Leverage composable tech to drive business forward

Composable architecture: How to future-proof your business tech stack

Technology is changing at lightning speed along with market trends and customer expectations. Adding more to it, as per a recent survey by the Conference Board, 93% of corporate CEOs are gearing up for a recession over the next 12 to 18 months. The immediate requirement for these leaders is to ensure the resilience of their technology stacks for the future, thereby keeping their businesses ready for a diverse range of unforeseen circumstances. In such a scenario, delivering customized user experience through composable architecture could ensure long-term survival and success.Customer experience is prioritized by 44.5% of enterprises worldwide, as per a 2021 Statista report. Achieving this in today's dynamic environment requires effectively using technology to create and deliver top-notch products and services.To help organizations respond to that sense of urgency, here are five tips to consider when futureproofing your business tech stack.1. Customized User ExperienceBrands, on their composable journey, must focus on offering personalized user experiences, attained using relevant user data right from the start. McKinsey reports that 71% of consumers expect personalized interactions from brands. Besides improving user experience, brands must focus on designing systems that scale with the growing user base and its dynamic functionality needs.2. Coordination with other business unitsContrary to traditional stereotypes, IT does not function in isolation. In fact, to ensure business success, technology initiatives must align with the business's overall strategy and add to the brand's short- and long-term goals. However, transitioning from a monolithic structure to a composable one must be iterative. Once a new technology is integrated within one business unit, it can eventually be rolled out to other units. While preparing for future challenges, the choice of technology will impact multiple business units during a business's transitional phase.To make sure a specific new tech works well for all units, it's essential to plan and think about the opportunities, problems and trends that might occur. This requires effective collaboration across business units. Given the interconnected nature of these departments, proper goal alignment must be ensured to deliver compatible, scalable, flexible and secure results. For seamless and customized solutions across different touchpoints, the chosen technology should be capable of scaling and accommodating new process changes across the organization.3. Constant hyper-personalization and differentiation The importance of customer experience (CX) is highly discussed in the current business ecosystem. Brands are constantly innovating new solutions to thrive in the face of competition. The only way to do that is by adopting highly scalable tech stacks that incorporate speedy change processes. While customers expect a more compelling experience, selecting any technology for the sake of it or, worse, by mimicking other brands will not work and will lead a brand to lose its competitive advantage. Instead, they must adopt best-of-breed components and change stack parts when required, creating the much-required hyper-personalized experiences.4. A flexible approachBusinesses are more unpredictable than ever, increasing the potential stakes for which leaders must be prepared. While tech leaders know that a tech revolution is coming, the exact nature of the change remains unknown. This unpredictability will lead to rapid and diverse market requirements and changes in user preferences. By investing in and leveraging technology, brands can quickly adapt to these changes and make necessary system adjustments. Furthermore, flexible tech is more interoperable, allowing smoother integration with other tools and platforms.5. Prepare your organization for the futureDon't bite off more than you can chew when it comes to composability. Business leaders can decide the number of components they want to switch at a time. Unlike monoliths, composable architectures allow business leaders to determine the number of components they want to change at a time. This makes the shift a lot smoother and much quicker. There is no rush to modernize in haste. With customer needs and industry trends changing dynamically, flexibility in business functionality is the only way forward and achievable through composable architecture. But before getting into the composable journey, organizations must find their motivation and identify their reasons for going composable to deliver a differentiated experience to their audience.

The costs of adopting composable architecture

While determining tech stack pricing in monoliths is relatively easy, the entire decision-making process is lengthy due to the involvement of multiple decision-making units.  Composable architectures, on the other hand, meet dynamic business requirements and are far more affordable than legacy systems. For this reason, adopting composable application architecture will reduce software management costs significantly by 2024, as per Gartner.  How?  Let's find out. Selection costs Like decision-making, the request for proposal (RFP) process in monolith systems is elaborate and complex, covering every facet of a digital commerce system. The POCs of such architectures are also complicated and time-consuming to craft since all functionalities are tightly coupled. On the flip side, the request for proposal (RFP) scope of a modular architecture is streamlined, focusing only on the critical functionalities.  Additionally, composable commerce offers easily accessible free trial periods via the vendor's website. Planning costs Though a composable approach includes an elaborate MVP (minimum viable product) design phase, the solution can be implemented incrementally through a "strangler" pattern, ensuring a smooth and eventual function-by-function transition without disrupting the existing system. The process lowers risks and reduces end-to-end planning and coordination. Development and customization costs The development cost for a composable commerce system is much lower since component customization is achieved using flexible APIs. As modular structures feature existing backend functionalities, developers can focus on creating the front ends, accelerating the development cycle. Additionally, instead of developing all components from scratch, brands can build their solution using the best-of-breed components tailored to their specific needs. Finally, incremental launching using an MVP leads to faster realization of investments, in contrast to a monolith structure where any investment made in customization is wasted with a shift to a newer platform.  Integration & migration costs Myth: Integration and migration costs to composable architecture are higher, requiring the internal integration of components to create a cohesive solution.  Truth: That's not the case.  Let's not forget the API first approach with flexible APIs that make way for easier decoupling and lower integration costs of MACH-based composable stacks. Training costs Developers using a composable solution need to understand the entire system and its components, but the training costs are significantly reduced. Because these components follow the MACH architecture, they're easy to learn, making it quicker for development teams. This helps cut down on training costs. Reduced hardware maintenance Contrary to traditional architectures requiring rigorous hardware maintenance, MACH architecture prioritizes scaling and maintenance of required composables. The paradigm shift in maintenance can reduce hardware maintenance costs over time. However, it has to be evaluated to see how different composables add value or turn out to be more cost-effective than monoliths.  Streamlined resource management Adopting composable architecture simplifies resource management greatly, allowing efficient allocation of resources. Further, MACH architecture reduces operational overhead costs significantly, enabling efficient cost savings in the long run for composables. While the initial adoption of composable architecture requires careful planning and investment, the long-term cost savings potential is substantial. Companies can unlock substantial cost reductions, streamline processes, and enhance scalability by adhering to principles like MACH-aligned composables, prioritizing extensibility, and ensuring team alignment. Such a strategic shift isn't just about technology — it's a move toward a more economical and agile future for your organization. Invest in a technological transformation One cannot deny the transformative potential that a shift toward composable architecture holds for organizations seeking to optimize their operations, minimize expenditures, and boost scalability. It is true that this transition demands preliminary strategizing and investment; however, the enduring advantages it offers are indisputable. Composable architecture goes beyond merely streamlining resource management, reducing training expenses, and diminishing hardware upkeep. It introduces an unprecedented degree of adaptability and versatility by leveraging modular, top-quality components. Hence, embracing this strategic tactic is not just a technological transformation. It signifies a stride towards a future that promises greater cost efficiency, agility and prosperity for your organization.

