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APIs and the IBM i

Brooke Jaekle
June 15, 2022 | 8:40 AM

An API, or Application Programming Interface, can offer tremendous opportunities for productivity and growth. APIs are used in almost all facets of business and can help a company find new channels for revenue, increase productivity, and simply business processes resulting in significant reduction in manual labor and operational costs.

While you may assume that data stored in your IBM i may not be able to integrate with the newer offerings of API, it is in fact the opposite! With the help of companies like Eradani, IBM i users are able to enable their existing applications to the leading edge quickly by connecting their RPG and COBOL code to the exploding number of publicly available APIs. 

By connecting APIs to your midrange system, you will “unlock” your data and allow it to interact and react to actions happening in real time on the front-end of your business. 

Finding the right APIs for you 

Perhaps the most challenging part of the API process, is deciding where to start. Since APIs can touch and enhance nearly every aspect of your business, you’ll likely have a need to prioritize. We recommend prioritizing based on two factors: business enhancement and Go To Market timeline. Finding a solution that can quickly be implemented and that will also have a strong positive impact on business processes allows you to exponentially increase functions in a desirable timeframe.

As APIs have become ubiquitous, the market options can become overwhelming. Luckily, once you know what API function you’re looking to integrate, a quick Google search can help determine if there is an API available to access the capability you need.  

Example of APIs in Different Industries

A key API offering in the retail space is connecting back-end inventory and logistics modules real-time shipping information from UPS, USPS, Project44, Shipengine, and more. By taking advantage of APIs, retail companies can choose shipping options based on timeframe and cost needs allowing consumers to make their own cost-benefit analysis.

In the insurance industry, relevant profile information can be gathered and pulled in to the IBM i system and used for quote calculation purposes.

For mortgage professionals, rates can be calculated by quickly pulling data from background checks, credit scores, and other financial documents, all in real time expediting the loan process.

Security Matters

One hesitation IBM i professionals have is that APIs connects your data to the outside world and every opening increases your security vulnerability risks. As with all changes, be sure that you are taking the appropriate security measures to keep your system safe and mitigate risk.

The Bottom Line

APIs have been a major player in the technology sphere for some time. As the IBM i community continues to modernize and integrate with more and more “newer” technology, APIs are becoming a major player in the IBM i world as well. With all the possibilities APIs offer, in today’s business environment it will become increasingly difficult to compete without participating in the API economy.

Learn More About Modernization for IBM i

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