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What is Composable Enterprise? Benefits & Characteristics

Today’s digital and business landscape is ever-evolving. We live in unpredictable times, where there’s high volatility in customer demands a...

Today’s digital and business landscape is ever-evolving. We live in unpredictable times, where there’s high volatility in customer demands and business/market needs. Therefore, organizations must be agile and scalable to meet dynamic customer needs and market conditions. It is the only way to stay competitive in the ever-changing business environment. One way to ensure agility and scalability is by embracing the composable enterprise architecture.

Composable Enterprise

The composable enterprise is centered around modularity and the ability to quickly assemble and reassemble software components, APIs, and services. This enables you to adjust your business systems faster to meet specific needs. But what exactly is a composable enterprise? What are its key characteristics and components? And why is it important? Let’s find out. 

What is Composable Enterprise?

According to Sage IT, composable enterprise means designing an organization using interchangeable building blocks. It is a modular architecture that enables businesses to reorient and reorganize based on the needs emerging from internal or external factors. This setup allows you to redesign your business systems to accommodate sudden disruptions in the supply chain and shifts in customer demands, among other factors. 

The building blocks of a composable enterprise architecture include business architecture, thinking, and technologies. Enterprise architects often focus on aligning business to IT, which is usually challenging. However, composable enterprise streamlines this process by enabling them to embed adaptability in design. This ensures that the enterprise is future-proof. 

Characteristics of Composable Enterprise

Here are some key features of a composable enterprise:

1. Autonomy

Autonomy is the ability of individual components of an organization’s data architecture to function independently from each other as business capabilities. Also, these elements should operate as part of a comprehensive data platform. 

2. Modularity

By definition, composable enterprise focuses on modularity. Modularity means being able to recompose and compose the IT landscape. It is achieved by organizing data into small, discrete units used to create new data sets faster and effortlessly.

Composable enterprise moves away from single, large, and complex applications to decoupled business procedures. These modular business procedures are modified into workflows for particular purposes and integrated across the organization’s technology stack.

3. Discovery

Each component should be understandable and discoverable by the business within a marketplace or catalog. Composable enterprise architecture offers a business capabilities catalog that aligns with IT assets. Therefore, it provides a robust packaged business capability (PBC) inventory well-aligned with your company strategy. 

4. Orchestration

This characteristic focuses on API support, security components, and workflow orchestration, among other related topics. In a composable enterprise, each system part has clearly defined capabilities expressed through services. The connectivity between different components is based on patterns and standardization. 

Additionally, each element is managed by a process that orchestrates how different parts fit within the PBC. This helps drive standardization. 

How to Build a Composable Enterprise?

Here are steps to consider to establish a composable enterprise architecture:

1. Understand the Ecosystem

The first step is to turn to enterprise architects and the current inventory of technologies, capabilities, and processes. This will help you understand the existing ecosystem and how it has been built over time. 

Also, it helps you understand what the customer needs are and what the company does. Several tools are used to provide this baseline, including the following:

Business Capability Maps: These artifacts break down the business capabilities into smaller and more manageable components.

Customer Journey Maps: The primary goal of customer journey maps is to outline customer perspectives and points of impact.

Value Stream Mapping: The value stream mapping tools help you identify the core customers and products that will be affected when implementing the composable enterprise architecture. 

2. Evaluate the Composability Needs

Once you have understood the ecosystem, it's time to assess the composability need and identify the scope. Specifically, focus on areas that need composability the most. Ask questions such as "Where do I need a faster time-to-market?”.

Use the inventories generated in the first step, including value streams, customer journeys, and business capabilities. This will help you assess and determine where to improve time-to-market and efficiency. As a result, you can prioritize your composability efforts in those areas to optimize speed-to-market.

3. Architect

Upon understanding your organization’s composability needs based on customer demands, it is time to choose what to work on. Your choices must be dictated by the market needs. So, it’s crucial to include business architects in this stage. 

Business and IT architects collaborate to define independent components that provide a clear business value. These elements are called packaged business capabilities or PBC. In their pure definition, PBCs are encapsulated software pieces that represent a well-structured business capability. PBCs are recognizable by a typical business user. 

As business and IT architects break down components and define their borders, think about elements that will be inside and outside. Although it’s not easy, use the 4 key characteristics of composable enterprise to guide your decisions. 

4. Build and Repeat

Build a composable enterprise and consider the business side of the components. Use APIs to connect different components of the composable enterprise. The ultimate goal is to join pieces and provide a new user experience based on reusable components. 

Benefits of Composable Enterprise

So, why adopt a composable enterprise architecture? Here are some key benefits:

Agility and Flexibility: The composable enterprise architecture enables businesses to quickly assemble and reassemble software components. As a result, they can respond faster to meet changing business and market requirements.

Reusability: Composable enterprise breaks down complex systems into smaller and more manageable components. This allows you to create a library of reusable building blocks.

Easier Maintenance: Since a large and complex system is broken down into smaller, self-contained units, it simplifies development, maintenance, and updates. You can maintain or update one component without affecting the overall system functionality.

Scalability: The composable enterprise is based on a distributed microservices architecture. This makes it easier to scale individual components independently. As a result, it ensures the system can handle increased traffic more efficiently.

Final Thoughts:

Composable enterprise has gained popularity in recent times. This architectural approach helps you build flexible and adaptable systems. However, you should note that adopting the architecture requires a strategic shift in culture and mindset within the organization. Therefore, extensive involvement and collaboration between IT teams, business units, and other stakeholders is crucial for the successful implementation of composable enterprise architecture.

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TechGlobeX: What is Composable Enterprise? Benefits & Characteristics
What is Composable Enterprise? Benefits & Characteristics
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