Revolutionizing front-end development: The power of composable design systems

In the dynamic world of software development, flexibility and adaptability are crucial. Front-end developers, in particular, require solutions that empower them to create innovative applications and drive business success. Herein lies the transformative power of a composable design system. Nik Shenoy, Director of Software Development at Orium, described the power of composable design systems this way, “Some of the same architectural and design patterns that are applied for back-end microservices can be adapted for front-end use to save time and provide more functionality.” What is a composable design system?  A composable design system is a collection of reusable design elements, design decisions, and proven conventions in addition to the standards that guide how these atomic elements work together.  In the context of software development, and particularly front-end development, the composable design system (or component library) is a collection of reusable components that developers can utilize to construct user interfaces (UI). Each component in the library represents a distinct UI element, such as a button, a form, or a navigation bar. The utility of a component library lies in its reusability and consistency. Instead of writing new code for each UI element every time, developers can use pre-defined components from the library, saving significant time and effort. In addition, this approach ensures UI consistency across different parts of an application or even across multiple applications within an organization. “If you're not using a component library, you're probably running into issues with performance, flexibility and accessibility,” Shenoy said. “Focus on your business requirements instead.” How does a component library work? The concept of a component library fits perfectly into the model of a composable design system. By breaking down the UI into individual, reusable components, developers and designers can compose their interfaces according to specific needs and contexts.  This modular approach offers exceptional flexibility and adaptability, empowering developers to create remarkable user experiences. A component library serves as the building blocks of composable architecture. With the rise of composable commerce, DXP, CDP, and other composable applications, the importance of a well-structured, versatile component library has never been more apparent. Benefits of a component library tied to a composable design system For businesses, adopting a composable design system tied to a component library can translate into tangible benefits like:  Reduced development time Improve UI consistency Enhance user experience Drive business growth “We regularly use component libraries to ensure a consistent experience that embodies specific standards,” Shenoy said. “This allows us to provide a better experience while unlocking more time to spend on specific business outcomes.” Transform business from the inside out In conclusion, the benefits of a composable design system tied to a component library are manifold. For front-end developers interested in connected software design systems, this approach offers flexibility, ease of implementation and a wealth of resources.  By adopting such a system, developers can drive innovation, enhance productivity, and ultimately, propel business success. This is a testament to the transformative power of composable design systems, redefining how we approach software development in the modern digital era.

Five composable technology trends that will define 2024

Amidst game-changing shifts in the digital landscape, understanding the impact of composable technology is pivotal for businesses seeking a competitive edge in 2024. With personalized content, consistent and connected journeys, new features that make your digital life easier, and robust security measures ensuring your data's safety, composable technology is the secret sauce behind future-ready business operations.We have identified five key trends that businesses can’t afford to ignore. These trends will define how businesses stay ahead of the competition in 2024 and retain their best customers. This evolution of the modern consumer experience is not only the norm, it’s the expectation. We’re not just talking about another tech fad here; these are the trends that are already redefining how businesses operate, how consumers interact with brands, and how personalized digital experiences are delivered. 1. Composable content: The new normThe term “composable content” refers to a method of content creation where content is broken down into small, reusable building blocks and then these blocks can be combined and recombined to suit various digital channels.In 2024, composable content will become the norm rather than the exception. Businesses increasingly recognize its value, as it allows content teams to tailor content to specific audiences and platforms without reinventing the wheel each time.One of the key drivers behind this trend is the rise of mobile apps and other digital platforms. Composable content allows businesses to deliver a consistent message across all these platforms, enhancing the overall customer experience."As we navigate the evolving landscape of consumer expectations, the agility offered by composable content becomes indispensable. Businesses are poised to adopt a more modular approach to content creation, enabling them to assemble and reassemble digital experiences to match the precise needs of the moment. This fluidity ensures that our messaging remains not only relevant but perfectly timed and targeted, meeting our audience exactly where they are."- Neha Sampat, Contentstack CEO2. Composable design: Flexibility at its bestComposable design takes the principles of composable content and applies them to software development and architecture. In a composable design framework, software is built using autonomous, exchangeable components that can function independently or together. This approach enables developers to build complex systems with simple parts, allowing for greater flexibility and scalability.As we move into 2024, expect to see a surge in the adoption of composable design principles. This trend will be driven by the need for businesses to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and customer preferences.“In 2024, we will witness the rise of composable architecture as the new standard for technology innovation. Just as LEGO bricks allow you to build anything you can imagine, composable technology will empower businesses to assemble customized solutions, adapting swiftly to evolving needs. The era of rigid, monolithic systems is coming to an end, making way for a more flexible, agile and cost-effective future.”– Jasmin Guthmann, VP MACH Alliance and Head of Corp Communications, Contentstack3. Composable DXPs: The future of content managementComposable digital experience platforms (DXP), with a headless CMS at its core, are set to revolutionize how businesses manage and create content. Unlike legacy DXP platforms, which often come with a one-size-fits-all approach, composable DXP platforms offer greater flexibility.In a composable DXP, various functions, such as content creation, editing and publishing, are treated as standalone services that can be used separately or together. This modular approach allows businesses to hyper-optimize their content management and add on any extensions and applications to suit their unique business needs.4. Democratized generative AI Gartner has highlighted democratized generative AI as one of the top strategic tech trends for 2024. Imagine being able to harness the power of artificial intelligence to create unique content or designs. That's the promise of democratized generative AI. It's no longer just about using AI; it's about creating with it.When combined with generative AI, composable technology opens up endless possibilities for innovation and creativity. Imagine being able to leverage the power of generative AI to compose unique products, services or experiences tailored to your audience. Composable tech and generative AI are poised to revolutionize industries and empower individuals and businesses to push the boundaries of what's possible. “The simple tasks are going away now that AI is here. We traditionally spend so much time designing interfaces to make doing simple tasks easier (how many screens should this be? Is the button in the right place?) but now so much of that can be done on our behalf. It’s really changing the interface for doing work as drastically as the advent of the web did.”– Conor Egan, Vice President of Product and Engineering, Contentstack5. Prioritizing composability in application planningGartner forecasts that by 2024, 70% of large and medium-sized enterprises will prioritize composability in their application planning. This underlines the growing consensus among businesses that flexible and adaptable software architectures are crucial for staying competitive in the digital age. This means that we’ll see the adoption of composable technologies across more industries than just tech and e-commerce. There will be a focus on flexibility and adaptability in industries like financial services, healthcare, higher education, and travel and tourism. Businesses need to be able to react quickly to market and customer behavior changes, no matter the industry. With a composable tech stack, they can do exactly that without their monolithic technologies holding them back. This transformative shift is a fundamental evolution in how industries operate, scale and deliver better personalized experiences.Learn how a Composable DXP, built with the industry-leading headless CMS at its core, can transform your business from the inside out.

