Technologie • 15.03.2023
17 maart 2023
Uncertain times call for flexible organizations. If your digital infrastructure feels like a constricting corset, it's time for composable architecture.
Every (software) application has its own architecture: the way all separate components come together as one. Even the simplest operation requires the combination of various components. For example, an interface for entering numbers, a calculator that performs calculations with these numbers, and a memory that stores the resulting outcomes.
You probably still work on a daily base with off-the-shelf software suites, in which all the various functions (and the underlying code) are closely connected. Together, they form an inseparable whole: a 'monolithic' application. Many organizations have grown large with such handy all-in-one solutions over the past fifteen years. However, such a comprehensive solution also has significant drawbacks.
For example, you become increasingly dependent on a single supplier ('vendor lock-in'), which only releases an upgrade every few years at most. You have to integrate any 'extras' yourself, and recode them with each update. This leads to a lot of hassle and extra complexity. Moreover, the software solution becomes more and more intertwined with your entire IT ecosystem, making the whole system increasingly complex and susceptible to malfunctions and security risks.
Over the past few years, many IT departments have come to the same alarming conclusion. They are spending more and more hours and budget on updates, maintenance, and integrating necessary additional capabilities. Each integration makes the whole system even more complex, increasing the chances of errors, security issues, and other unpleasant surprises.
Despite the cumbersome process of updates, you are still obliged to work with the 'architectural principles' on which the platform or package was set up years ago. Insights in the IT world, however, change rapidly: many software packages still date from before the cloud era. You are bound hand and foot to a system that quickly becomes less flexible.
The solution to this problem is modular thinking. Instead of a system in which all functions are inseparably linked, you break them up into independent building blocks. This new, modular approach to application development is called Composable Architecture. An important advantage is that the independent functions ('microservices') are not particularly complex.
This makes them easier to develop, implement, combine, monitor, and keep up-to-date. The modification of one of the components also has much less impact on the whole. Although this approach comes with its own challenges, a composable architecture removes many of the limiting disadvantages of an off-the-shelf suite in this way.
A composable architecture helps the IT department respond much faster to business needs without significantly impacting the existing infrastructure. At the same time, customer-focused departments gain more freedom to experiment with new digital capabilities. This also improves collaboration between IT and the business side. As a result, the possibilities of converting digital technology into distinctive added value for your customer increase significantly.
Read our longread:
(reading time: 9 minutes)
Do 'monolithic' software suites limit your flexibility and responsiveness?
Why do more and more customer journeys end up in digital sameness?
How to evolve from a multichannel to an omnichannel customer experience?
What is the power of microservices, APIs, cloud-native, and headless (MACH)?
Is a composable Digital Experience Platform the Holy Grail for marketers?
Why doesn't every customer-centric organization immediately switch to Composable Architecture?