PHP on IBM i – Adding new value to old applications fast

The IBM Systems Magazine PowerUp blog is talking about PHP on IBM i, a thread started by Laura Ubelhor with her post “There’s No Doubt PHP is an Awesome Fit on IBM i“.

For the average IBM i shop, PHP is a great way to extend existing applications to the web. Laura’s post highlights success in dramatically improving efficiency of AP – using a web application to deliver the details of the remittance advice when no paper check is used. Self-service applications delivered through the web offer significant savings in reduced paperwork, eliminated mail charges, and fewer inbound phone calls. PHP allows IBM i developers to quickly deliver self-service applications to new groups of users – such as vendors, customers, and suppliers.

One HarrisData manufacturing customer used vendor self-service applications over the web to share raw material requirements plans (from MRP) directly with suppliers. The results? Suppliers were able to better manage their own manufacturing capacity, improving efficiency and reducing costs at the supplier. Further, because the suppliers could see the forecast and any changes, they were able to substantially improve on-time delivery, giving manufacturing management the confidence to optimize processes and lower costs.

Success stories like these are really based on delivering web-based applications that provide external users significant value, and only require the external users to have a web browser available. Well-designed self-service applications are available anywhere, anytime, with no training. IBM i shops can quickly and successfully extend applications to the web using PHP. The skills are easy to learn, and focused applications can be developed and deployed quickly – with the entire application stack (including the web server) on your IBM i.

At HarrisData, we made the choice years ago to move our user interface to a web paradigm, to take advantage of the how quickly and easily users took to browser-based solutions. We’ve developed comprehensive ERP, CRM, and HRIS applications using PHP to drive browser-based interfaces to our traditional RPG applications, allowing us to deliver high-impact solutions without having to completely re-write the RPG business logic that has been tested and working for our customers for decades.

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