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The most practical introduction to the middle stage

2022-05-07 18:42:37Small hook


Editor's Guide : What exactly is midfield ? How to do it ? The author of this article shares his own understanding of Zhongtai with us in the form of real cases and personal experience , Talk about how the middle stage is implemented , How to transform a business demand into a medium-sized demand , So that everyone can have a very concrete understanding of Zhongtai , Let's take a look .

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


You are already familiar with the concept of Zhongtai , Various definitions fly all over the sky , But what is the middle stage , How do you do it? , It still needs to be done to know . Now I'll let you understand Zhongtai with a real case . Yes, of course , After all, I haven't been in contact with China and Taiwan for long enough , Inevitably, there are some biased views , Some of the leaders in the middle stage can point out .

One 、 The definition and role of the middle stage


The definition of Zhongtai can be found in many public materials , I won't repeat and explain here . I'm looking forward to speaking in more vernacular 、 The real case and personal experience of the way to talk about the understanding of Zhongtai , Talk about how the middle stage is implemented , How to transform a business demand into a medium-sized demand , So that everyone can have a very Figurative The cognitive .

When you talk about roles, you have to have objects , For the front-end business, the middle office , Business backend . The front desk business doesn't care much about how you realize , I don't care whether it is implemented by the middle platform or by the business system itself , Only care about whether you can achieve the front-end display I want 、 Interaction 、 Logic and so on .

For the back-end system of the front-end business , Similar to a powerful third-party service provider , This third-party service provider has various interfaces and capabilities of a module , I give information according to the interface document of this third-party specification , The other party can achieve the bottom results of this module of my business , I don't need to develop this module again .

therefore , If you look at the middle stage from a business perspective , He assumed the role of a part of the business back-end system , Also assume the role of a third-party service provider .

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


Two 、 What kind of person is suitable for middle stage


We all know , If the business system is unreasonable, it can be reconstructed later , You can also do many castration functions to meet urgent needs , It can even let new products and new technologies operate , As long as the business needs are realized .

And for the middle stage , No matter how small the middle stage is , Need to have a very clear product planning , Products should know what the business may do in the future , How to play , The landing is what a function point of the business may do in the future , How to build the bottom model of the middle stage , In order to make the middle office highly scalable and flexible, and well support changeable business .

The reconfiguration cost of the middle stage is lower than that of the business side , It's doubled , The more flexible, the higher the reconstruction cost , The more business sides connected , The higher the cost of refactoring .

So here comes the question , If you don't know business , Can you make products for Zhongtai ?

The answer must be No .

Therefore, the person who works in the middle stage must be someone who knows the business very well , Whether it's products or research and development , Remember that understanding business is a prerequisite , Not just know your business , Also understand the upstream and downstream business related to yourself .

Because the middle stage is often built around a demand, specific product realization scheme and technical realization scheme are considered , Therefore, it is better for medium and Taiwan products to have a certain understanding of Technology , The more you know, the easier it is to get into the role , The easier it is to produce product solutions that are more in line with the middle platform positioning .

in addition , Most of the middle stage is built from zero to one , Build a good foundation and maintain it later , And it's multi team collaboration , It involves module splitting and division of capability domain boundary , So it's best to have experience in zero to one projects , Know how to work across teams .

If products or R & D only know business , Never worked as a middle stage , Can you be a middle stage ?

It's not that you can't , To form a low-cost high potential team .

If the product has not been made in the middle stage , It requires products to have strong abstract ability , I have done the research and development of Zhongtai .

If R & D has not been done in the middle stage , It requires R & D to have strong abstract ability , Match with a product that understands middle Taiwan .

The above are relatively good and low-cost team combinations , When cooperating, ensure that everyone can predict the future business trend , Reasonably design the product scheme and technical realization scheme of Zhongtai .

What I said earlier is about skills , That's from personal pursuit , Are you fit to be a middle stage ?

The answer is to look at personal direction .

Some small and medium-sized platforms are equipped with production and research personnel who are responsible for both business needs and medium-sized platform needs , So it may be close to the business , There is a certain decision-making on the business side product implementation scheme .

However, the demand side of relatively pure middle office personnel is business side production and research , It will lead to being far away from the business , At this time, the middle office is often unable to decide what business should do , As long as there are business scenarios , It is reasonable , Zhongtai should be able to support or support in advance , We should not let the middle office become the bottleneck of our business .

