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All posts tagged digital transformation

Digitally transform your backend business systems and broker technologies to interoperate with any digital device, app, browser or endpoint for a rich digital experience

Enterprises have traditionally large, complex, distributed systems that relied on a variety of technologies from Oracle, SAP to make them work. For example, code in an app makes function or procedure calls in order to get things done. In distributed systems that span servers and geographies. The notion of software in one system calling a function in a system elsewhere is referred to as a remote procedure call (RPC). This was the heart of the Open Software Distributed Computing Environment (DCE), later SOA, and today of Microsoft Azure. This was a transformative technology at that time and to make it work was not trivial. It involved a lot of code.

Out of this effort came groups like OMG or the Object Management Group that created specification for the Common Object Request Broker (CORBA) based on the concept of interface definitions. Microsoft created a distributed form of its Common Object Model (COM). Sun baked a Remote Method Invocation (RMI) technology in Java and later added support for CORBA. Lots of distributed software built in the 90s used this stuff to make remote procedure calls, but it was tightly-coupled to those respective technologies and therefore not extensible.

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Extensible Markup Language (XML) came along in the early 2000s as an offshoot of DCE. This technology because it was based on HTTP, worked over the Internet and was platform independent leading to web services. All kinds of specifications were created for remote function calling needed to build cross-platform, distributed systems. A new discipline around SOAP called Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) came to life.

While SOAP was taking off, a software architecture style consisting of guidelines and best practices for creating scalable web services based on HTTP verbs was created called REST. The simpler, lighter-weight nature of REST makes it a superior choice over the heavier SOAP wire protocol especially for mobile communications needs. The need is for RESTful APIs.

Whats to be done?

Unfortunately most backend business systems organizations deployed over the last several decades have absolutely nothing in common with today’s front end requirements. They all speak different languages via myriad binary and text wire protocols. They typically don’t talk to each other and they don’t talk mobile for a wonderful digital experience.

This is a big problem in today’s world of mobile and cloud convergence because users and CIOs expect data from any of their backend systems to be delivered to any device, at any time, thus empowering their employees. Companies are faced with difficult choices ranging from replacing the old systems with new, mobile-friendly ones, rewriting custom systems, upgrading to newer versions if they exist, or moving workloads to the cloud and make them rich mobile experiences. Many companies are unable to make any of these choices for the same reason they haven’t upgraded their Windows apps from the 90s. Limited time and budgets.

A lower-cost alternative is to leave the existing working systems in place but digitally transform backend business systems. First step is to cloud-size them i.e. wrapping them with RESTful APIs that can speak the language of any device, browser or app. This mapping can be accomplished via new code or through connectors or adapters. Now all existing systems will be able to communicate bi-directionally with any modern digital device and more easily interface with customers and business partners. Think of this as mobile SOA.

This is where a cloud based platform like MoNimbus comes in to transform existing enterprise business apps to rich digital experience by performing the first step of extracting workflow on the road to transforming them to rich digital experience. With a cloud based approach we can now talk of making it trivial, without the code, long wait and huge cost that have traditionally confronted CIO and CEOs.