How marketers can go from idea to launch at speed with composable tech architecture
In its latest white paper, design and technology agency Rufus Leonard explores how businesses can enjoy true agility and flexibility with a composable tech architecture. Here, head of development Hugo Fonseca unpacks the concept.
What is composable enterprise?
Composable enterprise is an approach to business design that embraces the API economy – enabling a business to rearrange or re-focus depending on external or internal factors, such as a shift in consumer behavior or a sudden change in the supply chain. Think of the cloth manufacturers, fashion designers and 3D printing companies that pivoted to producing face masks, ventilators and hand sanitizer in 2020.
The end goal is a completely composable business, where you can support the shifting demands of the organization and make quick, reactive decisions by assembling, disassembling and reassembling modular components (made up of both technology and people).
Rufus Leonard discusses the concept of composable architecture / Victor A Baoopba via Unsplash
But first, all lines of business must be strategically empowered by technology.
Where does composable tech architecture come into it?
Typically, organizations invest in technology to store and maintain specific single domain data – for example CRM, PIM and CMS. Those systems are often built on old legacy technology, with data locked into silos within systems of records. Operating in this fragmented setup makes it increasingly difficult for businesses to deliver competitive, differentiated customer experiences. To innovate, developers must embark on the time-consuming and costly venture of building a new experience from the ground up. For digital and marketing teams, that results in a struggle to adapt to changing customer behaviors at a competitive pace.
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Microservices provide greater flexibility but often come with more complexity. Teams may find themselves shouldered with the responsibility of managing problems that could be solved with modern SaaS solutions, instead of focusing on bringing fresh experiences to market.
The solution? A composable tech architecture aligned to business capabilities.
What does composable tech architecture look like?
In a traditional monolithic tech structure, program components are tightly interconnected and interdependent, and must all be rewritten if one element requires an update – which simply doesn’t facilitate business agility.
In a composable approach, the tech stack is built on cloud services and capabilities – MACH – focusing on scalability and APIs.
Microservices: Individual pieces of business functionality that are independently developed, deployed and managed
API-first: Functionality is exposed through an API
Cloud-native SaaS: Software as a service that leverages the cloud beyond storage and hosting, including elastic scaling and automatic updates
Headless: Front-end presentation (what the user sees) is decoupled from back-end logic (how it works), communicating via an API. The headless CMS becomes a repository that delivers content and assets to any platform or device, regardless of channel, programming language or framework
A composable architecture combines your data through APIs and empowers your front-end developers to build applications with interchangeable blocks.
Why is agility so key?
In the end, it all comes down to commerciality. Your business could be completely agile, flexible and future-proofed, and your teams freed up to ideate and build brand new competitive experiences, thus driving profits.
Though there are some benefits to monolithic programs, for the most part they can’t support the agility and flexibility needed to enable a fast-moving digital-first business. That’s why we believe composable, packaged business capabilities are the future, and technology leaders should start replacing monolithic solutions with them as soon as possible. However, it must be said that each business has its own level of digital maturity, and should start with small, easily achievable goals that have clear business benefits.
It’s not just about consistent online and offline experiences any more. Consumers demand seamless and connected end-to-end journeys across all touchpoints. Composable architecture lets businesses leverage packaged capabilities to deliver those new and exciting customer experiences, now and in the future. The result? Agility, flexibility and the ability to beat your competition.
According to Gartner, by 2023 organizations that have adopted a composable approach will outpace the competition by 80%.
The time is now.
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Rufus Leonard is an independent agency who builds category-defining service brands through design & technology. We act as the catalyst for service brands with the desire to be foremost, standard-setting, and first choice. Our services help brands define their unique promise then – crucially – deliver it across how they think, look and speak, how they interact with customers, how they harness innovations, and how they rally their people. We’ve been helping service brands retain, regain or define their categories for over 30 years, including British Gas, BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Pinsent Masons, British Red Cross, The Gym Group, The Student Hotel, and London Business School.Find out more