The IT industry loves dramatic changes in technology architecture. In the 1990s, we had object-oriented programming. Service Oriented Architectures and Enterprise Service Buses have since built on these principles, but packaged them in new ways. The same thing is happening with microservices and containerization these days.
To help software developers more easily componentize enterprise application stacks so that organizations can choose the best-of-breed components to solve a specific business problem rather than being locked into one particular application. All companies have tried.
This has significantly increased the number of applications used by organizations. “Over the past decade, our clients have, on average, increased the number of their enterprise applications from 80 to over 700,” said Emma McGuigan, Accenture’s Enterprise and Industry Technology Leader.
The reason for this growth is that many software companies offer best-in-class or niche applications that meet specific business challenges. “Small applications he has to embrace the opportunities that providers offer,” he adds McGuigan.
Today’s business mantra is one of agility. Related to this, IT departments are being consolidated around the concept of composable business. Accenture is pushing CIOs and CTOs to become composable technology champions by composing and recomposing business-critical applications while ensuring interoperability.
However, traditional approaches to enterprise systems make composability difficult. To some extent, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are the antithesis of this composable model, according to Nick Jewell, his evangelist for Incorta Technologies.
“ERP systems are large, monolithic platforms that manage mission-critical business processes such as order management, transaction processing, and running supply chain operations,” he says. “Getting data from such complex platforms often involves extracting, transforming, and loading[ItrequiresasignificantITinvestmentinthedataarchitecturesuchasETL)toolsawarehouseforlong-termretentionofthatdata”
The purpose of composable IT is to integrate ERP data with other technology solutions so that your business can get benefits faster. According to a recent survey of 503 CIOs and 503 of his CTOs conducted by Censorwide for Rimini Street, 84% plan to invest in his composable ERP in 2023. Both CIOs (83%) and CTOs (85%) are keen to invest. According to the survey, his IT leaders in manufacturing (93%) have the greatest commitment to composable ERP, while utilities (23%) have the least.
According to analyst Gartner research, by 2024, 70% of large and medium-sized organizations will incorporate composability into their new application approval process. For Gartner, this means using enterprise IT architecture for business applications based on modular building blocks.
According to Gartner, one of the key differentiators of the composable enterprise experience is that applications are designed and redesigned with the direct participation of business and technology experts. This suggests that the business person and her IT person should work in a tightly integrated team.
Damien Smith is the CTO of Podium Analytics, a non-governmental organization and charity founded by former McLaren Group Chief Ron Dennis in 2019 with the goal of reducing sports injuries.
Podium Analytics collects data using applications that record school and club sports injuries. In September 2022, we introduced a tool based on the Concussion Recognition Tool (CRT5). This is a sports group concussion protocol designed to identify suspected concussions by individuals without medical training. This application removes players from play and provides guidance for seeking medical help.
One of the benefits of a configurable model for business is increased flexibility. This works on many levels. Podium Analytics uses Outsystems’ low-code platform to provide this flexibility. Although we outsource software development, the platform allows Podium Analytics to retain ownership of the generated code.
By using a low-code platform, Podium Analytics gains business agility. Refer more developers or replace existing outsourced software development providers more easily. “Because of low-code, another developer can get the work of another developer very quickly without having to do the kind of archaeological work of trying to figure out what the code is,” he says. says.
the essence of agility
Applications are effectively used to solve business problems based on the data they have access to. Accenture’s McGuigan explains how he and IT leaders can apply this as they build their software portfolios in the enterprise, stating: Instead, she believes CIOs should look across the enterprise and consider having a strategy that gives them the ability to unlock data stored in hundreds of applications.
As an example, according to Smith, Podium Analytics may decide it needs to build a new application that allows coaches and teachers to record certain types of sports injuries. “We build apps that allow that,” he says. “Then they can record these injuries and the data will come in. At some stage in the future there may be better ways to collect that data, but we don’t really care. I won’t do it.”
Such strategies can be applied across the technology infrastructures your company relies on. The theory behind composable business is that every component of the architecture can be replaced as needed. Giving an example of how this works, Smith says: [customer relationship management] system, but it doesn’t matter which system you use. They do pretty much the same thing, so I don’t mind. ”
If at some point Podium Analytics decides to change CRM providers, the main task will be to migrate the data to the new system. Smith’s view of the composable business is that it should be like a Lego brick model that allows IT decision makers to choose the modules they need to build their IT architecture. “You should be able to take one out and put another in without too much disruption to your business,” he says.
Agile software development methodologies go hand in hand with composable business strategies. This enables business leaders to quickly bring new ideas to market, test whether they work, and tweak them as needed. The Podium Analytics development methodology is based on a four week sprint cycle.
Regarding the software development process, Podium Analytics’ Smith says Outsystems uses flow diagrams. This allows the programmer to describe what the user sees, what happens to the data keyed in, and what screen to see next. There’s no formal documentation, but he says it’s easy to see what’s going on in some of the code.
cherry picking component
With the advent of software-as-a-service, Smith says there are many opportunities to evaluate the best products that may work very well in a particular business process. “He can just plug one of these products into his IT architecture and have all the components work together beautifully at a fraction of the cost, but why bother implementing his ERP at scale? Is there?”
This strategy allows IT leaders to take advantage of the best available technology from established software providers or start-ups. But Smith says he needs to be very conscious of his exit strategy if he chooses to take this approach. “If something good comes up or something goes wrong with an existing provider, I just want to remove that Lego brick and put another Lego brick in its place,” he adds.
An issue that IT leaders need to consider is whether data can be easily exported from existing provider systems and whether this data is in a format that can be easily used by the business. Smith says this policy is fundamental to Podium Analytics’ procurement process and one of the reasons he chose Outsystems over his provider of other low-code platforms.
In these uncertain times, Rimini Street’s EMEA general manager, Emmanuel Horses, says companies don’t want to be locked into one method. They need the ability to be more agile, and this is changing their approach to digital transformation, she says. “We have financial challenges, so we need the flexibility to change very quickly,” she said.
To avoid lock-in and make the most of existing and new data sources, IT leaders need an enterprise architecture that can support their business in a constantly changing environment and respond quickly to change. From an IT perspective, this is the goal of a composable business software strategy. However, this agility comes at a price. It adds complexity and can require your IT department to spend more time managing relationships with multiple suppliers.