Recession-proofing business with composable architecture

Businesses' opportunities for digital growth are facing blockers due to unstable economic conditions and inflation that are likely to continue deep into 2031. As the volatility of the global markets continues, business leaders and C-suite executives need digital agility, budget revamping, vendor updates and enhanced sales reach. However, some businesses still lack the caliber to navigate these tricky times. Amid market turbulence, can composable architecture help modernize businesses effectively? Preparing for growth Continued growth requires consistent efforts, and all industries, from healthcare to manufacturing, are running that marathon. However, only those businesses that have adopted scalable and agile systems will win the race against economic downturn. The markets are more dynamic than ever, with requirements changing at the speed of imagination. Under such circumstances, the last thing brands need are hefty monoliths incapable of scaling and adapting to the business needs.  The solution?  A modular structure that evolves with the business, incorporating flexibility and ease of expansion within its folds. Composable architectures based on technology stack agnosticism, API support and cloud-native foster the required scalability.  Enhancing business resilience According to a Workday report, 52% of business leaders have recognized an acceleration gap impeding the digital growth of their companies. Thankfully, composable architecture can help bridge this gap. By adopting a composable system, businesses can deploy and test functionalities much faster. With the ease of experimenting, scaling, and implementing new functionalities, brands can be more adaptable to any change, be it adding new capabilities during market growth or streamlining operations stemming from financial upheavals.  Profit generation Maintaining profitability and business sustainability are of prime importance during an economic downturn. Besides taking measured steps to enhance cash flow, reduce fixed costs and increase efficiency, companies must protect their existing market share and discover new customer segments to stay afloat during an economic downturn.  Composability comes to the rescue yet again by enhancing revenue and reducing costs by letting companies buy only what is needed rather than investing in a broad range of irrelevant capabilities. After surveying 4000 C-suite executives in the Value Untangled report, Accenture posits that agility featuring high interoperability backed by composable tech is the hallmark of successful brands.  Fosters a "fail fast" approach  In an attempt to "trim the fat" during an economic crisis, businesses often make the grave mistake of jamming innovation and, as a result, fail to develop alternative models. While hacking innovation reduces short-term production costs, it doesn't benefit in the long run as revenue flow stops.  To keep the profit cogs functioning seamlessly, companies must continue experimenting with innovations, embracing rapid failures and swift learning to realign with market needs. Many enterprises and startups have adopted this ideology, and by embracing composability, they can easily construct business components using flexible data and then test the resulting model to see if it's viable in the market. During turbulent economic times, composability provides businesses with the opportunity missed by traditional monoliths — scalability. With a modular development approach using best-of-breed services, companies can enjoy the freedom to thrive in the face of economic disruption.

Revolutionizing travel: MACH-powered personalized digital experiences

The travel industry has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, driven primarily by technological advancements and changing consumer expectations. One of the most influential shifts has been the adoption of MACH architecture to create personalized digital experiences that cater to the unique preferences and needs of travelers. MACH, an acronym for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless, offers a revolutionary approach to designing and delivering travel services, redefining how we explore the world. Microservices: Building blocks of customization Microservices, a core principle of MACH architecture, involve breaking down complex systems into smaller, manageable components. In the travel industry, this translates to dividing various aspects of the travel journey into discrete services that can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently.  For instance, booking, reservations, itinerary management, payment processing and customer support can all function as separate microservices. This modular approach not only enhances development speed and flexibility but also facilitates the creation of highly personalized experiences. API-first: Enabling seamless integration An API-first approach ensures that every microservice is equipped with well-defined APIs that enable seamless communication and data exchange between different components of the travel ecosystem. Travel companies can integrate with third-party services, such as airlines, hotels, car rental agencies and local experience providers, to offer their customers a holistic range of services.  This integration extends to travel meta-search engines, allowing travelers to access comprehensive information and options on a single platform. Cloud-native: Unleashing scalability and accessibility The cloud-native aspect of MACH architecture empowers travel companies to leverage the scalability and reliability of cloud computing. As the travel industry experiences fluctuations in demand due to seasonal trends, holidays and global events, the ability to scale up or down resources quickly is crucial.  Cloud-native infrastructure ensures personalized experiences remain consistent and accessible regardless of the simultaneous number of users accessing the platform. Moreover, cloud technologies also enhance data security and disaster recovery capabilities, reassuring travelers about the safety of their information. Headless: Flexibility in design and delivery Headless architecture decouples the front-end presentation layer from the back-end logic, allowing travel companies to deliver personalized experiences across various devices and touchpoints.  With the rise of mobile apps, smart devices, and voice assistants, travelers expect a consistent and seamless experience, whether using a smartphone, tablet, or smart speaker. Headless architecture ensures that the content and services can be optimized for each platform without compromising on quality or user experience. Benefits for travelers: Hyper-personalization and seamlessness The adoption of MACH architecture in the travel industry yields numerous benefits for travelers:  Hyper-personalization: With access to a wealth of data about travelers' preferences, past behaviors and interests, travel companies can offer tailored recommendations and suggestions. Whether it's suggesting destinations, accommodations, activities or travel routes, hyper-personalization ensures that every aspect of the journey resonates with the traveler's individual tastes. Seamless booking process: Integrating various services through well-defined APIs simplifies the booking process. Travelers can seamlessly book flights, accommodations, transportation and activities without navigating multiple platforms or encountering compatibility issues. Real-time updates: Microservices enable real-time updates, ensuring travelers receive timely information about flight delays, gate changes, traffic conditions and more. This information empowers travelers to make informed decisions and adapt their plans as needed. Consistent experience: Headless architecture guarantees a consistent user experience across different devices and channels. Whether travelers interact with a website, a mobile app or a voice assistant, the experience remains cohesive and user-friendly. The road ahead: Transforming travel experiences As the travel industry continues to evolve, MACH-powered personalized digital experiences are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of travel. By harnessing the power of microservices, APIs, cloud-native infrastructure and headless architecture, travel companies can create tailor-made journeys that cater to the unique desires of every traveler. This approach enhances customer satisfaction and establishes a competitive edge in an increasingly tech-savvy and experience-driven market.  As more players within the travel industry embrace MACH principles, we can anticipate a future where travel is not just about reaching a destination but about embarking on a personalized adventure that resonates deeply with each individual explorer.

How a MACH-driven approach to building digital experiences fast-tracks product launches

