If your company went through a digital transformation during your tenure, and it was a huge painful and complicated affair for everyone involved, we have some unwelcome news for you… you should consider doing it again, and sooner rather than later.
This suggestion doesn’t come from some digital schadenfreude, rather because many businesses should be examining a transformation to composable enterprise architecture for the sake of their long-term success in the face of an ever-changing technological landscape. In this blog, we aim to detail the benefits of such a strategy, and advice on taking pain, time and expense out of the process.
At this point, composable architecture has been a hot topic for several years now, and has proved itself to be much more than some passing fad. Gartner reported back in 2020 that “Composable Commerce Must Be Adopted for the Future of Applications”, and continues to highlight its importance. In Gartner’s Top Technology Trends of 2023, composability is an assumed part of the technology landscape.
What is Composable Architecture?
The principle behind composable architecture is elegant in its simplicity; instead of running one large monolithic system where everything within it is designed as a seamless part of the whole, it builds a system composed of many small modular pieces that can be connected through API integration in a flexible way.
To use a simple childhood analogy, where monolithic is like a model airplane – all the pieces are glued together, composable is like building blocks; you can make one thing, then snap it apart and rebuild as much as you like, adding or removing bricks as you go.
Composable architecture’s flexibility makes it not only quicker and easier to update, but also safer to update as the risk of taking down the whole system is mitigated. In a similar vein, its decentralized nature can increase website performance, support increased customization, and even limit hacking effects. A certain level of technical acumen on the part of the business is required to make the best use of all that customization and control, but for the right company it can support business goals on several fronts.
3 Questions To Ask for How Composability Aligns with your Business Needs
The move toward composable business architecture is not a small decision, so it is vital to assess the benefits associated and ensure it aligns with your unique business goals and challenges.
Below we have focused in on three core questions to determine how well composable architecture supports your unique business:
1. How important is quick adoption to new trends and technologies?
Composable systems provide a strong advantage when it comes to speedy adoptions of nascent technologies. If you are competing in a market where this is important, then the upfront costs of switching to composable will be quickly mitigated by the savings this speedy adoption will bring and the competitive edge in reaching your customers.
Another important factor to consider is that overworked IT departments need a better way to deliver digitally enabled products and services at the speed the business requires. Even if your adoption rate isn’t “bleeding edge”, your internal teams may be facing a heavy workload or risking incurring significant technical debt trying to keep a monolithic system functioning over time.
2. How important is having best-in-class or highly custom/unique systems?
Even businesses that don’t have to keep up with every tik-tok trend can find huge benefits to the level of customization and control composable brings, specifically very large or very niche companies:
XXL Companies: When performing a task at a very large scale, small gains multiply quickly. The ability to refine your systems and hand-pick best-in-class services might be individually measured in fractions of a cent or a second, but at scale they save serious time and money.
Niche Companies: When working in a niche industry there just may not be pre-packaged solutions available for your workflows and requirements, so the ability to assemble it yourself becomes a more cost-effective choice than making do with ill-fitting existing products.
3. How Important are rendering speed and scalability for your website?
In digital commerce businesses such as retail, or anything event-based, a slow rendering speed or lack of scalability can cause major headaches and potential loss of revenue at peak times.
This is a pain-point with monolithic systems as they rely on the server to both fetch product and customer information and then render it to the customer. At peak times when there are many customers simultaneously trying to view and purchase products, requiring the server to complete this loop of fetching and rendering for each customer creates a bottleneck and the site begins to lag or even risks returning a server connection timeout.
Composable commerce allows for a fundamental shift in how a website serves information to the customer. Instead of the site waiting while the server fetches everything, each piece of needed information is provided in parallel from its respective component. In addition, because components are built to be reusable, they are cached, allowing subsequent requests to be served nearly instantaneously. In their article Composable Architecture is the Next Big Thing for Websites, Forbes reported that “Most composable websites we test in Google’s PageSpeed tool measure 98 to 100 (out of 100) for performance, which has a direct impact on SEO.”
We’re Making the Move to Headless Commerce Architecture, That’s Good Enough… Right?
Headless commerce architecture is fantastic, and decoupling the front-end and back-end in your system provides an opportunity to seamlessly integrate multiple user experiences with much more UX freedom. That being said, those adopting only headless commerce solutions may still face some of the drawbacks seen with a monolithic system. This is because there is no specified structure the back end has to follow, so it may still operate as one fixed unit.
In good news, “composable commerce vs headless” is not a binary question of either/or that a business must make and then stick to. A composable system with a front-end will utilize headless commerce architecture, it just takes the concept one step further and relies on multiple platforms and microservices in the back-end to make it equally modular. In this way, even if your business only adopts headless commerce now, it is still a step in the right direction and the front-end can likely be used in a future composable system.
Begin Your Transition to Composable Architecture with Digibee
Digibee is passionate about the benefits composability can bring to many businesses, and we understand that to get the most out of this system all the integrations need to be just as modular and reusable as the services and platforms themselves.
Our iPaaS approach prioritizes these factors in several ways, such as use of Digibee Capsules; fully customizable business logic components that you can build once and reuse or rework wherever you need.
We also recognize how fundamental a smart integration can be in bridging your digital commerce systems in the move from monolithic or headless commerce to a fully composable system. Digibee coexists with legacy systems for faster adoption of digital applications with no disruption to the business.
If you’re interested in how Digibee can help your organization evolve to a modular IT environment, we’d be happy to show you how. Book your choice of a 15-minute discovery call, 30-minute custom demo, or a 60-minute deep dive to learn more.