Slade Says: Control vs. Flexibility — I Can’t Get Both?

Your run-of-the-mill enterprise IT environment is, frankly, a rat’s nest. A quagmire. A hot mess.

It’s a fierce tangle of applications, services and makeshift mobile device hooks badly grafted onto systems never designed to hold them. These are typically older systems and databases with tentacles running so deep in the organization that they can never be yanked out. I?ve seen people try.

The enterprise rat’s nest is expensive to maintain, failure-prone and ? worst of all ? openly hostile to essential new technologies, like mobile devices today, and whatever?s next tomorrow. It defeats innovation, thwarts progress, and hinders a company’s ability to win advantage by embracing new technology faster and better than its competitors.

Profitable mobilization means enabling apps to push past built-in system roadblocks so that mobile users can tap into whatever resources they need, and doing that requires fixing the hot mess. Somehow.

Trendy cloud and hybrid cloud alternatives notwithstanding, few companies can completely replace their legacy systems to get an architecture that dovetails better with next-wave technologies. Besides the prohibitive cost of doing so, there?s no point ? the moving target of business IT will shift yet again before your shiny new infrastructure even reaches the testing phase.

If you want to assess the cost of that slip up, just Google ?ERP implementation failures.?

Forget the teardown ? try a remodel

What?s needed is a middle layer that seamlessly handles the data exchange between legacy systems and whatever the business needs to put on top of them, so you can leave bought & paid for tech investments running while gaining every advantage of whatever innovation comes down the pike.

Done right, this middleware layer forms an application management platform, cloaking the complexity and interactivity insufficiencies of legacy systems with a friendlier, far more flexible environment that plays nice with any kind of functionality your business needs to lay on top of it, now or in the future.

It provides a consistent, highly scalable, easily managed way to connect multiple back-end IT systems with front-end mobile applications, enabling them to store, share and access data, documents and media files in real-time, even when those objects are buried in the legacy back end.

Middleware can serve as a Mobile Back-end as a Service (MBASS) solution that acts like a Portal Server and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) for mobile devices. This enables apps to easily tap into ERP systems, CRM systems, legacy databases, applications and even websites, and provides the progressive structure needed for future innovation, mobile and otherwise.

Yin, meet yang

And then there?s the rub. As soon as someone starts talking flexibility and enhanced data access, some smarty-pants starts squirming about data security and control.

It?s a reasonable fear. Except it?s not. A middleware solution designed to connect disparate data systems can actually improve security, and also confer tighter and better management of IT and business operations. The right middleware solution is not only a gateway, but also a gatekeeper.

That?s why I created NitroServer?,a middleware solution featuring a Switchboard facility that empowers IT staff to create custom visual paths of business logic, chaining together business logic actions. You can use Switchboard to define and enforce business workflows within IT operations, gaining better control and visibility for both business and IT processes and ? finally! ? aligning your IT operations with your business goals.

In effect, NitroServer gives mobile apps and other technologies enhanced access to your legacy systems and data while enabling you to easily control how and when and why, and in what order, that access happens.

Add to those workflow controls NitroServer?s configurable user permissions, secure sandboxes, and certification by Security Compliance Associates (SCA), and, well? you?re having that cake and eating it.

NitroServer?s Switchboard does more, of course, like delivering drag & drop tools to make life easy for your API developers? but that?s another Slade Says.

I believe an ideal middleware fix needs a few other things, such as high scalability, to ensure that your middleware-enabled ecosystem can grow with your company. While your organization grows, it will become increasingly necessary for high-performance management tools that simplify access to information and insight needed to make better investment and operational decisions. For this reason, file and document repositories to help secure and organize records, and simplify data management are a must.

Ready to make the most of what you already have?

With the right middleware, deployed smartly, legacy system investments can be not only preserved, but enhanced. The functionality they still deliver, and the data they still house, can be made available to mobile users, dynamic websites, new applications and fresh APIs with a strategically selected and implemented middleware solution.

And while your business is reaping the benefits of sleek new technology sailing across an old sea, your competitors may still be trying to rebuild their architectures from the ground up, and very likely setting themselves up for a failure they won?t see coming until it?s too late. I?ve seen it happen. But it?s entirely avoidable.

About the Author:
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Pete Slade is a technology entrepreneur with over 23 years of experience in software development. As founder and CEO of Nitro Mobile Solutions, he has led his organization to become the third fastest-growing private company in the Tampa Metro Area, with a three-year revenue?increase of 1,797 percent. Under his leadership, Nitro Mobile Solutions has received numerous accolades for its products, services and business practices. Already in 2015, Nitro has been named one of the top 100 small businesses in America and received the Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, presented with a Bright House Regional Business Award, and made the elite Inc. 500 list for its exceptional growth. Additionally in 2015, Nitro has been named Top Software Developer and Best Place to Work by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.