Change is a constant in every business and the creation of intelligent business processes is now a necessity to stay ahead of the competition rather than a dream of the future. As business process matures with time, existing business rules driven by customer demands, government regulations, competitors or technology innovations in the marketplace need to be updated or changed. To keep up with those changes, a flexible and agile solutions needs to be incorporated in a cloud infrastructure so business processes learn from data and change or update by themselves. To do that, you would have to incorporate smart Middlewares.
In the early 90’s, costs and operational efficiency was one of the drivers to compete so process integration with ERP systems boom everywhere. In the first decade of 2000, the Internet took it even further allowing businesses to integrate among them. During this decade, integration happens between thousands of systems running in the cloud and millions of devices across the world. But as oppose to previous decades, the goal now is to have business processes take action on the vast amount of data generated by the new cloud landscape and to respond rapidly to changes in the market and customers new requirements, to be able to compete. The goal now is to build intelligent business processes (iBPs).
The technology that integrates systems, devices and people is known as Middleware. This technology is a key element to incorporate flexibility and agility without disrupting a business model. Besides enabling business process orchestration and manage business rules, a smart Middleware can support analytical technology (Big data, social, IoT & mobile) to obtain a competitive advantage in its market and be able to build iBPs.
Therefore a smart Middleware must cover the following four fundamental concepts to be able to create iBPs:
Adaptability: As companies move to a cloud ecosystem, changes on the rules to operate its business are going to be needed, they’ll be able to leverage from new business partners y security protocols would need to be adjusted. Therefore a smart Middleware must be capable to adapt to change without disrupting ongoing operations.
Analytics in a secure way: The challenge for a smart middleware, besides doing its standard function of connecting systems and transform data, would be to also incorporate as part of its arsenal, analytical functionality and to take action using a huge amount of data in a secure way in an out of the domains of an Enterprise.
Easy to Adopt: “Think big, start small”, is a wise adage that also applies to a Middleware architecture adoption. An enterprise business process maturity level is going to determine the implementation scope of an iBP. So without minimizing the importance of a global vision on how to leverage this kind of technology, it would be wise to start adopting middleware functionality in phases, perhaps starting with data transformation projects, then using workflows and continuing with more advanced features such a predictive algorithms. Choose a middleware that can adapt and grow with your functionality needs.
Flexible Scalability: For sure only one device won’t be able to handle everything. The amount of transactions and data volume would be immense as more advanced requirements are needed. The Middleware must be flexible to scale up or down as demand is needed to be able to use multiple services and achieve a distributed integration efficiently.
In a cloud economy, a distributed integration is essential to add value to business process. The Middleware architecture currently integrates many systems, in a very close future is going to be use to transform business process into iBPs. Those companies that properly incorporate smarts Middlewares into their business processes, would gain flexibility, agility and a new way to compete using iBPs.