This issue of Profit includes a special section focusing on midsize companies and their particular challenges. Although there probably hasn't been an issue of Profit where we didn't highlight at least one or two companies or enterprises that fit into that category, it was fascinating to focus on the issues that seem to connect all midsize companies, no matter what their industry. We spoke with one IT director who has a single IT staff member—himself—and another who has been able to handle rocketing growth with the same four-person staff that's been in place since the early days. How these companies handle growth is another commonality—both growth that comes from exploring new geographies and markets, as well as growth that propels a company out of the midsize arena. Both types must be planned for, much earlier than you'd think. Talking with these customers gave me renewed respect for the multiple roles people play in a new or growing business and how that breadth of responsibility often goes hand in hand with an added dose of originality, creativity, and humor.
There's another area we focus on in this issue—one that also has to do with growth, as enterprises with legacy applications seek to reconcile their need to retain old applications with the equally pressing need to move forward and take advantage of breakthroughs in applications functionality. Middleware has been the hot topic for many IT folks over the past few years (fun fact: the term has been in use since 1968, according to Wikipedia). But only lately have executives started coming around to see the business value that middleware can offer the enterprise. Check out our cover story on the amazing ways that companies all over the world are using Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle SOA Suite to simplify and extend the value of Oracle Applications. And lastly, John Matelski's column does an excellent job of illustrating some of the highlights of a successful argument that IT executives can make to CXOs about middleware. Consider it an outline for your next PowerPoint presentation!
Margaret Terry Lindquist is editor in chief of Profit magazine.