Integration middleware is software that is used to fill the gaps between applications and databases. That means it allows remote systems to communicate with one another and even do transformations between systems. The need for middleware is very common for systems that are going to connect a CRM (like Salesforce) to an ERP (like NetSuite or SAP). I’ve also done a few integrations between ecommerce systems like Magento and NetSuite.
A middleware solution is a good mostly future proof way of connecting systems together without necessarily taking on additional work or technical debt.
Middleware generally connects through an API (What is An API?) or web services for both sides of the connection. Most of the time, the middleware should work fine regardless of what upgrades happen on either side of the system which is a huge win for most companies.
Well designed middleware should be able to connect a variety of internal and external systems whether they are on premise or cloud based systems.
When dealing with legacy systems it’s not unheard of to hear of the use of SOAP based APIs or CSV files being used to transmit data. This is definitely something you want to try and avoid having to write code for. It’s usually more efficient to use a service like Celigo or Dell Boomi to do the heavy lifting and do a bit of configuration instead. 😉