In the decision-making process, that is, when discussing or receiving requirements , Question the depth of the business's excavation of the essence of the problem , Question the solution and priority of the problem , Then put forward better solutions and suggestions , But the final decision-making power is not in the middle stage .

Or say , Because the completion of a business process may be coordinated or divided by multiple middlemen , If you have suggestions and ideas about the business , You can only have some influence on issues related to your middle stage ability ( Because you can't push demand ), And you can't interfere with the content that is not related to your middle stage .

Therefore, the middle office is sometimes far away from the actual business , Less decision-making and influence .

According to the above situation , The middle stage is suitable for people who are very familiar with the business , Strong abstract ability , And there are not too many extravagant people in business to do . If you still want to intervene in the business , Also want to let the business land and schedule according to your idea , So you are not suitable for making medium and Taiwan products at present , You can try again in a few years .

But it seems that all R & D students are very interested in Zhongtai , Because the implementation of the middle platform is not only in terms of performance, but also in terms of technical implementation scheme , It is a challenge for R & D students , It is the embodiment of one's own ability .

3、 ... and 、 The division and interaction framework of the middle stage


In daily business system planning , We will divide the business system into multiple modules , Different teams are responsible for , The granularity of module division depends on the development of business , If a module needs to be redone, do it well , This module will be divided into very fine , A specially assigned person is responsible for deepening and strengthening .

Daily business may be divided into : User membership module 、 Merchant module 、 Commodity module 、 Sales promotion module 、 Transaction order fulfillment module 、 After sales module 、 Payment and settlement module, etc .

Similarly, the middle office will be like the business system , It is divided into multiple middle stations according to the business domain . Follow the example above , The middle stage will be divided into user Member middle stage 、 Business Center 、 The middle of the market 、 Sales Promotion Center 、 Trading Center 、 Order center 、 In the middle of the contract 、 Pay middle desk, etc .

The division of China and Taiwan is not absolutely the same in all companies , In addition to the division by business domain , There are also big problems of company characteristics and team balance , I won't go deep here .

The middle office itself will be divided into multiple sub domains according to the capability domain , Each sub domain has different capabilities .

such as :
  1. User members will be divided into : User domain 、 Member domain 、 Card coupon field, etc .
  2. The middle stage of the business may be divided into : Business domain 、 Organizational domain 、 Permission domain, etc .
  3. Commodities in Taiwan may be divided into : Commodity domain 、 Price field 、 Inventory field, etc .

The above middle office and capability domain are finished , You may also know very well , In fact, the combination of various medias can support some basic business demands .

So there is a middle stage , If you want to make value , He has to work with the business system , Work together with various middle stations , To complete a complete business process .

The system interacting with the middle office includes the business system of each module and each middle office , Due to the different technical constraints between companies 、 Different business areas , There are also other platforms to support the interaction between the middle office and the business system , For example, a low code definition platform . We won't talk about the details of interaction here , Let's talk about the specification category of interaction from the framework .

In terms of categories, there are two : Direct interaction and interaction through public platforms .
  1. The problem with direct interaction is , When a business system needs to connect to multiple middle stations , Multiple docking is required , The high cost . The advantage is the freedom of docking , Often suitable for small teams , Small and medium-sized companies whose business is not very complex , There are not so many processes and constraints .
  2. The problem with interacting through a public platform is , The cost of early implementation is high , Make corresponding plans before implementation , The positioning of each system should be clear , The public platform is not only used for the docking between the middle platform and the system , It may also take responsibility for the integration of low code products . Each business middle office needs to register its own middle office capabilities and interfaces on the public platform , Business systems are connected according to unified specifications . The advantage is that even if a system has to connect to multiple midstations , It can also be configured on the public platform , Low docking cost , And it's easy to shape normalization and Standardization .


1. When the business system interacts with the middle office


One is that the business system interacts directly with the middle office , The other is that the business system interacts with the middle office through a public platform .

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


2. When the middle stage interacts with the middle stage


One is that the middle stage can interact with each other , The other is the interaction between the middle office and the middle office through the corresponding business system of the middle office .

Here's the picture 2, Zhongtai A And the middle stage B No direct interaction between , If the business system A Or middle stage A Appeal , Must be managed by the business system A Initiate request , Through the business system B Transfer business center B .