In today's fast-paced digital environment, having the right technology in place can make all the difference in adapting rapidly and staying ahead of the competition. This is where a MACH-driven approach to building digital experiences truly shines.  Embracing MACH-compliant composable technology enables development teams to create innovative digital experiences that can be launched quickly and effectively.  In this article, we dive into the world of MACH architecture, examining its key benefits and how it can expedite product launches. What does MACH mean? MACH stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless. These four principles form the foundation of MACH architecture: a modern and flexible approach to building digital experiences that prioritize adaptability, scalability and fast delivery. Microservices: Modular, self-contained components that enable rapid development and deployment while reducing the risk of downtime. API-first: APIs are at the heart of MACH architecture, allowing seamless communication between microservices and third-party systems and facilitating continuous integration and delivery. Cloud-native: Built for scalability and hosted in the cloud, MACH-compliant technology is designed to meet the changing needs of businesses that require agility and cost-efficiency. Headless CMS: The Headless CMS decouples content management from presentation, enabling developers to create and manage content efficiently across multiple channels, offering a truly omnichannel experience. How MACH-compliant composable tech drives innovation In a world of constant change, composable technology offers a powerful solution. By embracing MACH architecture, software engineering teams can build personalized digital experiences that are both innovative and can help future-proof the business. Here's how they can leverage MACH-driven solutions to drive innovation: Flexibility and customization: MACH architecture allows developers to mix and match components that suit their specific requirements. With the ability to select the most appropriate tools and frameworks, developers can create truly unique experiences tailored to their audience's needs. They’re no longer stuck in a platform that only allows them a certain way to do things. Modular development: By breaking down complex applications into smaller, manageable microservices, MACH enables development teams to work independently on different components, resulting in higher productivity and quality across the board Seamless integration: Thanks to API-first communication, development teams can quickly and easily integrate their tools of choice, expanding their technology stack to keep pace with evolving market trends. It also enables them to lose what they no longer use (and stop paying for it).  How to build personalized digital experiences Creating personalized digital experiences that resonate with users requires a keen understanding of your audience and their needs. Here's how a MACH-driven approach can help: Use a Headless CMS to design and tailor content for various channels and user segments. Build an API-first strategy that allows you to connect to analytics, CRM, and other data sources to gain a detailed understanding of your users and create truly personalized experiences. Leverage microservices to rapidly respond to user feedback, allowing continuous improvements to your applications. Get to market faster with a MACH-driven approach Harnessing MACH architecture accelerates product launches by streamlining the development process and maximizing efficiency. Here's how: Parallel development: Microservices and an API-first approach enable teams to work in parallel on different aspects of a project, increasing time to market and exceeding customer expectations. Faster iterations: The ability to integrate new features and functionality with minimal disruption encourages teams to innovate quickly and test and learn to improve digital experiences continuously. Greater agility: When changes are required, MACH-driven solutions enable you to adapt swiftly without overhauling the entire system. Platform-agnostic technologies also simplify integration with existing solutions, resulting in greater flexibility. Omnichannel excellence: MACH architecture supports seamless integration across multiple channels, allowing users to consistently enjoy personalized digital experiences regardless of their preferred platform. Scalability: MACH solutions easily scale to accommodate growing user bases and increasing data volumes. This ensures that the digital experience keeps pace with business growth, enabling a faster go-to-market strategy and avoiding outages that result in painful revenue losses Move at MACH speed Implementing a MACH-driven approach to building digital experiences can dramatically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your software development process.  By leveraging MACH architecture elements like headless CMS and composable technology, you'll empower your team to create and launch products faster, offering unprecedented flexibility, performance, and scope to deliver truly personalized digital experiences.

Busting 4 myths about composable architectures

Gartner coined the term composable commerce in 2020, and in three years, this tech architecture has become widely popular for its numerous benefits. While composability is the future of business digitization, many executives and senior business leaders in the B2B arena still view composability with skepticism and reluctance. Certainly, while transitioning to a composable architecture from the traditional monoliths & on-premises systems is the future, worries regarding complexity, cost, resources and time are impeding the shift. Besides, some misconceptions about composability are still restricting major industry players from switching.To expedite the much-required change in process, I will attempt to bust four of the common myths associated with composable structure in this article. Myth 1: Headless is not composableAre terms like modular architecture, curated commerce suite and microservices architecture synonyms of composable? Yes. Is headless and composable the same? No. Simply put, headless is one of the many elements that make composable.Headless refers to tech stacks where the front end and back end are decoupled and function independently. Backend structures like a content management system (CMS) or a customer data platform (CDP) are integrated into numerous API frontends. Composable structuring is a step forward and combines multiple modular structures for different functions operating within an open ecosystem. Myth 2: Developing omnichannel experience is challenging with composableNot quite. Consider this: How does Netflix maintain continuity as you switch between devices while watching a show? Two words: Composable Architecture According to a Salesforce report, seventy-six percent of customers look forward to consistent platform interaction. So, no wonder Netflix, with its quality content and experience consistency, is the binge-watch platform of choice for many. As companies shift from a "multi-channel" approach to an omnichannel strategy, composable architecture allows businesses to interlink their diverse presence across platforms seamlessly while ensuring agility and customizability for customers. Myth 3: Implementing a composable architecture is expensiveThe cost of adopting composable commerce depends on the business complexity level. It's not uncommon for composability to lower long-term operational costs by reducing the frequent need for upgrades and development. For instance, Elastic, a popular data analytics company reduced their operational cost by 78% after adopting Contenstack’s composable solution. Going composable reduces the maintenance and operational running costs significantly, impacting the total cost of ownership. The resources can thus be routed to enhance innovation and development. Myth 4: Going composable requires only technical skillsGoing Composable extends beyond technical prowess; it's about developing a composable mindset –a pivotal requirement in delivering the desired customer experience through a multi-component approach. The teams must understand customer needs and then select MACH-compliant composables that seamlessly integrate to address those needs. Simply put- composables create a customer-first culture, preparing teams to use the best of technology to solve customer problems. However, this doesn't sideline technical proficiency in the composable journey; upskilling the team to adopt and apply these composables adeptly is just as essential. Further, companies can freely enhance the skills of their tech teams as required, taking shorter steps toward their digital maturity and iterating changes along the way.Composable architecture powers technological advancementsThough composable brings multi-fold benefits for businesses, it may not be the ideal solution for every organization. While some brands may benefit from adopting a 360-degree commerce platform, other companies might require a customized structure.To make the most out of the migration to composability, companies must identify the technological pain points that are preventing them from achieving their future goals. This necessitates proactive engagement from leadership in identifying areas with sluggish technological advancement.

Content migration and future of content with Informa’s Narisa Wild

This week we dive into the complex topic of content migration with Narisa Wild, who has spearheaded the digital transformation at Informa, a global B2B events and information services company. We cover the drivers behind content migration, and how to make data-driven decisions about migration and transformation processes -- and how AI is going to offer new opportunities, not just for migration, but for taxonomy, content, and the events space overall.Timestamps: 1:06 What does Informa do?1:43 Narisa's role in digital transformation 2:23 3 drivers for content migration4:08 The #1 content migration question5:04 Where content creation fits in7:22 Why a composable stack makes migration decisions easier10:21 How dashboards help11:43 The future of content at Informa13:53 How AI can aid content migration16:57 How AI can impact event CX strategy 18:27 Looking deeper at the future of enterprise content

