Integrating middleware into your innovation strategy

Bridging the gap between legacy cores and front-end systems begins with middleware.
Feb 28, 2023
Molly Riesenberger
Product Marketing Manager
Erin Mincer
Sr. Content Marketer

As technology evolves, so do the desires and expectations of digital banking customers. In order to deliver comprehensive and efficient digital banking services, it is critical for the many systems financial institutions rely on to communicate in a quick and efficient manner. However, oftentimes their back-end disparate systems lack the ability to communicate effectively with front-end platforms, creating a rift in the customer experience. 

Enter middleware. This software acts as a key communication layer that is an intermediary between back-end legacy systems and what the customer or member experiences. Not only does middleware deliver consistent data across all systems, it also ensures that the information is being communicated to the front-end systems in a format they can leverage. 

While middleware may initially appear to be a software that only drives internal efficiencies, in reality it’s actually a key revenue driver since this connectivity allows for better customer experiences. It enables financial institutions to unify access to various back-end systems through a consolidated connectivity layer. It’s an option for financial institutions that are looking to streamline the front and back-end user experience, reduce reliance on their core provider, and scale. 

Narmi's primary focus remains on robust direct-to-core integrations, but our open platform is designed to support the needs of many different financial institutions. If your bank or credit union is considering a middleware strategy, Narmi can integrate with it.

What is middleware? 

Middleware is software that unifies access to various back-end systems (i.e. applications, tools, databases) to provide seamless services to users on the front and back end. It acts as an integrated communication layer that not only pushes unified data up to the front-end systems, but also communicates new data (such as address changes) down to the back-end systems. 

The core concept of middleware architecture is that various applications can connect with each other by putting a communication layer between them. They are able to “talk” to each other through modern REST APIs and connectors. This decouples systems from each other, ensuring that consistent data is being communicated across systems without requiring dependency on other systems in that layer. For example, if a financial institution decides to add a new front-end vendor, they will be able to get that platform onboarded and running much more quickly since it can easily connect to the middleware without disrupting any other platforms that are running. 

This is also crucial In the event of a core provider replacement under a middleware strategy, since all third-party applications will remain independent and will not be affected by the transition.

What are the benefits of middleware?

When considering a banking platform middleware strategy, there are key benefits banks and credit unions can look forward to. Here are just some of the benefits that highlight why financial institutions would consider middleware. 

Unify data access by reducing reliance on the core

In order to innovate quickly and efficiently, financial institutions need immediate access to data that lives on the core and be able to move that information between systems via a common language. Especially as customers become more reliant on mobile banking, financial institutions must be able to deliver superior user experiences, which can only be achieved via direct, rapid access to data. 

Since all applications are connected via that middle layer, middleware offers a “plug-and-play” solution to integrating various software systems. 

As an analogy, think of a laptop as the core (where all of relevant data lives) and a phone and tablet that both need to understand and obtain the same information as front-end systems. In order to ensure that both devices receive the same information and are speaking the same language, a multi-port adapter can be attached to the computer and transfer the information to both the phone and tablet, just as middleware does. 

Innovate and  improve efficiency

Connecting through middleware puts you in control of the data from the core and third-parties. This gives financial institutions the power to integrate new applications and make changes on their own timeline without waiting on the core provider. When evaluating a holistic tech stack, middleware can be a long-term path to faster innovation and a better connected vendor integration strategy.

Streamline back-office processes 

Middleware aggregates all the data across platforms working as the middle layer between systems. This allows for real-time updates that your staff doesn’t have to turn on manually. With your team freed up from excessive maintenance activity, they’ll have more room to innovate. 

How does Narmi support middleware?

Narmi’s focus remains direct-to-core integrations. We integrate with most core banking systems and boast industry-shattering implementation timelines as a result. However, if your financial institution is looking to implement a middleware strategy, Narmi is able to fully support that transformation. 

  1. Open API framework and flexible deployment methods. Our open platform makes it as easy on financial institutions and middleware partners as possible. We even make our middleware documentation public-facing. This document is designed to facilitate easy middleware integrations with Narmi’s Digital Banking and Account Opening platforms.  
  2. Partnerships with leading middleware providers. Narmi has developed middleware partnerships with leading industry providers, so we are able to walk you through the entire process end-to-end. 
  3. Experienced implementation team. We leverage our wealth of expertise in direct core integrations to support a successful middleware integration. Our team is experienced in middleware integrations and can provide best practices, from choosing an on-shore developer to finding a provider certified on your core. 

Narmi Inc.
3 East 28th St. Floor 12
New York, NY 10016

Integrating middleware into your innovation strategy