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


Four 、 Middle stage product architecture


When we were talking about the product architecture of Zhongtai , We are actually talking about the product planning of Zhongtai .

Zhongtai's product planning is completely based on the product's understanding of the business , Understanding of the future direction of the business , Then predict and abstract what capability areas the middle office may have , What core competencies are included in , The most important thing is that we should be able to plan the data flow of the core competence domain in advance , In this way, the R & D personnel can lay a good foundation and make a good model .

We talked about it earlier , The middle stage will also be like the business system , Internal capability domains are divided according to the business attributes of capabilities , In addition to capability areas , Zhongtai will also deposit business data from multiple business parties , There will also be some internal general basic support capability modules , When making product architecture planning , It's best to take all these into account .

But there is one caveat , When R & D is making the technical planning of the middle stage , Often you can see more and more content than the product , If the product has not been made in the middle stage , Ability to abstract capability domains according to business 、 Core competencies 、 Core Data 、 The general underlying module is already very good , Basically, it's hard to think of any technology related product layers and capabilities , So if the product manager doesn't have much middle office experience , Communicate more with R & D when presenting the product architecture of China and Taiwan .

Take the sales center as an example , Let's briefly show the middle platform product architecture .

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


5、 ... and 、 Examples of China Taiwan practice


Maybe no matter what I said before , Students who haven't been in middle school are still a little confused , I don't know how Zhongtai did it , Here I'll take some practical cases , How to transform a business demand into a medium-sized demand , It can make you feel what the middle stage is more intuitively .

Before talking about the Zhongtai case , Let's start with a definition , That's it “ Ability ”.

Explain in Encyclopedia , Ability is defined as :

The comprehensive quality embodied in completing a goal or task .

So the ability of Zhongtai is , A collection of various common logic and processes to complete a task expected by the business side .

Case study 1

For example, in an E-commerce mall, there is a process in which users submit orders , After submitting the order, the business system finally creates an order after various verification of the transaction process , Then this E-commerce mall is connected to the order center , After the user clicks submit order , The ability to call the middle station is called “ Ability to create orders ”.

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


When creating an order, it needs to be based on different products 、 Users and other information ultimately determine which order type , Different order types have different logic for creating orders , These logics have many common contents in different business systems , The middle stage precipitates these general logic and processes , Finally complete the task of creating an order expected by the business side , This is it. 【 Ability to create orders 】.

The order module of a business system has many functions , They correspond to multiple abilities of the middle stage , For example, the function of canceling an order corresponds to the ability to cancel an order , In the status of pending payment, the ability of the merchant to modify the order corresponding to the middle office to modify the order, etc .

Case study 2

Take a demand of the sales center as an example to explain the implementation of the center's ability .

The sales center is for those who surround the salesperson , Customer management through salesperson 、 Marketing touch 、 Customer information maintenance CRM Of , Middle stage of sales process management tools .

Therefore, this sales process management tool needs to create a salesperson's account and manage and maintain this account .

This management and maintenance process requires a lot of functions , For example, create a salesperson account , Submit various materials when creating , After layers of review , Finally complete the creation of salesperson account , In daily management, the account number should be maintained , For example, if you are on vacation, you should temporarily close your account , If you make a mistake, freeze your account , After leaving the company, you need to delete the account number and so on .

What are the functions of the middle station , Let's look at the table below .

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


At this time, as the middle stage , We should think from the following perspectives .

The thinking process is like this :

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


Explain the flow chart :
  1. What business functions can be precipitated into the middle stage to make the capacity .
  2. What is the system interaction after the capability is made , What is the product plan of Zhongtai .
  3. Those abilities that do not precipitate to the middle stage , How can the business side land , What is the product plan .

So as a medium and Taiwan product , You don't just have to know how to abstract into abilities , Also know how to interact with the business , To meet the demands of the business .

So Zhongtai's products are among all product managers , The bottom layer of the product has the strongest ability . Here we will briefly analyze the business side “ Salesperson management ” The needs of and “ Deactivate delete salesperson account ” Two requirements of , See how to precipitate into ability . When we deal with a specific need , Mainly from the following three perspectives :
  1. What is the logic of function and ability itself , What are the functional boundaries , How my underlying model is compatible .
  2. What is the boundary of data storage .
  3. Business solutions that are not capable of middle office .