Why MACH architecture matters

Have you been hearing about MACH lately? It’s currently one of the biggest buzzwords out there — and for good reason. The acronym has spread like wildfire throughout the digital world. Endorsed by analysts and IT experts; frowned upon by not-quite-as-tech-savvy business folks; initially belittled, now heavily embraced by the monoliths who are trying to MACH-wash their offerings and avoid extinction. But what exactly is MACH architecture? How does it compare to monolithic platforms? And where does composable fit into all of this? If you’ve been wondering lately, keep reading. You’re about to get the inside scoop. What is MACH architecture?MACH stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless. Let’s look at each individual term. Microservices: Microservices bring together loosely coupled, independently deployable small components or "services" to compose a more integrated application. They are exposed via well-defined APIs as the communication method between frontends and backends. They deliver faster responses, are more reliable, and can be deployed more frequently. API-first: Through APIs, best-of-breed components can be combined into a custom application built for specific business needs. Cloud-native: Being cloud-native in MACH architecture means leveraging cloud-based infrastructure and services, resulting in significant cost advantages by avoiding the high costs of maintaining on-premises infrastructure, such as hosting, site acceleration, security and uptime. Headless: Headless describes the decoupling of the front end from the back end. The front end can be anything customer-facing, from a web shop to social media to mobile apps. The backend is the layer where all the systems, processes and tools run to handle operations, including product information management, checkout and more.Headless vs composable vs MACHHeadless is all about decoupling the front end and the back end so they can operate independently and achieve higher flexibility and agility. Nowadays, you see many legacy platforms claiming to be headless when really all they offer is a few APIs. Don’t be fooled. If a monolithic, non-microservices-based architecture is lurking behind the scenes, you won’t be able to unlock the freedom that a true MACH architecture has to offer.Composable is yet another term that is being thrown around, many times used interchangeably with MACH. They are not the same though. Composable is a modular development approach and enables brands to “compose” unique customer experiences by plugging best-of-breed building blocks like cart, checkout and payments into their technology stack. Those components, though, are not required to be MACH-compliant.Assembling a composable architecture using MACH-compliant building blocks is the only way to truly embrace the power of composable technology. Essentially, composable takes a step beyond headless. It breaks down the entire platform into individual components that can be independently plugged in, customized and even replaced. That allows companies to integrate curated best-of-breed components to tailor their technology stack and, consequently, the customer experience. What are the benefits of MACH technology?MACH-based architecture provides the technical backbone to make businesses future-fit. It creates an environment in which every component is pluggable, scalable, replaceable and can be continuously improved through agile development to meet the ever-evolving business requirements.When combined, the technologies that provide the foundation of MACH architecture provide remarkable advantages:Flexibility: Decoupling of frontend and backend allows for more agile development and deployment.Scalability: Auto-scaling ensures seamless handling of traffic peaks with zero downtime. No more Black Friday outages!Speed: Allows for faster iteration and testing, and the cloud provides instant provisioning and deployment of resources.Lower costs: Reduces the need for costly and frequent investments in hardware, software and infrastructure.Resilience: Reduces the risk of application downtime; has built-in redundancy and failover mechanisms.If you want to go further, faster, a MACH architecture will get you there.MACH architecture vs. monolithsThe time of the monolithic giants — think the likes of SAP, Oracle and Salesforce — is coming to an end. No monolithic platform can deliver the same speed, functionality and performance that a MACH architecture can deliver. What may seem like a blessing when you sign on with a monolith (you only buy once, with one contract and one point of contact) quickly becomes a curse if you want anything but the standard procedure. Thinking about an innovative, unique customer experience? You’ll need to beg the monolith to create it for you, and chances are slim they will unless you’re the biggest customer in their portfolio. With a MACH architecture, you are in the driver’s seat. You’ve got a brilliant idea for a thrilling new customer experience? Plug and play the best-of-breed solutions and watch your business thrive. With a monolith? Wait until the trend has passed to even get a response to your request.  Is your business ready for MACH?Now that I’ve gotten you curious about the whole MACH thing, how do you know if MACH is right for your business? Start with an assessment of your current systems, processes and goals. Then, check the statements below. If you agree with any or all of them, it is time to make a move.  Your current system is holding you back because it is too inflexible and slow to move at the speed necessary to keep up with shifting customer expectations and industry trends.You're looking to decrease TCO and increase ROI as you are currently paying for resources you don't need.You want to improve customer experiences, but you are struggling to provide cohesive and personalized omnichannel experiences.You want to stay ahead of the competition by staying agile and responsive to market demands, but you're finding you can't keep up with your competitors.The bottom lineIn today’s uncertain market conditions, the only constant is change. Moving to a MACH architecture will not only make your business more agile and adaptable, it also reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) often associated with outdated pricing and licensing models employed by the monoliths.A modern tech stack is key to making your business future fit. Make the move from monolith to MACH. Tailor your tech stack to your individual business needs and create that unique customer experience that will put you ahead of your competition — time and again.

REI's composable transformation advice

Kat Valdre and Jason Greely from the REI Platform engineering team share their composable transformation story. They discuss the challenges they faced while decomposing their monolithic architecture and their approach to building trust across the organization as they embark on a years-long transformation. Their transparent and refreshing perspective on tech transformation will resonate with anyone who feels their progress is slower than they (or their organization) would like to move. Kat and Jason provide valuable insights and advice for any business making a major technological shift. Timestamps:1:41 What were things like at REI before they decided to go composable04:06 What pushed REI to start their composable transformation?06:25 The importance of introducing changes in manageable parts07:54 What composable will enable for the business11:17 Advice for companies embarking on composable transformation12:55 Dealing with differing opinions and disagreements13:57 The importance of documentation16:41 Hurdles and challenges REI has faced along the way 18:50 Managing expectations and maintaining morale when transformation takes a long time

