Ben  Franklin Ben Franklin | 21 Sep 2022

Finding the pieces of the puzzle: composable architecture

Offering increased flexibility and great potential for scalability, with functionality tailored to the business's unique needs, composable architecture takes digital agility to a new level.

Adopting a modular approach to a technology stack empowers businesses to bring together best of breed solutions that create value, where value is needed. This draws a stark contrast to monolithic systems, where the front-end and the back-end are tied together and capabilities are part of an "all in one" package.

If you would like to dive into composable architecture, then we suggest you take a detour now and visit this blog

Composable architecture offers a host of benefits for businesses. As with any approach, however, crafting a strategy means looking at the business's core. From goals to how professional teams work and plans for growth, there are a lot of factors that come into play.

Shifting focus to mid-market businesses

Varying businesses have varying needs. The size of the business, the structure of its internal teams and the digital and growth strategies are just some of the factors that could influence the approach to a tech suite.

How can a business’s size impact this decision? More specifically, we will investigate the benefits of composable architecture for mid-market businesses – alongside key considerations. 

But let's start by diving into which companies fall within the mid-market category. 

The definition proposed by Gov.UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills suggests that mid-market businesses are grouped based on annual revenue. That is in the £25m-£500m bracket. 

For Quba, as digital specialists within the mid-market niche, our definition centres on a business's outlook towards their digital suite. A mid-market business is likely to have a digital team that supports projects. However, they would need external digital guidance and specialist support to deliver digital projects with a coherent strategy, that takes into consideration every facet of their business - while leaving room for growth and evolution. 

In this blog..

We will dive into the benefits of composable architecture. We will also be looking at requirements that mid-market businesses can consider to inform their technical roadmap in the future. 

The benefits of composable architecture

Speed that empowers your business

The ability to pivot in real-time has the power to make or break a digital strategy. Fast execution is key to staying ahead of the curve and innovating continuously. With composable architecture, it's possible to move even faster. 

Headless content management systems separate the back-end and the front-end. For professional teams, this means that developers and creatives are not limited by each other’s capacity. 

Operations are optimised when teams work independently, each focusing on what they know best. Reducing obstacles also means changes can be published faster. 

With a microservices architecture swapping out, scaling or simply adding a new capability can be done independently - and brought to market faster. Leveraging a custom mix of tools effectively means adding functionalities where they're needed and supercharging your service. 

In a world where digital experiences are increasingly key to a business's success, speed translates into capitalising on evolving consumer behaviour and trends. With multiple data streams available to inform a business strategy, a digital suite that enables teams to take insights and turn them into action is a recipe for success. 

Contrary to a monolithic system's rollouts and updates - which can be a waiting game - composable architecture means your business can do more. Rapidly.

More room for differentiation

Time to reflect on the issue at hand: differentiation. A business’s growth is influenced by how an experience stacks against a competitor’s. In the case of digital experiences, a modular approach to technology can be leveraged to create a strategy for competitive CX.

Composable architecture empowers teams to opt for best of breed technologies across the board. With more flexibility and control, it's possible to add more value in all the right places - while adopting innovative strategies for your audience. 

As customer expectations rise, experiences become a key element of a business's strategy. According to the 4th Edition of the "State of the Connected Customer" report by Salesforce, "80% of customers now consider the experience a company provides to be as important as its products and services". 

Emerging digital tools will play a role in how customer experiences evolve in the future. More content and more customer touchpoints make CX strategies increasingly complex - but also increasingly vital. 

As omnichannel marketing takes centre stage, headless content management systems and ecommerce solutions fuel growth. 

With headless, content is re-optimised and re-published across a range of channels. The result is less duplication and the consolidation of platforms that require management or updates. 

A brand's digital presence expands, while professional teams benefit from a seamless authoring experience and a breezy editorial flow. For more on headless, this handy resource from Contenstack covers a lot of ground on headless content management systems.

This opens a world of possibilities for a business's digital presence and marketing capabilities.

Resilience for professional teams

A business's customers are key. But a business's team is just as important. Beyond creating value for consumers, composable architecture benefits professional teams and their collaboration. 

