What API’s mean to CU*Answers, our clients, and our partners:
API development for CU*Answers is an important step in revolutionizing our ability to be flexible in providing data in a secure but streamlined manner, not only within the products we develop, but as a channel to allow others to develop products that connect with and integrate into the CU*Answer product suite. Once an API is developed, it can be used by other third party applications, GOLD, It’s Me 247, Mobile Web, loan applications, or anything that we allow data access from now and in the future.
In the past, CU*Answers did not create APIs when developing new products, but as our network grows and with it the desire to connect to other third-party providers, we saw (and were reminded of) the need.
The CU*Answers API process requires several security keys and the instructions to connect, thus enabling faster integration to external applications compared with creating custom code for each partnership. This API foundation will provide one central location to get specific information from CU*BASE, instead of having everything spread throughout each individual application area we have.
While development of API is a key strategy, in many cases we are combining this effort with the development of new products. This allows us to not only build the inventory of needed APIs, but allows us to simultaneously leverage them by delivering new product to our clients.
Combining APIs and Web Services with Stored Procedures
As previously described, currently each CU*Answers application uses a disparate code set to get data from CU*BASE through socket transactions. These transactions are somewhat dated and not to emerging industry standards, difficult to work with, and causes a lot of maintenance when changed over time. The APIs we develop will communicate over Web Services to Stored Procedures and views on the IBM i DB2 database. This process is not only faster and easier to work with, it will not require us to change all of our products at once or make radical changes to our existing business logic. Changing access to CU*BASE by using APIs, Web Services, and Stored Procedures is far more efficient, less maintenance and is highly supported throughout the technology world.