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Digital Transformation

Is It Time to Retire Your Legacy Integration Middleware?

By December 12, 2023No Comments

Your organization might be using a legacy middleware tool for integration that’s capably served your needs for years. But now you have new integration projects in the pipeline, and cloud-based integration has emerged as a viable alternative. What to do?

It’s a question I hear often in my role as managing partner at TechStone Technology Partners. Founded in 2004, we’re an IT consulting shop based in Houston, Texas, that has decades of experience with legacy and modern cloud integration technologies for both mid-sized and large enterprise companies.

A Fundamental Technology Shift for Integration

My answer for what to do is simple — you should absolutely evaluate cloud-based integration platform as a service (iPaaS) technology. Thousands of companies have done their due diligence and made the move to cloud integration from on-premises legacy enterprise service bus (ESB) systems and extract, transform and load (ETL) tools.

Our experience at TechStone reflects the overall market shift from legacy on-premises to cloud integration. In the past two years, we’ve done just one implementation of legacy on-premise integration middleware for a new customer. In contrast, we’ve done about 20 Boomi implementations during that same time.

And TechStone’s Boomi integrations aren’t necessarily simple cloud-to-cloud projects. At one enterprise client, a global multibillion-dollar industrial company, we’re implementing Boomi for literally thousands of integrations across more than 100 on-premises and cloud applications. At that company, Boomi is replacing Software AG webMethods and Microsoft BizTalk Server.

Want to learn more about how legacy integration is putting your organization at a competitive disadvantage? Read our Boomi ebook, “7 Warning Signs You Need to Replace Your ESB.”

Anecdotally, I’ve spoken with sales reps who’ve joined Boomi from legacy integration providers. The reasons behind their job changes are simple ­— they weren’t getting any net new business for on-premises integration middleware. Once at Boomi, they’ve got fresh prospects in their pipeline.

Why the Move to Cloud Integration?

So what’s behind the move from legacy to cloud integration? I can offer a few observations, based on integration experience that dates to the 1990s. Back then I did implementations of an integration tool called SeeBeyond. I went on to work with technology from many of the top ESB and ETL providers.

Legacy integration middleware requires support from a small army of developers, architects and administrators. Those individuals are getting harder to find, so costs rise as supply dwindles.

In contrast, integration projects with Boomi typically only need one or a couple of employees to implement, and these integration developers do not need specialized skills. They just need to understand their business needs and workflows. As a natural byproduct, the Boomi developer talent pool is growing rapidly.

Compared to Boomi, legacy middleware also imposes high overhead in hardware, backups, security and other cost-of-ownership issues. Implementation can drag for months or even years, all supported by a top-heavy cross-functional team. Those punishing costs and time drags make no sense when organizations can implement iPaaS far faster and without high capital investments and ongoing expenses.

Licensing is another complication. Legacy middleware providers tend to be inflexible and don’t always negotiate well with customers. That’s hardly a selling point in our age of on-demand access to technology — especially if a vendor has “cloud-washed” its technology, meaning it offers its on-premise solution in a hosted model.

Cloud Integration Brings Business Agility and Speed

Business agility is arguably the most important objective for organizations today. Agility means speed and flexibility, whether it’s deploying new cloud applications, executing a merger or acquisition, introducing new mobile apps, or rolling out a new product or service. Integration is central to those and many other initiatives.

That’s really what’s driving demand for data integration platforms. Companies are unwilling to tolerate the time and cost of traditional middleware products, which require large integration teams to document requirements, map integrations, code connections, and migrate data over the course of months and months. In fact, today’s companies cannot survive that kind of glacial project speed — not if they hope to maintain a competitive edge amid digital disruption in fast-moving markets.

Interestingly, we’re seeing iPaaS helping much more than just IT. It’s bringing significant benefits to operational business performance. Companies are able to drive revenue, reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction through the ability to access, integrate and orchestrate data across a connected business.

Meanwhile, iPaaS adopters eliminate the many pain points of legacy middleware, which Boomi has documented in its ebook, “7 Warning Signs You Need to Replace Your ESB.”

Make no mistake. Legacy integration middleware was built very well. The code and the core of what the technology does are sound. It’s been bedrock technology that has helped companies integrate and access data for many years, but the sun is setting on legacy middleware.

The issue is that companies no longer need on-premises integration — not when iPaaS does everything and much more that legacy technology does. And it does so at far greater speed and much lower cost, providing organizations the agility essential helping today’s modern connected businesses survive and thrive.