For content professionals in 2023, the word "composable" is here, there, and everywhere. But what exactly does it mean? In a series of guest posts by Contentful technology and solution partners, we asked industry experts to explain what composability means to them.
Casper Rasmussen, Group SVP of Technology at Valtech and president of the MACH Alliance, outlines his perspective in the video below. And in the post thereafter, he encourages companies to find ways to introduce composability over time and learn as they go.
How ambitious is your organization when it comes to its tech stack?
When we work with our clients, one sign we look for is a company’s level of ambition. When you’re ready to go beyond a technology change and acknowledge a need for larger changes, then you’re ready for the composable conversation.
So why is ambition key to composability? You need a degree of ambition to drive composability beyond the reinvention of your website, and a desire to use composability to grow and improve your business. Think increasing efficiency in content operations, improving consistency across channels, enabling teams to deliver omnichannel experiences, and personalization initiatives.
Composable technology is scalable, designed to help you bring to life the ambitious goals you have today and the new ideas you haven't thought of yet. It's a core set of technologies that you can reconfigure to match different use cases as your business grows.
Really, composability is a shift in your team or company’s mindset and that shift (and a healthy dose of ambition) that enables business growth.
Composable tools empower you to trade channel-centric thinking for cohesive brand experiences
Brands and their customer experiences are limited by their traditional tech, not enabled. Traditional architectures focus on a single purpose — ad tech, web tech, social media. Teams are organized in silos around these tools. These silos constrict their view to one channel, making it challenging to deliver a cohesive brand experience across channels.
Channel-centric tools and team structures encourage people to focus on their limited role. They deliver small moments in the user journey but ignore the big picture that spans all of those channel-centric moments. If you focus on a website, you ask people to ignore everything around it. But no journey starts and ends on a website. That’s not customer-centric.
Companies need the ability to organize teams around the touchpoints consumers want. Those teams need tools that empower them to reach consumers where they are, regardless of channel.
Composable tools are the way to move away from channel-centric thinking. Their inherent flexibility and extensibility allow you to connect traditionally siloed channels and deliver one cohesive brand experience.
A composable approach removes these limitations
When you remove the technical limitations trapping your content and teams in silos, you allow your teams to take a new approach to building experiences. For example, a composable content platform lets you orchestrate content across channels, markets, and different parts of your business. It liberates your content from siloed CMSes.
The superpower of composable content is that it’s channel agnostic. This frees teams to create content for customers, not channels. Content is organized through metadata and keywords that make it easy to find and reuse. We’re not talking about just reusing content on a website. With composable content you can use content across channels, regions, business models (B2B, B2C, D2C), and all types of engagement models. This opens up a wealth of new possibilities.
Each piece of content becomes a multi-purpose object that you give context to in a channel. This lets you reimagine how you use content and be ambitious about what you want to do. You’re not locked into a site map that won’t scale to a voice interface, for example. And you can scale localization programs without recreating content from scratch for each region.
Composability extends your reach
Once you remove the limitations, and rethink content, now you can think about the reach of your business and how you want to engage with your customers. Composable content becomes the foundation of collaboration and scale across the business. It’s the thread that stitches everything together, enabling teams to orchestrate messaging across channels to tell a cohesive story.
When content is siloed within an organization, the experiences you deliver become fragmented and confusing across channels and markets. Being able to create content once and use it everywhere keeps your brand story and tone of voice more consistent and appealing to consumers as you extend your reach.
Composable content is what makes omnichannel, personalization, etc. possible at scale. It provides consistency in what you’re communicating and how those messages are being applied, while enabling teams to optimize and refine those messages to play different roles in the customer’s experience.
Efficient content operations
Efficiency is a key part of extending your reach into new channels, new markets, or new lines of business. Businesses can’t keep adding more people to manage more content in more places. They need speed and efficiency in marketing and content operations.
Composable content is a great way to solve for that. Teams can use and reuse each piece of content in many different ways, across channels, interfaces, touchpoints, and customer segments.
Make ambitious changes in small steps
With composable, you can make ambitious changes in small steps. Find ways to introduce composability over time and learn as you go. Figure out what creates pain today and adopt composable solutions that strengthen those parts of the existing monolith. In this way, you can gradually replace the monolith instead of planning a multi-year exercise of rebuilding the whole thing at once.
Choose a proof of concept that's good for consumers and internal efficiency. This could be your return process, or better self-service options — we all hate calling customer service or reading manuals. Execute one area in a more composable way. Test and learn.
Adopting a composable approach is a journey. A journey that'll influence and impact people, processes, company culture, and mindset; not just the technologies. This needs to be part of the core expectation the business has, so you’re not testing for the sake of testing.
Your proof of concept is a starting point. Your bigger goal might be to make the business more efficient, up-level the customer experience, establish consistency across touchpoints, or enable teams to stitch your channel mix and breadth of experiences together. Go ahead and be ambitious about where you want the journey to take you.
What comes next?
Are you ready to get started on your composable journey? Valtech is a Contentful Partner of the Year 2023, winning the Global Partner category. As a gold tier Contentful partner, Valtech has trained and certified experts to help you create, manage and develop a new content platform capable of delivering a one-of-a-kind digital experience to your customers.