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What is Middleware?

What is Middleware and do I need it for my business?

The likelihood that your business uses more than one enterprise technology system to operate is very high. In fact, a 2023 report from Zylo concludes that the average amount of apps a business uses to run their company is a staggering 291. There are so many specialized platforms designed for managing finances, managing people, and managing customers; three things that are essential to every business.

With so many apps holding valuable information, integration and connectivity between them must be a central component to your overall strategy. In this post, we’ll cover some common questions about how to use middleware solutions to supercharge your data strategy.

What is middleware?

Middleware tools assist in data transformation, validation, transmission, and accuracy between systems. A middleware platform can be thought of as a vehicle that transports important information from one spot to another. If your data is free-flowing water between islands, a middleware platform is a vehicle that gathers it, transforms it, and delivers it from island to island.

Why do I need a middleware platform?

Critical data lives in each of your separate systems, and it is often necessary to share information between them. Seamlessly integrated data across your business systems is essential to achieving Tech Harmony. A thoughtful, data-driven design ensures that information can flow freely from one system to another, giving you the confidence you need to make important decisions.

For example, imagine you operate a business where employees log billable hours towards client projects. The individual contributors enter their time into a project or client management system. Then, at the end of the month, the finance team needs to get that information to know how much to invoice each client. This is a basic example of data being shared across two enterprise platforms.

Is middleware software worth the cost?

The cost of middleware software varies based on which platform you choose, their pricing model, and your use. At Apps, our customers often ask if the cost of the middleware software is worth it. While the initial investment can be high, we wholeheartedly believe that yes, the cost is worth it.

The more integration points you have, the more systems you want to integrate, the middleware software is doing a lot of heavy lifting for you. If you implement several integration points between multiple applications, we expect you’ll see the ROI from this implementation within a matter of months.

With rapid advancements in technology, many providers are offering competitive deals on introductory packages, allowing you to purchase the software at a lower price point or opt to pay by consumption. Many also offer trial licenses, so you can start with one of your integrations and see the effects before enabling the full license.

How does my IT team fit in?

Many customers also wonder how their internal teams ‘fit in’ with implementing a middleware software solution. They often wonder if there are new skills or training that their team will need, how long it will take to pick up, etc.

Some tools are easier to pick up than others, but the basic integration patterns and principles are transferable, and an experienced IT employee should be able to learn this technology. The big players in middleware software are well-documented and offer many resources for education. If you work with a technology partner like Apps Associates, we focus on change management and training to ensure your team is set up for success.

Who provides middleware platforms?

There are many integration and middleware tools available depending on your business size and tech requirements. At Apps Associates, we partner with Oracle, MuleSoft, and Boomi to provide seamless integrations for our customers.

While each platform is incredibly powerful and efficient, there may be some benefits to choosing one over the other depending on your unique team makeup. For example, for a highly trained, technical IT team, MuleSoft is a great and powerful option. If you run your business entirely using Oracle products, as many companies do, you may opt for Oracle middleware. And if you’re looking for a simpler, drag-and-drop solution, we recommend you check out Boomi for its easy-to-use features.

Don’t go it alone

If you know your company needs to implement a middleware solution but aren’t sure where to start, Apps Associates can help with that. Apps Associates is a premier enterprise application and technology advisor, counseling and executing across every stage of the enterprise transformation journey—not just the destination.

We’d be happy to consult with you about your needs and help select and implement the right software for your business needs. Contact us to get started.