When teams can work independently, there is more space to push their creative boundaries and test and trial out of the box solutions. As working processes are optimised, there is greater capacity to do more with tools that are more flexible. 

At the intersection of faster time to market and greater independency, is innovation and a test and trial culture. The possibility to do more, easily, makes for happier teams. 

De-risking, at lower cost

Monolithic systems are tied to high maintenance costs that range from hosting to upkeep and maintenance. The proliferation of cloud services has led to popularising subscription-based payment models, favoured for their flexibility.

Composable architecture suggests building blocks that adapt to a business's needs, while cost adapts as well. 

With cost scaled depending on services needed, continuous improvements are easier to make. Businesses are empowered to pivot with shifting market needs and adapt their strategy to deliver on growth targets with more ease. 

This level of flexibility is also tied to lower risk. It is possible to go in and implement changes to specific modules. When there is a need to rebuild, fix or patch something, it’s possible to do so without editing the whole system. Effectively, you are less likely to introduce breaking changes.

Lower risk also extends to improvements. Changing the front-end doesn’t need to be tied in with a change in the underlying content and architecture. There is no need to rewrite every system when replacing one of its building blocks. This type of flexibility offers a new pace for businesses.

Growth that stands the test of time 

Composable architecture proposes a dynamic, nimble digital suite. 

Software is tailored to a business, and microservices can be modified independently, with lower risk. Sharing data across multiple systems is easier, making it possible to use machine learning to analyse them. 

Cloud hosting de-risks your platform, with features such as autoscaling enabling your architecture to adjust to the cloud workload automatically, based on need. Long term contracts that were the norm for on-premise hosting are no longer required. 

Digital capabilities follow your business's growth, while flexibility and scalability are taken to a whole new level. 

Composable architecture offers businesses all the ingredients for an agile, future-proof solution that will empower teams and delight customers. 

Key considerations for mid-market businesses

Your team takes centre stage

Understanding what software set up is tailored to your business, and whether composable architecture is the way to go, means looking within your team.

Putting in place a headless CMS requires a lot of development work. It’s important to understand whether there is an in-house team capable of undertaking this project, or if outsourcing is the way to go. 

Once the solution is implemented, the possibilities are endless. This begs the question: how are the marketing and creative teams organised, and what changes should be implemented to leverage its full capabilities? 

Headless empowers teams looking to drive growth through omnichannel strategies. A key area of focus is the skills within the business, and how new digital architecture would propel their work forward. 

All in all, there is a need to identify the specialised talent pool that will be used to capitalise on the benefits of composable.

Tailoring digital to your growth targets

A key question to ask is whether a digital transformation project is aligned with your business goals. 

For example, if you are looking to expand your online presence to other platforms or have a presence across multiple platforms, then composable architecture might be an option to consider. 

Similarly, if you are looking at efficient localisation, or scaling up the services offered by your platform, then this might be the ideal option. 

There is a multitude of factors that come into play when designing an approach to a digital transformation project. Some questions to consider are as follows: 

  • What growth plans have you set for the near future?
  • What digital experience management goals are you working towards?
  • How many platforms or devices is your business present on? 
  • How are your teams organised? Are there plans to expand the skillsets?
  • What are your marketing plan’s goals and tactics – and how does digital experience loop into these?

Researching and identifying the solution that will propel your strategy forward means looking within your business and the technology landscape. The aim is to create a platform that will result in the right balance between investment, control, flexibility and scalability.

Thinking of next steps…

Building a new platform using composable architecture is an investment for a business and its team. This means that it might not be the ideal next step for every business. 

Or it might be just the thing you need so your business has the tools to deliver innovative customer experiences while enabling your team to think out of the box. Deciding on how to best create the roadmap to transform digitally is linked to your business's operations and unique needs. 

This blog has covered a lot of ground on how composable architecture can benefit a business. We have also talked about some of the factors mid-market businesses can consider in drafting their digital transformation strategy. 

To make an informed decision though, it is important to audit and evaluate your products or services, market, internal skillsets, existing systems and plans for growth. If you would like to explore composable architecture for your business, it's time to speak to a Quba digital specialist.