Copying and pasting is one of the most monotonous tasks and, for some years now, also one of the most superfluous tasks that is part of everyday life in many companies. Just a simple example: a contact form is filled out on your website, you are notified by email and the first thing you do is copy the contact data into your CRM or a database.
Why Are The Contact Details Not Transferred Directly to The Application?
This small step is particularly effective when numerous contact forms are filled out every day. The automatic transfer of data saves a lot of time and grows with your processes.
But of course, this also requires connections. One software must be connected to the other so that data and information can be exchanged independently. This is exactly what so-called middleware is needed for.
The explanation lies in the name: Middleware is software that acts between two other applications. In other words, middle software. These two applications can be very different, whether operating system, ERP software, CRM, website, database, mail program or industry software:
The middleware sits in between. Yet it only rarely appears. It acts in the background and is an invisible translator that constantly translates data from A to B around the clock.
The question might now be why not simply connect the applications used directly with each other. The answer is: because it is sometimes not that easy. Because not every application used is compatible with the others. Middleware then acts as a translator to mediate between the applications or two languages.
Middleware can handle data management, transfer, messaging, authentication or API management. Conversely, this means that data or even databases can be shared between two applications. The middleware translates these into the respective language of the application.
It is therefore no wonder that there are now numerous middleware providers who develop middleware either completely individually or partially standardized. Middleware has established itself particularly in e-commerce, where huge amounts of data sometimes have to be transferred.
But there is one thing to bear in mind: If a middleware is custom-developed and thus optimally connects two applications, this can not only be expensive, but also inflexible and rigid.
A later change of one of the two softwares then becomes doubly expensive: because the middleware also has to be adapted at great expense or even becomes obsolete.
Therefore, middleware should always be flexibly adaptable, not only to the amount of data, but also to changing requirements. Ideally, when software is replaced or changed, this should not lead to the middleware having to be adapted at great expense.
This is exactly where the term Middleware as a Service comes into play.
Middleware as a Service (MWaaS for short) means nothing other than that the programming of a middleware is carried out in the cloud instead of on-premise. MWaaS is increasingly replacing older middleware platforms that are located on mainframes, servers or both. MWaaS is often offered as part of a cloud-based suite.
The goal of Middleware as a Service is to flexibly provide prefabricated packages of different automation services. In this way, complex, composite connections can be quickly deployed.
MWaaS makes use of various technologies: cloud services, API integrations, API management, Internet of Things (IoT) applications or the integration of data sources. In this way, digital business processes, customer journeys and employee journeys are automated and supported in the best possible way.
So: Middleware as a Service is a mixture and a package of various cloud automation services and services that are quickly and flexibly ready for use for a wide range of scenarios, companies and processes.
The advantages of Middleware as a Service are:
To illustrate the above advantages, a project that we were able to realize recently is suitable. The task was to replace an existing middleware. The old middleware was based on an Automation Anywhere RPA. The purpose of this was to automatically create contracts for the HR department based on modules from an email.
For this, the email program was connected to Word. As soon as an email was received in a specific mailbox, the RPA grabbed building blocks from an email, searched a database for the appropriate contract building blocks and then created a Word file. A relatively simple process. But why use RPA middleware when middleware as a service is faster, cheaper and more flexible?
This allowed us to map the existing process via MWaaS: The HR tool Workday was integrated into the process. As soon as a new team member is recruited and hired, this information is stored in Workday. Subsequently, the contract details are defined via an Excel list, on the basis of which the text modules for the contract are generated.
The advantage of Excel in this process is that everyone in the team can use the table and no developers are needed to make adjustments. The contract is then automatically sent to the new team member for digital signature.
The savings per month amount to €50,000. More importantly, if the HR tool, the email program or Excel need to be replaced, the reconfiguration takes only a few hours. This is because Middleware as a Service works via interfaces and is therefore particularly flexible to adapt.
Middleware as a service, i.e. cloud middleware, is ideally suited for long-term yet flexible integration and automation. As an intermediary between different applications, it enables software to speak to each other.
Cloud middleware benefits from the growing cloud market: turnover in cloud computing has been increasing for years. This also means that more and more applications have interfaces that can be linked to each other. Middleware as a service will therefore probably replace on premise solutions in the future. fewer and fewer companies have their own in-house server.
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