Equinix\nWe are clearly in the age of \u201cI want what I want when I want it the way that I want it.\u201d \u00a0Our new highly demanding (and a perhaps a bit coddled) consumer culture presents great opportunity and great challenge to businesses who must rethink their approach to consumer and employee engagement.\nAccording to Brian Lillie, CIO of global data center provider Equinix, APIs are the mechanism by which CIOs can rise to the occasion of our new \u201calways-on,\u201d extremely mobile culture.\nAn API, as I\u2019m sure you know, is an application programming interface that lets you programmatically, without manual intervention, extract data from a source or target system with great efficiency. \u201cAPIs are a set of software resources that enable developers to create applications very easily,\u201d says Lillie. \u201cThey are the primary way to unlock data from systems of record without requiring a form or screen to type in commands.\u201d\nLet\u2019s say, you are housing a massive data lake.\u00a0 By using APIs, you can call on that data to serve enterprise or mobile applications. \u201cCIOs should care a lot about APIs, because they are a way to unlock data and make it available to enterprise applications, customers and partners,\u201d says Lillie.\u00a0 \u201cAPIs can liberate your data.\u201d\nUsing APIs to unlock trapped data and value\nMost CIOs have some older applications that serve their purpose, but because those applications have an undetermined shelf life, they are not worth investing in until they have run their course. \u201cWriting reports on these old systems takes a lot of work and a lot of people,\u201d says Lillie. \u201cBut if you put a handful of APIs in front of that old system of record, you can expose the trapped data to developers who can easily extract it.\u00a0 APIs eliminate the need to write custom reports in archaic languages, like COBOL. It\u2019s a powerful way to give self-service to your organization.\u201d\nEquinix is putting APIs in front of an on-premise capacity management system to extract the data that sales people need in their mobile applications, for example. \u201cOur sales people needed access to trapped capacity data to make accurate offers to customers globally, and APIs allowed fast access to the right data at the right time on their mobile device,\u201d says Lillie. \u201cThe APIs add value both to internal employees and the customers they serve.\u201d\nAPIs and the Internet of Things\n\u201cWith the Internet of Things, we are going to see a tremendous number of devices and consumer products producing and communicating a huge amount of data,\u201d says Lillie.\u00a0 \u201cOver time, every one of these devices will have the ability to communicate via an API in an integrated, consolidated and standardized way.\u201d To Lillie, this is the most exciting aspect of APIs.\u00a0\n\u201cWhen APIs meet the Internet of Things, the result is going to be game-changing for most companies,\u201d he says.\u00a0 \u201cIoT use cases are surfacing every day, from GE\u2019s need to manage petabytes of data produced by a single jet engine to Equinix\u2019s challenge of exposing power and network records for simple consumption by its customers.\u201d \u00a0All of this is done through big data platforms \u2013 online clusters at the edge, analytical clusters in the core and of course, APIs. \u201cBig data, mobility and APIs; they go hand in hand in hand,\u201d says Lillie.\nUsing APIs to work better with service providers\n\u201cAt Equinix, we offer global network neutral colocation services,\u201d says Lillie. \u201cOur data centers are connected to over 1,000 network service providers and more than 450 cloud service providers. As the cloud has evolved, customers want to connect directly and programmatically to cloud service providers and build highly optimized hybrid clouds. With APIs, our customers can query our systems and ask what services,\u00a0 like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, are available and where and then place connectivity orders.\u201d\nGiven that APIs are bringing dramatic change to the way companies turn systems of record into systems of engagement, capitalize on the Internet of Things, and work more closely with service providers, CIOs had better get started.\nGet educated: \u00a0\u00a0\u201cIf you are still wondering about the benefit of APIs, get educated,\u201d suggests Lillie.\u00a0 \u201cTalk to your peers and to the leading API vendors.\u00a0 But either way, you have to get personally involved, since APIs are your key to innovation.\u201d\nStart small:\u00a0 \u201cTake a few of your more risk-taking software engineers and give them a challenge,\u201d suggests Lillie.\u00a0 \u201cTell them to look for opportunities to deploy APIs to unlock trapped data in your systems of record.\u00a0 They should spend a few weeks on that and report back.\u201d\nGet started:\u00a0 \u201cOnce you\u2019ve energized your ninja software team to find use cases, start a pilot project that is low risk,\u201d suggests Lillie.\u00a0 \u201cOnce you see the power of how APIs can turn a system of record into a system of engagement, you will be sold.\u201d\nAbout Brian Lillie\nBrian Lillie joined Equinix as Chief Information Officer in September 2008. In this role, he focuses on product development and information technology initiatives as well as improvements to internal efficiencies and global scale systems. Prior to joining Equinix, Brian held several senior-level executive roles at VeriSign, including Vice President of Global Information Systems and Vice President of Global Sales Operations. Additionally, he was Senior Director of Enterprise Applications at Silicon Graphics (SGI), and held several leadership roles in the U.S. Air Force. Brian received an M.S. in Management from Stanford University, an M.S. in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University, and a B.S. in Mathematics from Montana State University. He was named the 2014 Silicon Valley CIO of the Year by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.\nAbout Equinix\nEquinix, Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX) connects the world\u2019s leading businesses to their customers, employees and partners inside the most interconnected data centers. In 33 markets across five continents, Equinix is where companies come together to realize new opportunities and accelerate their business, IT and cloud strategies. In a digital economy where enterprise business models are increasingly interdependent, interconnection is essential to success. Equinix operates the only global interconnection platform, sparking new opportunities that are only possible when companies come together. Equinix was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Redwood City, CA.