For salesperson management needs , We can think of , There may be a background menu on the business side called salesperson management , The page is a list of salespeople .
  1. The operation buttons in the list are : Check the details 、 Delete salesperson 、 accounts disabled .
  2. The buttons above the list are : Add salesperson 、 Bulk import 、 Export salesperson 、 Batch delete button .

For example, the page may look like this :

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


Follow the business process , The interface for adding a salesperson account may be as shown in the figure below :

 The most practical introduction to the middle stage


1. The question we have to think about at this time is


1) What is the logic of the function itself

How to create an account , There is no pre logic for creating an account , If any , What logic can precipitate to the middle stage , Which logic is completed by the business side and then transferred to the interface of the console to create an account , How it interacts .

2) What is the boundary of data storage

When creating an account, some information related to the salesperson's account , These data are independent fields on the business side , Whether these fields have a close logical relationship with my capability domain , If not , The account data of the salesperson is stored in the middle desk , These fields cannot be stored on the business side , If there is no business side, there is no business side , How to save .

3) Business solutions that are not capable of middle office

What fields are batch import and export , Whether these fields exist in the middle office , How to import and export the business if it is not in the middle office .

2. In addition to the above three considerations related to the demand itself , We need to think more deeply about some things hidden outside the requirements based on our own business form and scenario

1) The bottom structure inside the middle platform

What are the characteristics of our business , If we are doing saas Service , Because of the complexity of merchant organizational structure and store relationship , A person may open a salesperson account in multiple merchants , It is also possible to open multiple accounts under one merchant , How do we build a basic account system in Zhongtai , To know how many merchants this person is under , And how many salesperson accounts have been opened under a merchant ?

2) Commonality of the underlying model

Are there any other demands in this business domain that are very similar to this demand , Can use similar abilities ? That is, whether my capability model can be compatible with similar businesses ? If any , I want to break up and reassemble similar business functions , See what kind of underlying model it is .

Put the above questions first , Because the account number is closely related to the account status , We'll see “ Deactivate delete salesperson account ” This requirement .

3. Discontinue use 、 Delete salesperson account number , In fact, it is essentially changing the status attribute of the account , Instead of actually deleting the account , Each business must call the account status differently , The status of each account is different , The impact on business logic is also different , So the question we're thinking about is

1) What is the logic of the function itself

How do we define the status of the salesperson's account in the middle office , In order to be more general and generalized ?

2) Business solutions that are not capable of middle office

Different business impacts of various states , Whether to precipitate to the middle stage ?

4. Through these thoughts , The ability and function of our final precipitation are as follows


1) Provide the atomic ability to create accounts

As the most basic, a person can only create a general verification of one account in one store , The verification logic of other account numbers with strong business attributes is completed by the business itself , Just adjust the interface , Let's create .

2) Provide storage of independent fields with strong correlation with salesperson account attributes

For example, the store id( But Zhongtai won't call stores id Field ), The remaining fields provide storage capacity as extended fields . Some fields that are obviously less relevant to the business domain ( Found in import and export ), The middle desk does not store , But discuss with the business how to solve the query problem based on these fields .

3) The account number system of Zhongtai is the internal low-level ability to make good planning , And clearly explain to R & D

4) Provide general account status fields

In order to be compatible with the audit process that most merchants may have , Provide 4 Account status : To be activated 、 Activated 、 Frozen 、 Cancelled . The business side corresponds to itself , Self control the business logic brought by each state , If the business is reviewed , The status of the account to be activated can be considered , If there is no approval, you can directly create an activated account .

In this case, the disabling and enabling of the business side can correspond to the freezing and activation of the middle console .

such , The idea of landing in the middle stage came out , In the process, we just need to pay more attention to the logic of generality and generalization , Describe clearly what is done by the middle stage , Which are implemented by the business side , What is the system interaction process .

6、 ... and 、 Last


The two cases I mentioned are actually relatively simple , There are many things to consider when the middle platform really lands , The underlying capabilities of the product are universal , But Zhongtai pays more attention to expansibility and abstract ability .

Today I just talked about some introduction , I hope to make people who watch this content have a concrete perception , Although each middle stage has different fields , Their respective capability areas and landing methods are also different , However, each middle stage can still abstract some common things , I'll explain it in detail later .

author : Chuyu , official account : Product gossip

This paper is written by @ Chuyu Original release to everyone who is product manager , Unauthorized , Prohibited reproduced

Title map from Unsplash, be based on CC0 agreement

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