How composable technology improves experiences in financial services

The financial services industry is one of the most advanced sectors when it comes to using digital technology. However, companies in this space are constantly competing for customers at every level, from large investment firms to small, independent banks.To stay ahead of the competition and satisfy customer needs, financial institutions must take advantage of the most advanced solutions available to optimize customer experiences. Composable digital experience platforms provide an easy-to-implement suite of tools and features that allow businesses to execute complex tasks quickly and cost efficiently. In this blog, we’ll explain what a composable DXP is, then look at how financial services companies rely on this technology. We’ll also cover the major benefits of composable DXPs and give you questions to ask when selecting a DXP.What is a composable digital experience platform (DXP)?In a legacy platform, a suite of features and capabilities are built into the software by the vendor. You pay for everything in the suite, even features you don’t want. To add functionality, you must choose vendor-approved, third-party plug-ins. There’s no freedom to choose the ideal solutions for your business as you grow.Composable DXPs differ. They’re “composed” of best-in-breed solutions that work together via APIs to deliver omnichannel content and digital experiences. With composable, you’re no longer locked into features and capabilities chosen by the vendor. Instead, you can compose a unique DXP with the right mix of tools for your business.Many types of software can be integrated into a composable DXP such as:E-commerce toolsAsset managementCustomer managementOmnichannel managementMarketing automation and analyticsContent workflowsCustomer engagementAI toolsThe architecture of legacy and composable DXPs also differs. With a legacy platform, developers create HTML code to control how a website’s front-end display looks. This is great for managing content like photos, text, art, and videos on one website. However, it’s inefficient when using content across multiple websites and channels like social media sites and native apps.With legacy systems, users must manage content separately for each channel. This is difficult, time-consuming and also increases the risk of human error. Legacy systems simply can’t provide the level of agility financial organizations require to deliver the meaningful content experiences required to be competitive.Composable DXPS are built on composable architecture with headless content management systems at the core. With headless, the front-end display and back end are disconnected. Because of this separation, content for multiple channels is managed from one central hub. Then it’s pushed to websites, mobile apps and social media on demand. When integrated with tools like real-time customer data and analytics, organizations become more agile. This leads to greater customer satisfaction along the customer journey.How financial services companies use composable technologyTo understand how financial companies rely on composable technology, let’s consider their customers. According to the Forbes Advisor: 2022 Digital Banking Survey, nearly 80% of adults in the U.S. prefer using a mobile app or website for banking rather than banking in person at a physical location.That’s not surprising when digital is more accessible and convenient. With digital, customers can bank 24/7 from anywhere in the world on any device. They no longer have to leave home to make a deposit, get a loan or even close on a new house.New digital-only banks have also disrupted the market. These non-traditional banks offer fast, convenient mobile banking solutions and payment services. And they have left some traditional banks struggling to keep up.Advances in digital technology aren’t limited to banking either. E-commerce is booming. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales in 2022 were estimated to total $1.03 billion. Payment providers, acquiring banks and card schemes like Mastercard work behind the scenes to enable these transactions.Customer expectations of financial services organizations have evolved along with technology. Customers now expect options that make it easy to manage their banking, conduct financial business and make purchases quickly and conveniently. This has increased competition between financial services companies trying to seize their share of the market.Competition is actually responsible for furthering banking along the digital journey toward digitized processes and digital revenue. In fact, according to Gartner’s CIO Survey 2021, it’s further along than any other industry.That's why robust DXPs are must-have technology for financial services companies trying to seize their share of the pie. By robust, we mean composable DXPs that support personalization, marketing automation, data and analytics, and other tools your tech stack may require to keep pace with customers expectations.Benefits of a composable DXP for financial services  Increased flexibility Banks, payment providers and other financial services companies gain the freedom to keep existing systems and solutions they require to do business, while integrating new solutions they want to leverage for customer engagement and other purposes. Put simply, they can choose the best mix of tools for their unique success story.From one composable platform, this mix of best-in-breed solutions will connect and communicate seamlessly. Many complex processes that were once slow, time-consuming and left room for error become automated and streamlined.Agility Composable empowers financial organizations to move faster. They could mean pushing important information to multiple channels quickly or adding a new product ahead of a competitor. This agility enables financial organizations to scale faster while still keeping up with customer expectations and regulatory requirements.Composable DXPs can even help financial organizations to grow as it enables them to deliver much better content experiences. This not only helps to attract brand new customers, but builds customer satisfaction and customer loyalty among existing customers. Enhanced security Composable enables faster implementation of security updates. This minimizes both disruption and vulnerability to cyber attacks. Financial organizations are very susceptible to cyberthreats from criminals trying to access financial assets or personal information to target customers. And the slow process of updating security protocols with traditional, legacy DXPs can result in lengthy downtimes. During these times, secure systems are more vulnerable to cyber threats.Not only do government regulations require that financial organizations take security measures to protect their customers from cyberthreats, customers have similar expectations. They want security when they bank or conduct any business through a financial services provider. This is true whether they’re banking on their phone or making a purchase on an e-commerce site.What to consider when implementing a composable DXPBefore choosing a DXP, it’s crucial to first consider who will be using the platform and how they will use it. Be sure to loop in stakeholders from marketing, IT and business. Developing specific use cases will provide a clearer picture of what you require from a platform.Next, it’s time to begin searching for a DXP to fulfill your requirements. Be sure to ask these four questions: Does it have a headless CMS? A headless CMS is important because it enables composable DXPs to manage content from one location, then push it out to multiple channels like your website, social media and native apps.Is it easy to use? Composable DXPs should enable content creators and other nontechnical users to create and edit content without any coding skills or assistance from IT. Select a platform that’s easy to use and intuitive.How configurable is it? Regardless of how easy a platform is to use, it isn’t going to be the right fit unless it can be customized to align with user requirements and business objectives. Choose a DXP that offers the customization options your business needs, as well as the capability to integrate the best-in-breed solutions you may want to leverage both now and later as your organization scales.How good is the customer support? Transitioning from a monolithic platform to a composable DXP is a unique experience for every organization. Making the switch is often done in phases with different capabilities and features being rolled out over time with minimal disruption. You’ll need technical support throughout the transition. Make sure your provider is willing to listen and comprehend your use cases and business objectives and will be there when needed.How financial services companies use composable DXPsHere are three examples showing how banks and financial services companies are using composable DXPs:Composable banking: Many banks have already adapted to composable banking, which makes it easy to quickly adapt to changes in the market. With composable banking, products and services are broken down into separate components that are managed independently. Composable DXPs support composable banking by making it easy to launch new products and services at the right time without disrupting other services.Managing content across channels: Banks with multiple locations, divisions and different suites of products and services for personal and commercial banking customers are using composable DXPs to manage all their content from one central hub. When an interest rate changes, for instance, a composable DXP enables content teams to quickly push the new rate out to multiple channels in a matter of minutes. Whereas in the past, someone had to go into each piece of content and manually update the rate. This was not only tedious and time-consuming, but increased the risk of human error.Personalization: Some larger banks are focusing heavily on enhancing personalization through better technology to deliver a better customer experience. Composable DXPs enable banks to seamlessly integrate and connect sophisticated automated and AI-powered tools that communicate and share data. For instance, localization tools can determine a customer’s location and deliver personalized content in their language, while feedback from analytics tools ensures the message is relevant to them.Learn moreLearn more about the advantages you can expect from our composable DXP in our blog, “Contentstack demonstrated 295% ROI in Forrester study.” To see how Contentstack’s composable DXP can help your digital transformation, schedule a free demo. 

What is a Composable Digital Experience Platform? With PostNL's Jurre van Ruth

What is a composable digital experience platform? What are the key capabilities that it must represent? Where do you start in building one? How do you know if you are successful - what metrics should you look at when, and how do you communiate to business and IT stakeholders along the way? Dutch postal service PostNL's Jurre van Ruth (Strategic Program Manager, Composable DXP) has the answers. In this episode, he tells the story of the company's digital transformation from monolithic technology to a Composable DXP and how that has made PostNL one of the country's most innovative digital businesses. Timestamps:0:54 What is PostNL?1:38 Jurre's role and responsibility2:20 Defining a Composable DXP4:12 What was the digital capabilty landscape like inside PostNL before going composable?6:03 Where to start? How the company decided where to begin the transformation.7:22 What they did instead of a roadshow to get buy-in for the Composable DXP concept8:38 "Zooming out" strategy to prepare a business for a big change10:49 Metrics Jurre's team uses to measure success of the Composable DXP13:41 How the team uses these metrics to create momentum14:19 A simple but huge benefit of Composable DXP: creating a common language

Building the business case for headless technology, with Booking.com’s Juliette Olah

When Juliette Olah joined Booking.com, she created a comprehensive editorial strategy - but that strategy needed a more robust content management technology behind it. In this episode, she takes us through how she built a business case for headless CMS, how she got the green light for it, and what the new technology will enable for the brand in the years to come.Timestamps:01:15 The state of content tech at Booking.com when Juliette started at the company01:33 Juliette's vision for content technology at Booking.com03:55 Why choose headless?05:17 Building the business case for headless techology07:00 Getting the green light 09:35 The importance of advocacy 10:42 What Juliette is most looking forward to becoming possible with the new headless CMS at Booking.com

Adopting the right tech strategy for your company to go composable

Pete Larsen, Contentstack VP of Technical Solutions, walks us through the various strategies an enterprise might consider to prepare for and transition to a composable architecture.

