CIOs and IT leaders who use composability to deal with continuing business disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors will make their organisations more resilient, more sustainable and make more meaningful contributions, according to Gartner.
Gartner analysts said that composable business means architecting for resilience and accepting that disruptive change is the norm. It supports a business that exploits the disruptions digital technology brings by making things modular – mixing and matching business functions to orchestrate the proper outcomes. It supports a business that senses – or discovers – when change needs to happen; and then uses autonomous business units to creatively respond.
According to the 2021 Gartner Board of Directors survey, 69% of corporate directors want to accelerate enterprise digital strategies and implementations to help deal with the ongoing disruption. For some businesses that means that their digital strategies became real for the first time, and for others that means rapidly scaling digital investments.
“Composable business is a natural acceleration of the digital business that organisations live every day,” said Daryl Plummer, distinguished research vice president, Chief of Research and Gartner Fellow. “It allows organisations to finally deliver the resilience and agility that these interesting times demand.”
“EMEA is the ultimate composable example,” said Paul Saunders, senior research director at Gartner. “For thousands of years EMEA organisations have integrated, arranged, composed and decomposed – constantly adapting, constantly evolving. Composing that is flexible, fluid, continuous and even improvisational is more important than ever in this disruptive and volatile environment.”
During the opening keynote of Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo EMEA, which is taking place virtually today through Thursday, Don Scheibenreif, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, explained that composable business starts with three building blocks — Composable Thinking, which ensures creative thinking is never lost; Composable Business Architecture, which ensure flexibility and resiliency; and Composable Technologies, which are the tools for today and tomorrow.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, most CIOs leveraged their organisations existing digital investments, and some CIOs accelerated their digital strategies by investing in some of the three composable building blocks,” said Tina Nunno, distinguished research vice president and Gartner Fellow.
“In EMEA, CIOs have different actual languages – not just software languages – different rules and regulations, different countries and different cultures,” said Mr Saunders. “The building blocks aren’t smooth and uniform, and sometimes the task they face feels insurmountable – composability makes the seemingly insurmountable realisable.”
To ensure their organisations were resilient during the pandemic crisis, many CIOs also applied at least one of the four critical principles of composability, gaining more speed through discovery, greater agility through modularity, better leadership through orchestration, and resilience through autonomy.
Gartner analysts said that these four principles can be viewed differently depending on which building block organisations are working with:
- In Composable Thinking, these are design principles. They guide an organisation’s approach to conceptualising what to compose, and when.
- In Composable Business Architecture, they are structural capabilities, giving an organisation the mechanisms to use in architecting its business.
- In Composable Technologies, they are product design goals driving the features of technology that support the notions of composability.
“In the end, organisations need the principles and the building blocks to intentionally make composability real,” said Mr Plummer.
The building blocks of composability can be used to pivot quickly to a new opportunity, industry, customer base or revenue stream. For example, a large Chinese retailer used composability when the pandemic hit to help re-architect their business. They used composable thinking and chose to pivot to live streaming sales activities. They embraced social marketing technology and successfully retained over 5,000 in-store sales and customer support staff to become live streaming hosts. The retailer suffered no layoffs and minimal revenue loss.
“Throughout 2020, CIOs and IT leaders maintained their composure and delivered tremendous value,” said Ms Nunno. “The next step is to create a more composable business using the three building blocks and applying the four principles. With composability, organisations can achieve digital acceleration, greater resiliency and the ability to innovate through disruption.”
Picture: Tina Nunno