Understanding Composable Architecture: What You Should Know for Website Development
By Mikkel Keller Stubkjær
June 15, 2023 | 5-minute read
Technology Management Website Management Content Type Article
For digital decision-makers, the pace of change can be intensely fast. Whether your firm is facing radical new customer demands, a merger or a competitor disrupting your go-to-market strategy, it’s crucial that it can act, react and scale as fast as possible. A key part of having this agility is to have a flexible website solution.
In this article, we will uncover the latest trend for creating websites and discuss why an agile digital ecosystem is vital. Website creation is no longer about building and burning every five years. Instead, the focus should be on adaptable creations, otherwise known as composable architecture.
What Is Composable Architecture?
Composable architecture is a web system built from multiple solutions. Instead of relying on one platform from one vendor for all needs, firms can collect different technologies from several vendors to build their setup.
The benefits of a composable architecture include:
- Avoiding the risk of choosing the wrong solution for your system. By composing your architecture of smaller services, swapping out a minor component is easier than an entire system.
- Small, specialised solutions. Referred to as “best-of-breed” platforms, they serve better results and more services than a generalist platform. Collecting specialised solutions from different vendors creates an ecosystem of platforms that will work together to fulfill your firm’s real digital needs. As the composable architecture doesn’t lock in systems directly with one another, it’s easier to change solutions and add new features. This makes your digital system more manoeuvrable and adaptable to future changes.
MACH Architecture and Principles
You can’t apply composable architecture without MACH architecture, however. Known as microservices, API-first, cloud native and headless architecture, when used together, these four key technology principles can support a composable architecture:
Microservices: Self-contained “micro” components that handle one specific task and can be built and updated as independent applications. This makes the system more robust, as it doesn’t affect the entire system if one microservice fails.
API-first: Standing for application programming interfaces, API enables two software solutions to talk to each other in a technology suite. APIs are an accessible way to connect your entire digital ecosystem made up of many micro components.
Cloud-Native Software as a Service (SaaS): Hosting your systems in the cloud means solutions are accessible on demand from anywhere. Modern companies use this mechanism's flexibility and immediate updates to ensure customer demands are met quickly.
Headless: A “headless” solution is where the front-end is decoupled from the back-end logic and channel programming language. This makes it possible to change front-end applications without modifying the underlying systems. Moreover, it enables companies to experiment and test, allowing for a faster editing experience.
Knowing these four principles is key to becoming digitally responsive to change. In combining them with composable and best-of-breed architecture, you stand on solid ground regarding modern IT and methods.
With the theoretical explanations in place and the benefits now known, you may be wondering how to go about implementing a composable architecture. First, ask yourself if you want to build a new website using a composable architecture or transition your existing website to a composable one. Both approaches have their considerations, and the choice depends on the specific context and goals of the project.
Building a new website with a composable architecture allows you to design the system from the ground up and gives you a modular, scalable and flexible system from the beginning. However, there might be a longer development timeline.
When shifting an existing website to a composable architecture, you can leverage its existing features and functionality and incrementally migrate them to a composable architecture. This takes strategic planning, refactoring and a phased approach to gradually transform the system while maintaining compatibility with existing functionality.
After you’ve come to a decision, it’s time to develop a roadmap, which comprises several steps outlining the route to your desired IT destination. Here’s an example of a digital roadmap with important considerations for a successful transition:
- Determine your strategy: what is your end goal, and which path (new versus adjusted website) will get you there?
- Assess the situation: How does your current system landscape look?
- Conduct a sales/marketing performance review: What are the baseline metrics of current sales and marketing performance?
- Visualize your improved tech landscape: What systems are needed to lever future growth?
- Set up an execution plan: What projects should initiate to achieve this landscape, and what will they require to set up your team for success?
You might need a helping hand in both building a digital roadmap and developing the solution. If you’re lucky enough to have in-house software developers, you can reach out to them; otherwise, you will have to seek assistance outside your organization.
Unlocking Marketing Success
In the ever-changing digital landscape, marketers might face several setbacks if they don’t shift to a composable architecture. This can impact their marketing efforts and overall business success.
Traditional, monolithic architectures lack flexibility, making it challenging to quickly adapt to changing market trends, customer demands or new marketing strategies. Marketers may struggle to implement new features or campaigns due to the rigidity of traditional architecture. Not being able to add or remove components will lead to bottlenecks and performance issues, which can hamper marketing activities. This can result in delayed time-to-market for campaigns and decreased competitiveness.
Overall, a composable architecture empowers marketers to respond quickly to new market dynamics and seize opportunities. For example, with the rise of social media platforms like TikTok or new marketing automation tools, an agile system enables marketers to experiment with these channels and tools as a part of their marketing mix.
Marketers will generate more conversions and leads when they meet their target group with relevant content. By leveraging the advantages of an agile digital system, marketers can capitalize on their marketing efforts as new opportunities arise.
The IT Architecture of the Future
Being able to constantly re-orchestrate your digital components is essential as it can determine the failure or success of your business initiatives. With a composable architecture, you can turn your IT solution into a competitive advantage and ensure maneuverability and growth opportunities. Implementing one will also make adapting to new business requirements and future technological developments easier and faster than consolidating your entire digital presence solely on one of the classical software suites.