by Tony Harris • March 16, 2021
Companies everywhere are adopting digital transformation strategies that spell drastic changes for their business models. They want more flexibility, smoother workflows, and an overall more streamlined process. The composable enterprise presents itself as a solution. In this architecture, businesses are no longer bound by monolithic application suites. They can sample the best of new modular technology without license restrictions. Making up the structure of this brave new enterprise is something called a packaged business capability.
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Gartner defines packaged business capabilities (or PBCs) as “software components representing a well-defined business capability.” It’s a bit of a mouthful, but it refers to a business service that can stand alone and can by consumed whole by the end client. It must be fully autonomous–it doesn’t depend on any outside data or service to complete a task. These packaged business capabilities serve as the building blocks of larger app suites, all stitched together by an API.
The defining qualities of a PBC apart from Gartner’s definition are: small scope, fully autonomous, and consumed as a whole by the end user. A monolith application can also count as a packaged business capability, but only if its scope of functionality is small enough to fit the definition.
Look closer at a packaged business capability, and you’ll often see it’s made up of microservices. These are small services, also autonomous but are capable of working together to carry out the ultimate task of the PBC. Microservices make up the design and construction of an app, and packaged business capabilities contain the app services.
Why are these important? When done right, packaged business capabilities can streamline your workflows by cutting down on the different services and interfaces you need to interact with on a regular basis. In a composable enterprise, you’re not limited to one or two program suites. But there’s a downside to working with services from companies A, B, and C. You’ll have to work within interfaces A, B, and C as well, and these services may not communicate well by default. You may spend more time dealing with interfaces and reports than you spend on important business processes!
A packaged business capability can stitch these microservices together with an API to streamline your workflow and cut down on back-end management. Instead of three interfaces, you need only work with one. This could also be a prime opportunity to automate workflows and unify data for further workflow streamlining.
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One example of a packaged business capability could be a virtual shopping cart in an e-commerce service. Your shopping cart makes use of the store catalog, pricing, and checkout. But when making a purchase, you interact with the shopping cart as a whole.
On the business side, you could use a PBC to handle customer and account management. A collection of microservices would gather contact information, configure customer roles, handle customer service requests, and so on. PBCs however, will vary widely depending on the nature of your business.
If a packaged business capability acts as a building block for larger application suites, the API is what binds the blocks together. Likewise, an API will be responsible for combining microservices into one PBC. If you’re looking for more composable commerce in your business, you’ll want to become more familiar with API management.
But API building isn’t as complicated as it may sound. You can build one in an afternoon, with all the features and security you need, without learning how to code. DreamFactory makes the process a breeze using your existing databases. But if you want to customize your APIs further, there are guides and tutorials to guide you through each step.
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