The trend in the past decade was to shift key applications to cloud solutions such as ERP systems. However, companies quickly learned that this was not enough to cost- effectively and quickly adapt to rapidly evolving markets. Business processes that are founded on legacy applications and monolithic systems like this tend to be inflexible and disconnected.
Today’s era of digital experiences requires seamless and ultra- personalized processes.
For this reason, the approach to digital transformation has shifted to focus on scalable, composable and connected business applications. According to Gartner, more money will be spent on building composable applications than on monolithic applications by the year 2025.
Furthermore, companies are recognizing that a composable approach is not a one-time occurrence, but rather a continuous venture to align with ever-changing employee and customer expectations. In fact, according to a recent Salesforce study, 88% of customers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Understanding Composable Applications
The term “composable” represents a mindset that enables organizations to innovate quickly due a modular model. It anticipates that there are multiple possible futures for an organization and that the architecture of a business should be built in a way that anticipates any one of these futures.
This approach is different to the approach many organizations and systems today are taking. Traditionally, all business elements are centralized to a single, inflexible architecture that controls each piece of the whole. This interdependence makes it difficult to respond quickly to market shifts because of the amount of time it takes for a monolithic entity to evolve.
To combat this, the concept of a composable enterprise encompasses an opportunity for each process and application to be managed in a more agile fashion with each component being treated as a building block.
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Why Composable Applications are Gaining Popularity
Just like any other major disruption in the industry, it takes a crisis to bring about a major change. After the disruptions experienced in the workplace due to COVID-19, many organizations responded by investing in tools that will better prepare them for unanticipated events such as this.
The truth is that the pandemic is not the first major disruptor we’ve faced in the business world, and it is most likely not the last. Resilience and adaptability have, therefore, become key priorities when it comes to digital initiatives.
Organizations have attempted to upgrade their legacy systems and applications to keep them relevant but have found that these applications are not agile enough to keep up in the midst of rapid change. The question now becomes, how do we build up our resilience and invest in agile technology at a time where resources are low and business executives are more cost-conscious than ever?
In response, composable applications offer a flexible approach that allow businesses to connect software, services and microservices to establish and scale their business functions.
Key Components of a Composable Application
Business applications can be thought of as the different tools that deliver microservices or the building blocks of composable applications. They are able to support composability when they incorporate the main principles of a composable business. This means that the application can support a modular architecture and can be managed individually. Each one is autonomous and does not depend on other components in order to maintain flexibility of the application.
Multiple HR applications can be orchestrated using APIs and interfaces to assemble workflows or more complex transactions. Lastly, the business applications should discoverable, meaning that they are developed with adaptability in mind. In other words, it should be easy for business technologists to update and change as business requirements evolve.
HR systems deliver a multitude of microservices to the end-user. The user experience (UX) is the collection of all these microservices. Furthermore, the UX should reflect the specific needs and responsibilities of each employee and their role in the organization. What makes the composed application experience different than traditional digital experience is that each component is assembled in a way that answers to the need of their role and aligns with their way of working.
For example, when onboarding a new employee, the capabilities and data delivered to an HR manager will be different than those delivered to an IT professional. This personalization is a key aspect of a composable application that allows businesses to operate in a more agile manner.
Application Composition Platform
The application composition platform is the foundational technology that supports the composition tools needed to build a composable application. This platform allows for cross-functional teams to collaborate on assembling and reassembling a suite of tools in order to create personalized user experiences. Here is where you will find the combination of multiple specialized microservices which are assembled from multiple sources.
The data hub is the component of a composable application where all the otherwise fragmented data from various systems are accessed. Traditionally, each business application has a data model that is incompatible with the other used within an organization. The data lake can be thought of as a single source of truth for data.
For example, data can be collected from HR, accounting, operational and CRM systems to create a single repository for data that can then be used to perform analytics or for artificial intelligence and machine learning initiatives.
The PeopleSpheres Composable Approach
The HR Application Framework
A gradual shift towards composability is possible. At PeopleSpheres, we specialize in helping organizations transform their HR functions into a composable application. here are multiple HCM suites available on the market today which cater to a plethora of HR needs. However, the future of HR systems will take on the form of an HR application framework. This is a new way of structuring HR systems that uses the composable approach to give companies the flexibility to choose the tools that best fit their organization’s specific requirements.
By integrating multiple HR applications together, the functionality of the entire ecosystem is improved. Organizations can have the flexibility to choose the solutions that most closely fit their requirements without sacrificing connectivity and unification. The convenience of the one-stop- shop model combined with customization creates a new direction for HCM suites. Based on this framework, a new type of solution is introduced: the employee experience platform
Composability and Employee Experience
At PeopleSpheres, we have designed our solution to be employee centric. It takes into account the unique experiences of employees. We recognize that not all employees are the same, and neither should their HR system. With a composable approach, organizations are able to provide exactly what is relevant for each employee to create a smooth end-to-end experience throughout their time at the organization.
For example, employees on the same team that are located across the globe may need to access different payroll systems to see their pay information but may share the same performance management tool. With a composable HR application, you are able to structure your HR system to reflect what a given employee needs to see without having to manage multiple systems separately.