Composable Enterprise, Composable Applications, Packaged Business Capability and Low Code - the New Promise?
In recent weeks, I encounter these terms more and more often and they experience increasing attention. The definition according to Gartner reads something like this
Composable Business / Composable Enterprise
describes a business principle in which a company, consists of interchangeable building blocks. The modular setup allows a company to reorganize and realign itself as needed, depending on external (or internal) factors, such as a shift in customer values or sudden changes in the supply chain or materials. Four basic principles of "Composable Business" apply:
- More speed through discovery
- Greater agility through modularity
- Better leadership through orchestration
- Resilience through autonomy
So at the heart of it is the idea of making a company more agile and resilient from a holistic perspective. This requires a fundamental change at all architectural levels of a company. That is, the service, process, organizational and information architecture. Typical building blocks of the Composable Business are:
- Composable Thinking. subsumes the mindset that everything can be combined and prevents creativity from being lost.
- Composable Business Architecture ensures that a company is structured to be flexible and resilient. It's all about structure and alignment according to purpose. This requires a modular architecture of all components of the enterprise. This is done through flexible packaging of capabilities (Packaged Business Capabilities). Suitably Designed then these can be developed independently of others, changed or exchanged and combined with other components always anew. Modularity also applies in particular to IT systems and digital services.
- Composable Technologies
are the tools for today and tomorrow. They are the pieces and parts and what binds them all together. The four principles are product design goals that define the characteristics of the technology and support the concept of composability.
In the implementation of the Composable Enterprise The special problem arises that the large IT system monoliths ERP, PLM .... introduced over many years are by no means ready for this change and that in particular also a reorganization or restructuring of legal business units has become a massive IT problem.
The answer to this is the idea of Composable Applications and Packaged Business Capability. The idea is to create self-contained units that fulfill specific business requirements.
For this purpose, MACH architectures are often used as the Technological Concepts called. MACH means thereby.
- Microservices (M) individual parts of business functions that are developed, deployed and managed independently.
- API-first (A): All functions are provided via an API so that two or more applications or services can be connected.
- Cloud-native (C) Via SaaS models (software as a service), functions from external providers can be booked and used on-demand - these are also operated in a cloud. Thanks to the APIs described above, this works without any problems.
- Headless (H) The headless concept systems do not have tightly coupled front and back ends. Headless systems have only one backend
- Event-driven Architecture Event-driven architecture (EDA) is a very loose way of connecting digital systems and services.
The often emerging and somewhat naive way of thinking is that such MACH architecture following platforms or low code platforms could be used and then - according to the way of thinking - be implemented by the departments themselves.
This is all important and correct and we will go into detail in further blog articles.
As is so often the case, the typical blind spots of the primarily process-oriented view have an effect. These will then, as so often, put wrinkles in the faces of digitization architects.
- Information has semantics!
- Data flows through companies.
One of the main problems that companies suffer from today is that the information semantics in the different systems do not fit together properly, that we have not yet united the commercial and the technological view.
If everyone now builds their applications with low code and tinkers with their data models as they please, then exactly what we have had for a long time will happen. Tinkered data models that are stuck, that you can't get rid of and that don't fit together. The only difference is that they are distributed throughout the cloud in flexible architectures.
Now perhaps Knowledge Graphs or Semantic Architectures can connect or transition these semantics (since schemaless and more flexible).
Nevertheless, someone simply has to do the work of unifying the semantics of the different business applications.
If that doesn't happen beforehand, the approach will make the situation in companies rather aggravate than improve.
On the subject I have already 2011 a Article written