The Insurance Accounting & Systems Association (IASA) held it’s annual conference last month in Grapevine Texas. This is one of my favorite events because it brings a great mix of IT professionals and business leaders. The breakout sessions do good job of making sure that the presentations really represents the views of the carriers or research by industry analysts. With a few exceptions the vendors and consultants who particpated in these sessions did a good job of providing useful info as well.
At a very high level it seems to me that what these providers are doing is appealing to the developer more than to the business per se, to drive volume. It reminds of how the Microsoft tool stack became so popular : own the platform and make some tools that encourage mass amounts of developers to become tied to it, then add in office productivity tools that tie in as well (Access DB/Visual Basic/Outlook/Excel/Word integration).