Breaking it Down: Composability

In the current climate, where technology and software are changing faster than ever, businesses must be able to adapt and overcome oncoming challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic, the uncertain economic climate, and the cost-of-living crisis have caused supply chain disruption and business insecurity. More than ever, there is a need for businesses to be flexible, agile, and resilient.

As a business leader, you’ll always face external challenges, so being adaptable and willing to embrace change is an invaluable skill, and an essential ability that your organisation needs. The more agile your business becomes, the more likely you are to save both time and money in the long run, this means improving your processes, data management and systems. One way that your business can become more agile and resilient is by embracing what is referred to as composable business capabilities.

So, what do composable business capabilities actually mean?

When we talk about a composable business, we are referring to a modular set up where different parts within a whole system can be changed depending on the needs of the business, and external factors, e.g. customer demands, or the macro-economic climate. The ability to respond and change is enabled by developments and evolutions in technology, software, and the ability to manage data more intelligently. We find it helpful to picture these modular components like LEGO blocks. LEGO blocks can come in all different shapes and sizes and can be built together to create a larger object, or in this sense, a whole business enterprise.

Different components of information technology act like LEGO blocks – they can be put together in different patterns and sequences to create a whole new object. Think of a LEGO house – by
moving a few blocks, this would alter the design and change the whole structure. By changing just one LEGO piece, the finished product will change, but without needing a complete reconstruction of the object, or in this context, the enterprise’s system.

It is much easier to change individual pieces of your business systems in reaction to external technological and economic changes than starting from scratch and bringing in a whole new system when your business faces challenges. By setting up your business systems landscape in this modular way and embracing business capability, your organisation will be more flexible and able to respond in times of change or disruption.

Breaking it down – where should you start?

When thinking about making your business more composable, it’s important to consider the range of sizes for capability components that make up a whole enterprise system. Composable components might be as large as Financial Management, or medium like Demand Planning & Forecasting or on a smaller scale, such as an Order Entry capability that ensures that Customer Agents enter data correctly, at source.

But how can businesses start this process? It’s important that your business and data architectures are understood and assessed first to help inform what parts of the business should become more composable to withstand challenges.

The combination of being clear about the business capabilities that you need to improve, develop or create, and the data that supports them, is a vital first step. It will help you to prioritise, and plan a progressive path to composability, and identify where “fracture lines”, integration planes and data extraction points are best situated.

By exploring how these interchangeable modular elements can be pieced together, businesses can become more flexible to change and respond appropriately to market changes, challenges or disruptions.

What are the benefits of making your business composable?

As we’ve touched upon already, embracing composable business capabilities comes with advantages. It ultimately allows your business to become more agile, adaptable and resilient, which comes with numerous benefits – but we’ve picked our main three:

  1. Speed – composable businesses react quicker to disruptions which gives them a better chance of achieving good results.
  2. Saves money – quicker business reactions save time and resources, which will ultimately save costs, particularly in the current stretched economic climate.
  3. Finally, composable businesses are more resourceful and can make better use of data and exploit the capabilities of existing software systems, so businesses can make the most of what they already have and have more chance of avoiding a complete system overhaul.

Why is being composable the way forward?

Making your business more composable makes it much more agile and flexible. Whether this means adapting to technological or software changes, or reacting to other factors in the external environment, composability protects you from having to undergo a full system overhaul.

Having a composable architecture at business, data and technology levels, informs business plans and helps to identify how to make business changes at the right speed. Prioritising business composability will help to save time, resources and money when undergoing business changes.

To find out more about how we can help your business become more composable, click here.