APRIL 5, 2022

With talk of a new world order in the global economy, where basics such as energy and food prices are soaring, there's increasing business insecurity and volatility. To stay competitive and grow, companies need to quickly adapt to these arising challenges.

By adopting a composable approach, companies recognize change as an opportunity for innovation and understand uncertainty and volatility as part of this process. The right mindset, paired with intelligent processes allows them to make faster and more informed decisions, assist their employees, and keep up with deliveries.

What is composability and why is it important?

One of the main reasons companies have difficulties adapting to market changes is their current application portfolio. From data storage, internal and external communication, security, to compliance - technology and applications have become a part of every company's day-to-day work.

Companies need applications that can be assembled, reassembled, and extended: composability addresses precisely the inter-relationships of those components.

Commonly used in software and IT, composability is a design approach that enables quick adaptation to change while still being resilient. It consists of three pillars: composable thinking, composable technology, and composable architecture.

Composable businesses establish foundations and processes that are flexible and adaptable, thus making their business more capable of responding to challenges and transitioning according to new challenges. A composable business is, "an organization that delivers business outcomes and adapts to the pace of business change. It does this through the assembly and combination of packaged business capabilities (PBCs). PBCs are application building blocks that have been purchased or developed."*

In essence composability promotes business agility and resilience.

* Gartner®, Future of Applications: Delivering the Composable Enterprise , Dennis Gaughan, Yefim Natis, Gene Alvarez, Mark O'Neill, Refreshed 11 June 2021, Published 11 February 2020.


Figure 1: The Core Design Principles of Composability. Source: Becoming Composable: A Gartner Trend Insight Report

GARTNER is registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

The three pillars of a composable business

Composable business offer new ways to go about business thinking, architecture and technology.

Composable thinking

Composable thinking suggests leaders shift their perspective from viewing change as a risk to seeing it as an opportunity. This means, first, recognizing opportunities in external changes, such as recessions, a pandemic, or geopolitical changes, and using them as an opportunity to disrupt. Second, it means promoting the creative use of design principles throughout the company.

Gartner states "Executive leaders use the core principles of composability to accelerate their business and thrive in a new and more turbulent environment."*

Composable business architecture

Composable business architecture aligns business to IT, providing a framework of how to integrate both considering the principles of composability: adaptability, modularity, autonomy and reusability.

It focuses on creating the structural capabilities on all levels allowing businesses to seamlessly transition into new times and market and global requirements.

Composable technologies

Composable technologies are what supports businesses in their goals through processes. It suggests moving from monolithic applications to a landscape of purchased or developed applications or application blocks, so called Packaged Business Capabilities (PBC). According to Gartner “Packaged business capabilities are software components that represent a well-defined business capability.”** This will make companies able to pivot quickly.

*Gartner, Becoming Composable: A Gartner Trend Insight Report, Yefim Natis, Janelle Hill, Partha Iyengar, Gene Alvarez, Jennifer Loveland, Chris Howard, published 17 September 2021.

**Gartner, Future of Applications: Delivering the Composable Enterprise , Gartner, Dennis Gaughan, Yefim Natis, Gene Alvarez, Mark O'Neill, Refreshed 11 June 2021, Published 11 February 2020.

The core principles of composability

The core principles of composability should be applied throughout the different pillars of an organization. By incorporating them into the enterprise landscape, companies can sustainably grow despite market changes and volatility.

1. Modularity and autonomy to change processes without disrupting them

Modularity suggests businesses identify the challenges they face and in which situations they can have common standards to build applications to be used across different departments or in different scenarios.

Breaking applications into specialized microservices will maintain their autonomy. Whenever needed, a company can make changes or adapt parts of a process without having to disrupt them.

2. Discovery and orchestration to deliver business value

Composability is an ongoing process. Discovering new design opportunities makes businesses more resilient to unforeseen events. This ensures continuous delivery of business value and orchestration of scalable and flexible business applications.

3. Deeper collaboration for innovation

A composable enterprise consolidates business and IT by bringing them together for a given application as fusion teams. As per Gartner - "a multidisciplinary team that blends technology or analytics and business domain expertise and shares accountability for business and technology outcomes."*

By enabling fusion teams, application development stops being exclusively an IT responsibility and incorporates different departments in the decision-making process.

Composability lays the foundation for new business opportunities. Transitioning from a traditional approach to business to a composable takes time. Ultimately, starting your composability journey will increase agility, flexibility, and create the right mindset for companies to quickly recognize arising opportunities in midst of challenging times.

*Gartner, Definition of Fusion Team - Gartner Information Technology Glossary.

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