The technology building blocks driving enterprise agility

Technology Director at ANS, Rob Cottrill
Rob Cottrill, Technology Director at ANS, sits down with Mobile Magazine to talk about how composability is the future of enterprise agility

A decade ago, generative AI was a concept of science fiction, but today, it has become a widespread tool for organisations worldwide. Technology Director at ANS, Rob Cottrill, stresses that agility is paramount to keep pace with rapidly accelerating digital change, and setting up businesses to be adaptable, data-driven and flexible is the key to survival in a world of innovative tech-native startups.

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Cottrill believes the answer is composability. The principle, he introduces, revolutionises businesses by adopting a modular setup fueled by internal and external data. Components within a system can be modified based on valuable insights. By harnessing the power of composability, enterprises become resilient to macroenvironmental changes, ranging from economic fluctuations to emerging software and technologies.

Here, Cottrill talks through the intricacies of composability and how it has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses operate.

What is composability?

Composability revolutionises your business by adopting a modular setup fuelled by internal and external data. Think of composability like LEGO blocks. You can build something and then it's relatively easy to change into something else. Picture these LEGO blocks as different modules of your software. Being able to change elements piece by piece is much more efficient than having to rebuild an entire system every time.

Who is adopting composability?

Composability emerged as a counterargument to monolithic applications around five years ago. In the past, organisations built interconnected monolithic applications where if one part failed, the entire system suffered. Today the trend is towards shared infrastructure, decoupled yet composable. Building blocks scale both horizontally and vertically. 

Transitioning from monolithic can be a tedious task, often involving integrating microservices until monolithic is no longer needed. While monolithic may never completely disappear, it becomes invisible to end consumers and organisations.

Benefits of composability

In an era of rapid technological change, agility is more critical than ever. To be agile and resilient, businesses need to adapt easily to tech and software changes, offer more products or services and cope with disruption. Composability should be a top priority, saving time and money when adapting and improving software and systems.

Agility and resilience

Imagine agility as a versatile function that can be used in various ways, serving different applications and areas of your business. When done right, as seen with AWS, it works exceptionally well. Granular unit testing becomes more manageable, allowing for an understanding of what's functioning and what's not. Components can be independently scaled, even during high-demand events like Black Friday.

Composability involves creating reusable tech components, ensuring that one failure won't take the entire application offline. Let's consider Amazon as an example. It relies on multiple micro servers. If one component, such as product recommendations, experiences a failure, customers can still browse and make purchases.

Barriers to adopting composability

Legacy technology poses challenges when transitioning to composability. Security and risk are always concerns and organisations often choose to replace high-risk elements first. There's a risk versus pace argument that businesses need to grapple with and rigorous testing is essential before migration.

Complexity and challenges for small businesses

Complexity increases with composability, as it involves managing many smaller, discrete components. Different teams often oversee these components, leading to complexities in governance, ownership and management. Small businesses may lack the support and resources to fully adopt composability. Different teams might develop different APIs, leading to communication challenges within the organisation. Changes in APIs can disrupt downstream consumers' workflows, making coordination crucial.

Scaling with control

Scalability plays a crucial role in composability. Microservices can scale independently, enhancing resilience and reliability. However, this transition should be done in a controlled manner. For instance, you might consider replacing the front end while keeping legacy systems in the background, gradually working your way back. The ability to independently scale, secure and implement small incremental changes makes composability a must for most organisations.

The future is composable

Embracing composability will make your business adaptable and flexible in the face of rapid technological and software changes. Viewing your business through the lens of composability will enable easy adaptation and ultimately save time, resources and money during periods of change. The future is composable and it's time for your enterprise to join the revolution.


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