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Composable: Modularizing the Enterprise, its Processes, and the Apps that Run it

By Dick Weisinger

Analysts at Gartner and IDC have adopted the term ‘composable’. Composable Applications rank high on Gartner’s Emerging Technology Hype curve.

At the heart of Composability is modularity, reusability, and flexibility. Modularity is key to object oriented programming, and now, modularity is being applied to the building of almost anything: applications, infrastructure, commerce, businesses and enterprises. This is just another manifestation of the trend of ‘Everything as Software’ and the pace of adoption is accelerating because of technologies like Low/No Code.

Composability is about breaking things down into smaller components that can be generalized and reused in a modular way. Dividing large complex systems into smaller ones is analogous to building composite software based on autonomous microservices. Composability is about businesses breaking processes and workflows down into reusable components that can then be later stitched back together and used as common building blocks across the organization.

Kevin Cochrane, senior vice president at Acquia, said that “digital transformation and modernization are two buzzwords that get thrown around a lot. In reality, modernizing from monolithic applications to a Composable Enterprise model could have major business implications for organizations. The biggest benefit includes the ability to move fast and integrate new business applications into the technology stack, without the fear of creating more data silos.”

Gartner advises that “composable enterprises can deliver business outcomes and adapt to the pace of business change. They do this through the assembly and combination of packaged business capabilities (PCBs). PCBs are application building blocks that have been purchased or developed.”

Don Scheibenreif, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, said that “throughout history, great leaders have faced turmoil and turned it into inspiration. Composing: being flexible, fluid, continuous, even improvisational — is how we will move forward.”

Is it all hype? Sure, that’s why it ranks high on Gartner’s emerging technology hype curve. And like most new technology, there’s improvement, but the reality may not match the marketing.

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