How your business can save money with a composable DXP

Are you feeling the crunch of tight budgets and limited resources? It can be difficult for enterprises to find ways to cut costs while still remaining competitive. One way to do this is by investing in a composable digital experience platform (DXP). A composable DXP allows businesses to quickly create personalized user experiences without the need for extensive development time or costly technology infrastructure. By taking advantage of its flexibility and scalability, companies can save money while improving customer engagement. In this blog post, we'll discuss how a composable DXP could help your business improve its efficiency and profitability.What is a composable DXP?Gartner defines a DXP as “an integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences.”A DXP is not necessarily a single solution but a variety of solutions that work cohesively from a central hub. A  composable DXP uses MACH technologies (microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native and headless) to deliver services to various devices and channels.How a composable DXP saves moneyScalabilityA composable architecture allows you to scale according to your business needs. If you’re just beginning to implement composable technology, you may choose to keep elements of your existing technology while adding composable applications where they are most needed to improve efficiency.If you choose to invest in a new digital experience platform, a composable architecture enables you to choose the best tools available for your needs, and only the tools you need.  ReliabilityA composable DXP can help your business avoid costly downtime because its microservices-based architecture means a failure in one service won’t affect the entire system. SpeedA composable platform based on a headless CMS will enable you to quickly launch new digital experiences, update and adapt as needed without the need for developers to create new solutions each time, so you enjoy faster time to market while saving costly development time.EfficiencyIn a platform with a composable architecture based on a headless CMS, the front end and back ends are decoupled, so marketing teams IT teams can work simultaneously to create and update digital experiences and content faster. A composable platform also enables automation of routine tasks so you avoid costly human errors and your team spends more time on higher priority tasks.How to save money when implementing a composable DXPOne way to save money while transitioning to composable technology is to leverage your existing technology wherever possible and add composable technology where your legacy system doesn’t function as needed.To do this successfully, start by:Defining your business goalsIdentifying what you use, don’t use and what’s missing in your current systemMapping out your ideal systemDefining a roadmap for implementation  When implementing a composable DXP, the key to saving money is understanding what services you need for success. Consider your business needs and goals and then research composable DXP providers that best match those needs. Whether parting with a smaller sum of money up front or investing in more expensive but comprehensive packages, make sure that you aren't overspending on features and services you won't actually use. Look out for special bundle deals or discounts, as these can be great ways to save while still getting top-notch services. Remember that investing in composable DXP is an investment in the future of your company; save smart in order to get the most ROI from your composable DXP implementation.Conclusion Businesses are looking to save money while transitioning to more modern technology to meet current customer needs. A composable DXP will help achieve this, allowing you to implement gradually while increasing speed and efficiency and reducing development costs.  Learn moreLearn more about going composable in our blog post, “De-risking your transition to composable.”Schedule a free demo to see how Contentstack can help you save money and increase ROI with the only fully composable digital experience platform.

The last replatform you’ll ever do, with Emma Sleep’s Andreas Westendörpf

Andreas Westendörpf (CTO) brought the concept of composable commerce to Emma Sleep. But that wasn't his agenda from the outset. In this episode, he shares how to know if your organization is ready for composable; why e-Commerce organizations can be surprisingly outdated in their technology; how to challenge vendors and commercial models in parts of the enterprise technology landscape that have not yet embraced composable principles; why Emma Sleep made the jump -- and what you should be prepared for if you do the same. Timestamps:1:00 Why Andreas brought the concept of composable to Emma Sleep4:49 Why e-Commerce technology is often surprisingly outdated5:34 How (monolithic) vendor commercial models make composable difficult8:14 How Andreas challenged Microsoft on composable models - and won11:24 What businesses need to know about the potential of composable technology13:45 The last replatform you'll ever do?15:35 Andreas's advice for businesses starting their composable journey

How to go composable in 6 steps

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create and implement a composable DXP that is tailored to your specific needs and can be easily updated as your business evolves.

De-risking your transition to composable

Everyone has a different journey to composable. Some companies adopt it quickly; some take several months. Some are eager; some are skeptical. But nearly all are concerned about risk during the transition. That’s not surprising — any good business leader considers all the risks at hand when making a big move. Levi Strauss & Co certainly did, and they weren’t shy about discussing it on our “People Changing Enterprises” podcast. I was a fan of the openness from Zach Crittendon, a software architect, as he broke down Levi’s approach to transitioning from their monolith environment to a composable architecture.Since risk is on everyone’s minds, I wanted to share my perspective on how to minimize risk when making the move to composable.Get everyone on boardChoosing to make the switch from monolith to composable doesn’t happen overnight. It also can’t be accomplished alone. You need a team. If critical stakeholders like finance and procurement are not on board at the start, it can cause problems and increase risk in the future. Finance might question the higher upfront costs because the business is adopting several best-of-breed tools with built-in benefits like scalability and extensibility. Procurement is going to look at the different vendors to manage and balk.Demonstrate the business case for why this move is important:To finance: “The market is ever-changing and we need to pivot quickly when required. Our current environment doesn’t allow us to do that. Composable is much less risk, time and cost than our current environment in the long run.”To procurement: “I know you want to consolidate vendors, but our current tools aren’t working for the business. There’s no solution in the composable world where we just buy everything as one.” (If Contentstack is your composable partner, I would recommend telling them about Care Without Compromise™, the industry’s only cross-vendor support program).It’s a slow process, but worth it. There’s much less uncertainty and chance that risk might be incurred in the future from internal conflicts.Make a plan and take it in phasesOnce you have everyone on board, your next move to decrease risk is to make a plan. I recommend pacing the transition in phases so it’s not so overwhelming or too fast.I like how Zach said it: “I think the choice of the word ‘composable’ is really meaningful in the sense that it’s like a musical composition. It’s a series of notes and chords that come together into bars and movements. Eventually, you have an entire piece.”The terms “come together” and “eventually” are important in Zach’s quote. Levi’s didn’t adopt composable all at once. In fact, they started with just four modules. Eventually, they were able to create cool content experiences that they had been dreaming about for a long time — but it wasn’t what they started with. They started with a plan and phase one.However, remember this: Plans change.I love this quote from President Eisenhower surfaced by a previous “People Changing Enterprises" guest: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”I wouldn’t say having a roadmap for your transition to composable is useless, but I would advise you to be open to change as circumstances evolve. It’s the act of planning for the future that will de-risk your transition most, rather than the plan itself. Balance the present and the futureConsider the balance between the capabilities you need now and what you’ll need down the road.One of the benefits of composable architecture is the flexibility it provides. If you build something into your initial stack that you want to remove later, it is much easier than in a monolithic environment. Conversely, if you leave something out that you discover a need for, you can easily integrate that into your stack. Balancing the present and the future also means you have a long-term vision of what you want to do but start with a very clear and provable business case. For Levi’s, their first phase in the composable transition was proving Contentstack would excel with one use case: the homepage. While the homepage ran through the headless CMS, the rest of the website remained on the monolith. It was like a small trial run: Once they proved the business case for composable, they moved on to phase two. They replaced their old environment and created a simple version of the website in a smaller market (for them, it was Eastern Europe). The third, and last, phase was taking the lessons learned from phases one and two to fully replace the entire website.Trust your instinctsThe term digital transformation – along with all the moving parts and plans it brings – can be intimidating. So, here’s my biggest advice in this process: as a business leader at the head of the charge, trust your gut. I got this advice from Dheeraj Pandey, founder and CEO of Nutanix and someone I respect, who said that gut feeling comes from experience. You may not have walked through a digital transformation project before, or it might have looked very different in the past. But experience forms the foundation of your gut instinct.If something seems like a risk, consider it. Check with your colleagues and trust their gut instinct, too. Remember this transition to composable is a less risky approach than staying with your old tools and technologies. Any good tech leader knows you’ll never fully de-risk your transition to composable. But with a thorough approach, an understanding of where you want to go, and an experienced partner to offer expertise, you can pave a path to less risk and more flexibility for the future.

