Tony Harris - February 2, 2021
Architect studying a composable enterprise drawing

Traditionally, companies purchased the technology they needed to complete tasks efficiently and accurately. Today’s technology doesn’t evolve in a straight line, though. It grows at an exponential rate that shortens the life span of tools. When technology moves so quickly, an organisations needs to adopt a hyper selective approach – and in doing so move towards the phenomenon of the ‘composable enterprise’.

Did you know you can generate a full-featured, documented, and secure REST API in minutes using DreamFactory? Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how! Our guided tour will show you how to create an API using an example MySQL database provided to you as part of the trial!

Start Your Composable Enterprise Journey Now

Short life cycles have contributed to the rise of companies that offer subscriptions for applications, automation tools, infrastructure as a service, and other cloud-based technologies over purchasing long-term licenses to use tech products. A 2020 report from Gartner lists composite architectures as one of five emerging trends that will drive the next decade of technology innovation.

Businesses need to undergo a digital transformation to adopt the building blocks of composable enterprises. The following sections will introduce you to the key concepts and benefits of composable business models.

What Is a Composable Enterprise?

A composable enterprise gets to pick and choose between a wide range of tools to stay ahead of competitors and satisfy clients. The business gets to “compose” its IT architecture without committing to specific tools.

Composable enterprises remain flexible by choosing cloud-based services instead of investing in technology ownership. Instead of buying a software suite that business users will rely on for years, they buy memberships in modular components like:

  • SaaS (software as a service)
  • IaaS (infrastructure as a service)
  • PaaS (platform as a service)

Legacy systems often trapped businesses by forcing them to choose compatible tools. Marketing software might have an ESB (enterprise service bus) that limited the other tools it could communicate with. Once you locked yourself into an expensive system, you had to make decisions based on what you already owned.

The future of applications offers significantly more flexibility through APIs that make it possible for a wider range of tools to communicate without confusion. API management systems practically eliminate limitations by:

  • Standardizing security authentication across third-party tools
  • Updating outdated, less secure API formats to REST API
  • Monitoring and logging which users access tools, files, and data
  • Organizing APIs into a catalog that’s easy to access, review, and search
  • Tracking API and application performances

Composable enterprises embrace these features to adapt to sudden changes in their industries while improving security and efficiency.

Benefits of Becoming a Composable Enterprise

While the benefits of becoming a composable enterprise will vary from business to business, most organizations can expect:

  • Lower DevOps expenses
  • A more reliable IT infrastructure with built-in fail-safes
  • Access to the latest microservices that perform specific business functions very well
  • Flexible access to data and applications, which comes in handy when an unexpected event like the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal operations
  • Automation that helps employees focus on deep work instead of mindless tasks
  • Deeper insights into data
  • More opportunities to interact with customers, clients, and vendors
  • A streamlined approach to IT that only includes the tools your teams need

Steps You Can Take to Fit the Composable Enterprise Model

Companies with decades of experience are likely to have legacy systems that make it difficult for them to adopt new technologies. Other barriers to digital transformation include:

  • Vertical silos that prevent some departments from evolving with the rest of the company
  • Risk-averse stakeholders who don’t believe in the necessity of digital transformation
  • The expense and time of training employees to use new operating systems and web services
  • Missing IT professionals who can provide appropriate guidance while updating the IT infrastructure and adopting new platforms

Ideally, CIOs will take the lead to overcome these and other challenges. Organizations will experience some growing pains, but good leadership should result in overall improvements. Some of the steps you need to take include:

  • Identifying the right applications and microservices for your business
  • Choosing an API management system that lets all tools communicate with each other (most companies say that they already use more than 125 apps, so it’s critical to find a reliable solution to API generation and management)
  • Communicating with vendors to ensure they understand and follow security protocols
  • Exploring cloud service providers that offer rapid scaling
  • Deciding which legacy systems you need to retire
  • Establishing policies for reviewing and adopting new technologies as they emerge

Did you know you can generate a full-featured, documented, and secure REST API in minutes using DreamFactory? Sign up for our free 14 day hosted trial to learn how! Our guided tour will show you how to create an API using an example MySQL database provided to you as part of the trial!

Start Your Composable Enterprise Journey Now

Start Your Composable Enterprise Journey with DreamFactory

Becoming a composable enterprise relies on choosing an API solution that makes it easy for your IT department and other teams to work efficiently. DreamFactory offers a no-code platform that requires minimal training for basic operations. You also benefit from features like live API docs, API publishing, and data mesh that combines unrelated databases.

Start your free DreamFactory trial so you can see how much it contributes to your plan to become a composable enterprise that thrives while less agile competitors struggle to keep up.