Middleware Takes off into the Cloud

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

How Redundant Applications Drive up the Cost of IT

IT costs are ballooning due to redundant application portfolios.

Slowly but surely a line is being drawn between IT infrastructures and the business processes that depend on them. In effect, this line is an attempt to provide some demarcation between what should be the IT church and the business state.


The reason that it is in everyone's best interest to create this new line of demarcation is because back in the 90s, when packaged applications were all the rage, business processes became embedded in our enterprise applications. That sounded like a good idea at the time, but like most good ideas, it was taken to an extreme, resulting in another instance of too much of a good thing gone bad.


The problem that everyone is now trying to wrestle with is the inflexibility of our IT systems. Business leaders want to be able to rapidly alter business models. But when the business process is embedded inside an application, it becomes tough to change. The end result is that it can take 12 to 18 months to alter a business process, which generally leaves business executives tearing their hair out.

 

Naturally, IT people want to provide value to the business. But it's also become apparent to them that launching new applications every time there is a new business process that needs to be supported is not sustainable. Even in this age of virtualization and cloud computing, most business executives want IT infrastructure that is dedicated to their environment. But most times, the new application is only being launched because of frustrations with the existing application environment.

 


To avoid this IT conundrum, many IT organizations are embracing business process management (BPM) that allows the business to manipulate processes at a higher level of abstraction. For example, Jitterbit, a provider of middleware software for integration on premise and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, today released version 4.0 of its namesake software that makes it easier for business analysts and administrators to integrate applications running on a cloud computing service. The basic idea, says Jitterbit CTO Ilan Sehayek, is to get IT out of the way when it comes time to integrate disparate sets of data that make up a much larger business process. Jitterbit does this by exposing all the integration semantics as a series of graphical modules that all a business analyst has to do is link in order to create a new business process.

 

Just about every enterprise software vendor out there today is talking about a similar concept to one degree or another. The fundamental issue driving all these BPM conversations is the need for greater business flexibility and a more efficient approach to managing the overall IT environment. Of course, the fact that this also serves to get business people out of the IT kitchen isn't a bad thing either.



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