How to avoid the pitfalls of a composable architecture

Digital content management is in a state of perpetual evolution. Consumers have come to expect robust, seamless digital experiences when interacting with brands, and organizations that fail to meet those expectations can quickly find themselves left behind.It’s tempting to think the solution is to build a digital experience that satisfies the expectations of today’s consumers; unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Every day brings new channels and competitors, and the digital experiences consumers want today might not look anything like the one they want tomorrow.A composable architecture gives businesses the speed, flexibility, and scalability they need to deliver digital experiences that meet the expectations of current and future customers. However, there are complexities in the implementation process that enterprises need to be prepared for to ensure a seamless transition to composable architecture.What is a composable architecture?Content management systems traditionally have relied on monolithic architecture: an all-in-one system in which the front-end and back-end layers are handled by a single codebase. That approach served us well for decades; that is, until 2014, when mobile internet usage supplanted desktop usage. Since then, consumers have grown to expect a seamless omnichannel experience that a traditional monolithic CMS was never designed to deliver. “There are many more requirements on the customer [or] end-user side,” said Jeff Baher, head of product marketing at Contentstack. “Content that once resided solely on a website is now in many different places.”Monolithic architecture offers a suite of functions that can be managed from one codebase, which makes for a fairly simple implementation process. But what happens when an organization’s needs surpass the capabilities of a legacy CMS?“Can any one single vendor get their arms around it and solve for all that?” Baher asked. The answer is increasingly no. Enterprises are often forced to rely on clunky plug-ins to deliver the functionality they need, and with each new plug-in, the site gets a little slower — and the digital experience suffers as a result.Organizations wishing to avoid plug-ins can update their CMS, but that’s time-consuming and expensive. With monolithic architecture, even minor front-end changes can require significant updates to back-end code. And, of course, that process must be repeated every time consumer expectations change or new channels emerge.A composable architecture breaks down monolithic solutions' large and complex functions into smaller, more manageable pieces. An application programming interface (API) acts as the go-between for these smaller pieces, allowing them to communicate and transfer information more efficiently. In a composable CMS, the front-end and back-end layers are decoupled to make changes to the front-end independent of back-end functions.The result is the same functionality found in monolithic architecture, only more efficient, more flexible, and with more freedom to build a customized or modular solution to meet an organization’s specific needs — once the new architecture is up and running, that is.Common pitfalls of implementing a composable architectureA composable architecture allows organizations to build rich, omnichannel digital experiences on their terms, free from any limitations imposed by monolithic architecture. But a wider range of possibilities also means more potential challenges.What goes where, and who’s on first?A monolithic architecture has a variety of inherent shortcomings, but monolithic solutions offer a clear benefit: simplicity. Although notoriously difficult to update, legacy architecture is fairly easy to implement, which may be attractive to some organizations depending on their needs. And since monolithic solutions are typically created and sold by one vendor, organizations benefit from a one-stop point of contact for any issues. A composable solution brings together the capabilities of different vendors, Baher said. This is undoubtedly a positive regarding flexibility and freedom, but if one element doesn’t work as intended, it can affect the entire digital experience. With a monolithic solution, the vendor handles identifying and fixing the problem, but with a composable one, the organization has to manage the diagnostic process. On top of that, if the issue is caused by two elements from two different vendors, which vendor is responsible for the fix?The ‘kitchen sink' problemThe main selling point of composable architecture is its flexibility; there are few limits on what your organization can do with composable content and solutions. But just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. A composable architecture is “similar to Lego pieces, allowing you to build many different things,” Baher said. “But that’s also the challenge: What do you build? How do you do it?”Assembling or integrating the available pieces is only half the battle. The other half is making sure each component selected is necessary to create the digital experience you have in mind. Remember, there’s “must-have” functionality, and there’s “nice-to-have” functionality — and the more you have of the latter, the less time your IT team has to focus on the former.Disconnects between teamsAs the old saying goes, “a camel is a horse designed by a committee.” The flexibility of a composable architecture is useless if nobody can agree on the best way to use it. In organizations accustomed to monolithic architecture, it’s not uncommon for siloed teams or departments to form and operate independently of one another.Under these conditions, each team may develop their idea of what “best” means regarding functionality, user experience, and so on, which can make for a rocky transition to a composable architecture. To overcome this challenge and to maximize content reuse, organizations need to break down those silos by clearly defining cross-team goals and making sure departments work collaboratively to achieve them. If not, the digital experience you deliver to consumers will likely resemble a camel.The people problemUltimately, an organization’s ability to successfully implement a composable architecture rests mainly on its people, for it’s not only a technology shift, it’s also a mindset shift. With a monolithic CMS, all the features are included in the software, but a composable solution is essentially a blank canvas — and it’s up to your people to think through and feel comfortable and confident with how to fill it in. Eliminating disconnects between teams is a vital part of success in this regard, but organizations also need to have the right frame of mind and the right resources on the technical side to build everything out.Overcome the pitfalls and go composable with confidenceMoving to composable architecture is more complex than many organizations realize initially, but the pitfalls are all surmountable. The following considerations are the key ingredients for success, according to Baher:Choose the right component technologies.Select vendors who view going composable as a partnership, not a dealership.Invest in automation technology to simplify integrations and automate routine tasks.Seek expertise and support to help you along the way.Run the numbers and a proper ROI analysis.Learn moreWatch this episode of "Contentstack LIVE!" to learn strategies for implementing composable technologies from Auden Hinton, director of digital experience at Contentstack.Schedule a free demo to see how Contentstack’s headless content management platform and industry-leading, cross-vendor support can help your organization transition to a composable architecture today.