Enterprises know that their customers and partners expect a superior personalized experience. After all, customer experience has been a top priority for organizations over the last decade. However, despite all the technological advancements and transformation initiatives, the ability to deliver innovation with speed continues to elude.
Without this ability, enterprises constantly play catch-up with rapidly shifting business dynamics and customer expectations.
Why is Strategic Agility so Elusive?
Enterprises are unfortunately locked in a situation that Gartner Research identifies as “static application experience”. It is a paradigm of rigid and bloated application architecture, creating inertia that organizations find difficult to navigate around. This technological impedance is one of the primary reasons (besides organizational culture and structural challenges) at the root of organizational sluggishness.
To adapt to the challenges of the modern world, enterprises need to move from a static application experience to a more dynamic one. This can be achieved through the approach — wrapped around a goal — of a composable enterprise.
Composable Enterprise is the Future of Applications
A composable enterprise aims to create an application architecture wherein enterprises can deliver various functions through composition (as against development), by leveraging packaged business capabilities (PBCs). Gartner estimates that by 2023, 30% of new applications will be delivered, priced, and consumed as libraries of packaged business capabilities, up from fewer than 5% in 2020.
To be fair, this run-up to a composable enterprise is not a fresh-of-the-press revelation. Enterprises have been attempting to move from hardcore coding-based development to a more service-and-composition-oriented architecture over the last couple of decades, albeit only in pockets and not as fast as they would have wished.
Composable enterprise has become the need of the hour. And this is being driven by the sense of urgency created by multi-faceted disruption across industries, coupled with technological advancements that make it possible for organizations to accomplish it at an enterprise scale.
One such advancement comes in the form of low code digital transformation platforms.
How do Low-code Platforms drive Composable Enterprise?
According to Forrester Research, low-code development platforms are emerging as a key strategy to accelerate app delivery to support digital business transformation. They have the potential to make software development as much as ten times faster than traditional methods. Low-code platforms use visual composition and a modeling-based approach to speed up application development.
A good low-code platform drives the creation of a composable enterprise in two ways, both of which are critical for long term sustainability:
- By enabling rapid development of modern PBCs that deliver cutting-edge functionality without having to rebuild the organizational core, thereby protecting decades of investments in legacy and core applications
- By providing the core capability to create applications through composition and abstraction with a modeling-driven application environment, wherein the organization can create customer-centric business applications that deliver a dynamic omnichannel experience and drive the end-to-end customer journey
Is There a Catch?
Low code platforms come in various shapes and sizes, from those supporting the creation of relatively simpler stand-alone applications to those that enable the rapid development of mission-critical enterprise-scale applications with various functional components. Mostly, the latter category forms the core of a composable enterprise.
To drive a composable enterprise, a low code platform needs to be equipped with a variety of capabilities. It should:
- Speed up pro-grade development through modular, modeling-driven, and abstraction-oriented development
- Support a variety of business and technological needs, such as workflows, content management, straight-through transactions, mobile apps, collaboration, customer self-service, omnichannel customer engagement and automated business rules
- Offer service-oriented integration that can extend beyond the organizational boundaries
- Enable rationalization of application portfolio by helping avoid the introduction of multiple point-solutions in the mix with its own ability to develop a variety of applications quickly
- Prevent shadow IT through central governance, visibility, and guardrails, without hindering innovation
- Enable agile, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) and adherence to quality standards and architectural requirements
- Enable, even catalyze, change with traceability, thereby ensuring long term sustainability of business applications
The ability of organizations to accomplish a composable enterprise of the future will depend on a multitude of factors. It is essentially a transformational journey.
It is important to take the right steps and build in phases, starting from establishing a core low code platform and building peripheral capabilities with time. Picking the right set of applications and establishing early wins go a long way in building momentum towards the long-term goals.
Identification of the right low code platform that can drive your transformation journey to a composable enterprise is critical for achieving a composable enterprise.