APIs Spur Innovation
Every month or two, I’m contacted by an entrepreneur who has a fledgling technology and wants to discuss the possibility of working with Medidata. I love these calls for several reasons. I’m interested in learning about these intrepid folks’ vision for improving clinical research. It’s fun to explore how an integration of their software with one or more of Medidata’s applications could add value, revolutionize or even eliminate some business processes. And I’m particularly pleased that, when an integration makes sense, I have a clear next step to offer them, rather than some vague, “Keep in touch and let me know how it’s going” or “Let’s get in touch if we have a common client.”
What I have to offer them are web services APIs. These easily accessible, standards-based sockets accept appropriately-configured plugs from any other application using the same standards. Rave and iMedidata use APIs to communicate with other applications, both internal and external. A guy with a good idea, an application and the ability to configure a “plug” into his app can integrate with Rave or iMedidata and hopefully create value for researchers. Someone who knows what he’s doing can make this all happen within a couple of days, including testing with a test instance of the Medidata application and documenting what he did.
APIs do more than integrate existing apps. They spur innovation. The ability to integrate with market-leading technologies provides opportunities for start-ups that might otherwise elude them in the entrepreneur’s struggle to survive. I actively encourage callers with good ideas and good apps to apply to Developer Central, configure their application to integrate with Rave or iMedidata and encourage users to take advantage of integrated systems. And I look forward to the next call from someone with a cool idea and the passion to make their vision into reality.
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