Why composable applications are key to digital transformation

To keep up with elite competition, you cannot rely on monolithic applications and legacy infrastructure. Learn how composable applications work and give you an agile advantage.

ARTICLE | 4m read
Aug 09, 2022

When the competitive landscape changes, you want to act fast. This is a timeless truth in business, but the pace of innovation and change has accelerated exponentially since the turn of the 20th century. Consider how remote work went from a secondary concern at the start of 2020 only to become the primary way of working in a few months. For your organization to take its place among elite innovators like Uber, Meta, and AirBnB, you need to do more than keep up with the pace of change—you want to set it using a cutting-edge approach to application modernization.

Modernization is vital because applications are not just an IT concern. As the underpinning of nearly every business process, your applications are key drivers of productivity, innovation, and profitability. This in mind, application modernization is more than simply tuning legacy infrastructure and patching the same old monolithic applications. The lack of agility in monolithic business apps makes it impossible to quickly adapt them to evolving customer needs and market demands. Enter composable applications. These simplify how you use individual application components for any business purpose, empowering your organization to unleash innovation and take the lead over your competition.

What are composable applications?

Unlike monolithic applications that are self-contained and built as a single unit, composable applications use open and agile architecture to separate discrete app components that can each be built, scaled, and maintained according to business needs. These independent software components are known as packaged business capabilities (PBCs), which have specific business capabilities like contracts, document repositories, and general ledgers. Developers can further break down PBCs into microservices, which are smaller apps deployed as loosely connected services that communicate and share data through APIs.

The result is the developer-equivalent of children’s building blocks, empowering your organization to rapidly construct applications that drive productivity and quickly adapt as business needs evolve. This composable architecture approach has become necessary because monolithic apps have huge code bases, meaning small changes in a single function can require significant changes in the entire application. In contrast, composable applications rely on APIs to connect all their different systems and components—enabling an open application ecosystem that lets business leaders freely choose how they innovate and build the exact experience they want.

How do composable applications benefit a business?

The primary benefit of composable applications is greater technical agility that empowers you to quickly adapt your application infrastructure as business needs change. For example, composable architecture can enable you to more easily free up computing, storage, and networking resources from their physical locations and manage them via a web-based interface. That way, if your customers are demanding a new kind of experience from your existing applications, you can rapidly redevelop and redeploy computing resources and services to fit their needs—a process that could take months with monolithic applications.

Other benefits of a composable application strategy include quickly scaling innovation and digital creativity. By enabling your developers to experiment with how APIs connect different software components, composable architecture helps them create new productivity-increasing breakthroughs and cost savings. Composable applications also reduce the operational complexity of traditional workloads, helping your business be more dynamic and resilient in the face of changing market trends and external disruptions like the pandemic.

Why are composable applications important to digital transformation?

Digital transformation projects are often instrumental to an organization’s success, and composable applications play a key role. Gartner describes the future of business as composable, citing the 69 percent of corporate directors who want to accelerate enterprise digital strategies and implementations to deal with disruption. Composable applications make it much easier to navigate disruption because they rely on independent components inside autonomous self-governing systems. This increases your organizational resilience. For example, if one system was disrupted or needed updating for cybersecurity reasons (such as strengthening access security or protecting apps and APIs), that system can be easily addressed without bringing down your entire operation.

For any digital transformation to succeed, you want to ensure you have the right tech solutions to support your evolving strategy instead of being stuck with legacy systems that are slow to adapt. Composable architecture makes digital transformation easier because each of the PBCs inside composable applications can be easily isolated, enhanced, and reconnected—ensuring no services have to become obsolete as you keep evolving your strategy. The result? You are empowered to adapt your business however you see fit to not only keep pace with your competition, but lead the way in engaging customers and boosting employee productivity.


Learn more about the state of security in our hybrid work world by reading this report.