4 Key Steps to Developing a Composable Enterprise

Katherine Manning June 24, 2021

composable-enterprise

Gartner defines a composable enterprise as “An organization that delivers business outcomes and adapts to the pace of business change.” Further, it is the next iteration of application and software models that disrupt the traditional service-based architecture using future-proof models for application and software design, development, and maintenance. It’s a new way of aligning the enterprise with a cloud-driven world. 

Most organizations today understand the significance of digital transformation. Yet, many are still contemplating a digital-first approach. Instead of working across the entire digital lifecycle, many businesses are stuck in the lift-and-shift approach. However, this process is inefficient. 

Why?

Many enterprises still rely on monolithic ERP systems and legacy applications with static processes. Yet, these traditional systems don’t align with the digital world where commerce occurs 24/7 worldwide. In addition, digital transformation towards a composable enterprise is not a one-time occurrence. It is a continuous process to meet the expectations of rapidly evolving markets.

Unless enterprises embrace the composable framework, they will remain stagnant, inefficient, and unable to make data-driven decisions quickly. According to McKinsey, around 75% of the companies listed on the S&P 500 will no longer exist in 2027.

What makes a composable enterprise so relevant and unique is the ability to use processes independently and interchangeably. Therefore, organizations can make quick decisions that may only impact one business component or affect its operations enterprise-wide. 

Enterprises must re-assemble capabilities from the inside out and deliver innovation rapidly and dynamically. In this blog, we will share how to transform into a composable enterprise to ensure you can future-proof your business.

The composable enterprise is rising in popularity

Cloud technology brings agility to the enterprise. And it has many executives wondering how they can achieve the same results with private data centers and traditional IT infrastructure.

The composable enterprise is gaining traction because it brings agility to the organization. For instance, data centers and servers can run like cloud services where you can extract and partition storage or networking services quickly. Additionally, you can silo traditional IT resources and provision as needed based on real-time workloads. 

Consider your long-term composable enterprise objectives

The look of your composable enterprise will depend on your industry, target market, and business strategy. Thus, it’s critical to determine your long-term goals for how your company will transform into a composable enterprise. Answer these question to help guide your roadmap:

  • What markets do you plan to target?
  • Do you need a new business model?
  • How will consumer expectations change over the next five years? 
  • Is it time to change your operational structure to meet fluctuating markets?

Keep reading to learn the four key steps to developing a composable enterprise.

1. Use business business architecture to drive innovation while changing the business and operations

It’s not always easy to visualize your application network’s process layer and how to incorporate similar services across operations. So, it’s essential to collaborate with business stakeholders from every department to create a blueprint with input from business teams.  

At the foundation of a composable enterprise are Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These share secure data across cloud services, business systems, and mobile applications to connect your businesses, vendors, partners, and more. APIs are crucial for developing a composable enterprise.

To facilitate the speed of change requires new management processes with IT and business teams aligned around common objectives. From the executive level, CIOs should offer vision to lead the transformation towards API-driven solutions. From this point, it’s about creating a process map for your business needs, identifying preferred outcomes, and deciding which technologies can enable the innovation.

2. Harness adaptive working practices and co-creation techniques typically found on fusion teams to enable step one

According to Gartner, Fusion teams are “multidisciplinary digital process teams.” These teams focus on the human side of digital business risk and modify how IT works with the enterprise to foster a distributed digital delivery model. Thus, these teams must seek engagement with the business side to understand their requirements. Fusion teams go beyond updating and upgrading specific technologies on an annual basis. Instead, it’s a comprehensive model that requires a new technology and process strategy to reflect adaptability. 

A true composable enterprise can provide the following:

  • System scalability on demand 
  • Services and applications integrated with all clients and devices
  • Automated and on-demand services 
  • Self-service options for the applications and data
  • Service-oriented architecture
  • Enterprise data that is available, accessible, and integrated into the data flow

Unquestionably, transitioning to a composable enterprise is future-proofing your business.

3. Leverage the power of information to drive smart decisions and deliver new services

APIs provide a controlled and consumable method for connecting and sharing data. They are the link between consumer and business data. Yet, APIs can decouple consumer and business data so they work independently. Moreover, APIs can secure and manage access to data so enterprises can make decisions quickly and deliver relevant new services adaptable to market changes.

4. Modularize the digital and technical platform to enable transformation and quick implementation by integrating existing with new and emerging technologies

Typically, enterprises have complicated tech stacks. As a result, you can foster more flexibility using an API-driven and multi-tier architecture combining legacy with new technologies. It starts with the underlying system layer, such as proprietary databases and ERP systems. Frequently, these systems are disparate. Nonetheless, APIs can access the system layer to reveal data and mitigate overall complexity.

Next is the process layer, which encompasses business processes that use and modify data. You can use APIs to transform the process layer into a single service that encapsulates data across geographies, channels, and products regardless of origination. 

Finally, you have the experience layer, which is data consumption across channels. To illustrate, your eCommerce site and mobile app may need to access the same consumer data but will need the data sent in varying formats. 

Using APIs at the experience layer ensures you can modify data. Hence, its consumption is relevant to the target audience and from a centralized data source rather than point-to-point data channels. Further, you can also reuse APIs instead of creating new ones. As a result, you have a more flexible and composable architecture.

Indeed, it is vital to incorporate low-code integration platforms to enable rapid innovation and agility of market response. By combining microservices with APIs, you can implement a mesh-based system to facilitate speed and simplification. 

Final thought 

The composable enterprise rejects limited and monolithic applications favoring flexible, scalable, extensible, and customizable workflows and processes. So, every line of business is empowered by technology strategically. It’s an enterprise that also harnesses the full functionality of its existing tools.

This is the app-dependent future of business in harmony with IT, where business users don’t need to have a programming background to customize processes and create value. 

Isn’t it time to transform? 

A composable enterprise supports resiliency and adaptability while having the data to anticipate and respond to upcoming market changes effectively even in the face of uncertainty. Fortunately, it’s not challenging to bridge the business and IT and build a composable enterprise. ProcessMaker provides an industry-leading iBPMS that enterprises can begin using today to create a composable architecture.

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