the Apigee API Management Platform and developer portal in the company's shared services organization, while further educating business partners, IT leaders, and the development community on the power of APIs.

Rick Schnierer, Nationwide's Associate Vice President of One IT Applications Business Solutions, viewed Apigee as a strategic deployment that could help IT leadership understand the power of APIs and how they could leverage the platform for digital transformation. Schnierer is especially enthusiastic about how Apigee and Google have been true partners in helping the company to accelerate and course correct along the way.

"What I've really appreciated about Apigee isn't just the functionality in the developer portal, but the guidance they provided on how we should roll out our API strategy and how we can think strategically about digital transformation using APIs," says Rick.

"What used to take us two to three months to develop as a monolithic service now takes days as a microservice. Apigee has also allowed us to federate development, meaning our developers are empowered to create and share APIs on their own rather than going through a centralized model."

Rick Schnierer, AVP, One IT Applications Business Solutions, Nationwide Insurance

Enhancing skill sets drives adoption

Nationwide implemented a "Path to Craftsmanship" to boost the development team's skill set and involve the system architecture teams in the shared services digital transformation. The program started by focusing on simple integrations in the form of microservices and APIs, but soon expanded to leverage APIs as an innovative way to handle more complex integrations. Through the efforts, the One IT team influenced the company's system and solution architects to adopt an API-first strategy as standard practice to facilitate innovation.

One of the biggest drivers to widespread adoption of the Apigee platform inside Nationwide was the compelling story told by the One IT team around the power of APIs to immediately accelerate and simplify development.

Says Rick, "What used to take us two to three months to develop as a monolithic service now takes days as a microservice. Apigee has also allowed us to federate development, meaning our developers are empowered to create and share APIs on their own rather than going through a centralized model."

Measuring the value of API products

Having an API management platform in place has given Nationwide increased insight into its own IT value proposition. With the visibility that Apigee enables, questions around how much value is being driven by each API product have become central. In moving to a product-based model and away from the old application and asset ownership perspective, the company has flipped the script on understanding its development process. Now, understanding what outcome teams want to drive comes before creating a solution to do it, followed by measuring whether or not the expected value has been achieved.

"We have business connections coming through the Apigee API Management Platform that we wouldn't have even thought to initiate on our own. I love APIs because they give us the freedom to create connections with partners that we never imagined."

Rick Schnierer, AVP, One IT Applications Business Solutions, Nationwide Insurance

At present, Nationwide is exposing approximately 120 APIs internally and externally and is measuring the value produced from each of them. One example of how this influences decision-making across the business is the company's pet insurance product. Recognizing an opportunity to provide quotes for pet insurance aggregators faster as part of the API ecosystem than they could do with legacy systems, the team developed an API product to address this need. They quickly saw a large increase in the amount of quotes generated through various pet insurance aggregators. What surprised them were the additional connections made by companies who were not aggregators, greatly increasing the funnel of quotes and buy opportunities.

Explains Rick, "We have business connections coming through the Apigee API Management Platform that we wouldn't have even thought to initiate on our own. I love APIs because they give us the freedom to create connections with partners that we never imagined."

The One IT team has spent considerable time monitoring the APIs they've exposed in order to evaluate the value they're generating as investments. Correlating metrics such as the increase in quotes and potential revenue are facilitated through the reporting available in the Apigee platform. The team has become very nimble thanks to this visibility into each API's metrics, unpublishing underperforming APIs and rethinking others.

Gaining freedom to innovate

The company's "API as product" mindset translates to increased freedom for the One IT team to focus on innovation. Concepts like minimally viable product are creating the freedom to take a bit more risk inside the company through experimentation and smart risks.

"What the Apigee platform has allowed us to do is innovate locally with much lower risk. We're creating and exposing different APIs so that our developers can start using and creating things in new ways. We're building an ecosystem so that our business partners can consume our APIs and see that they can use them to build connections with companies not previously imagined," Rick says.

As Nationwide's journey continues, the company views Apigee as an innovation partner, helping to derive new value from back-end system investments in the context of its digital transformation.

About Nationwide Insurance

Nationwide is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the United States. Nationwide offers a full range of services, including car, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, pet, farm, life, and commercial insurance, as well as annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans, and specialty health services.

Industries: Financial Services
Location: United States