Unlock the Value of Your Enterprise Applications with APIs
Today’s marketplace demands IT systems that are integrated and work seamlessly together to maximize productivity. Customers and employees need user-centric workflows and experiences, but often IBM® i or IBM® Z platforms are trapped in silos. These mission-critical applications align with how IT is built, not how users — internal or external — engage with businesses causing frustration for end-users.
Modern business workflows, complex integration needs and mobile workforces require real-time information from multiple sources and anywhere, anytime access to functions via web or mobile to do their jobs effectively. Instead of expensive application replacement, it’s possible to unlock the value built into existing enterprise applications with application programming interfaces (APIs) that expose these core functions via web services.
By using APIs to unleash the valuable data and business logic within your IBM Z or IBM i systems, enterprises can fuel the development of new services or applications and streamline workflows. This way, they can tap into the data and knowledge accumulated in applications over the years, and use it to drive productivity, spur innovation and improve the customer experience.
Here are a few of the capabilities APIs can enable.
- Mobile and Web Access
Employees can no longer be tied to a computer; salespeople, service representatives, claims adjusters and many other functions need anytime, anywhere access on their mobile devices to do their jobs well. However, workflow requirements for small screens often require major application modifications to ensure the best user experience. One way to improve access and the experience for users is with web-based applications. Companies can leverage UI/UX products like Rocket Modern Experience to create user-friendly web-based versions of their host-based systems.
In addition to creating the user interface (UI), often businesses want to integrate the mobile UI with the back-end system. APIs provide the integration layer between the mobile UI and the core application—even when the mobile workflow is significantly different from the desktop workflow—to quickly generate services around the necessary functions and build new mobile user interfaces using whatever technology works best. Using API tools, teams can create a services layer between the UI and core application that synchronizes changes between core applications and the web or mobile user interface. The loose coupling of web services with the web UI means that many times developers can change the application or the interface without impacting functionality on the other side.
- Application Integration
Many core applications have modules that were built at different times, for different purposes, but must now work together to support the current needs of the business. For example, when calling on a customer, a salesperson might need to check the inventory system to see if an item is available, check an accounts receivable application to see if the customer has available credit and finally enter the order information to see what discounts might apply for this customer— all to create a single price quote. Depending on where the information resides, this may require the salesperson to switch between systems, enter the same information multiple times and perform multiple searches to get the necessary data, resulting in longer customer wait times.
API tools can tie these services together into a new, more streamlined workflow. The salesperson enters the inventory query and the customer information only once, through a single UI. The system then uses the underlying services to access the necessary application functions and aggregates the required data to generate the price quote and take the order, making the process faster and easier for both the customer and the salesperson. This is just one example of how APIs can benefit both employees and customers by integrating disparate systems.
- Web Services Management
Once a business has built a library of applications, they need to manage them and ensure that they’re providing value; if they aren’t, they can eliminate them to lower maintenance burden. To effectively curate this library, enterprises need to answer questions such as: Which web services are being used, and which are not? How often are they being accessed and by whom? And how are they performing?
It’s also useful to have a library of services with descriptive information so developers can find the services they need, rather than create new ones because they have no idea what’s already out there. Finally, developers need a way to update those services and test them as requirements change. Monitoring and management capabilities found in API tools provide answers to these questions. Management can stay up to date on which services provide the most value and which can be discontinued. Using a DevOps tool in conjunction with an API tool provides a platform for developers to find, track, maintain and manage APIs.
- Advanced Analytics
Leading organizations recognize that they need rapid access to real-time data and analytics to support decision-making. Executives must know how the business is operating right now, not earlier today or last week. The old extract, transform, and load (ETL) model does not suffice in today’s real-time world, because data might be hours or even days old before it’s available for analysis. New API tools can create services around production database queries, providing real-time access to business information that can feed dashboard engines or advanced machine learning systems like IBM Watson.
For example, retailers can leverage these tools to provide customers with answers to questions about a products, services and facilities. APIs can also be used to grab data from outside sources such as weather services, currency and stock market databases, and government agencies, and then feed that information into an analytics engine. This allows business to correlate data with patterns in the financial markets, the weather, or virtually any other factor that may affect an organization’s success
Rocket Intelligent Legacy Automation
By leveraging APIs, organizations can connect their mission-critical applications to the rest of their tech stack and align to how customers and employees actually engage with the business. Since Rocket Process Integration enables companies to do all of this without changing a line of the core application code, it significantly reduces costs and risks compared to alternatives such as replacing foundational IT infrastructure like mainframes.
Unlike other API solutions, Rocket’s allows developers to modernize their applications without the time, expense or risk associated with other options. Whether you want to create the latest in mobile or web interfaces, provide integrations between host-based applications, update business workflows, get access to data for analytics, or automate the testing of your applications, Rocket can help. Visit our site to learn more, then talk to one of our modernization experts to get started.