How to assess the performance of your composable architecture

Monolithic applications are out. Microservices are in. We’ll show you five value pillars to track when assessing your tech stack.

Key Facts

1
The proliferation of digital channels and the pace at which customers expect to engage with brands on those channels have forced companies to prioritize flexibility, agility and speed.
2
Composable architecture breaks the capabilities of all-inclusive monolithic suites into individual microservices that can be constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed again and again to meet evolving digital needs.
3
Microservices are connected through APIs to create composable architectures. Built upon a content platform like Contentful, these architectures use content to power engaging, scalable customer experiences.
Sneak Peek

Building a composable architecture? Download this guide to assess the tools in your stack against five value pillars and the right KPIs.

Sneak Peek

Building a composable architecture? Download this guide to assess the tools in your stack against five value pillars and the right KPIs.

What you will learn

Composable architectures serve as scaffolding for today’s most successful digital transformations and most engaging digital experiences. In rejecting the rigidity common with more traditional setups, the modularity that comes with composable architecture equips brands to handle new customer demands and business needs, whether they arise over time or over night.

Read this white paper to learn what defines composable architecture, the five pillars you should rely on to measure its success, and how universal key performance indicators (KPIs) correlate to each pillar. You’ll also learn about brands using composable architecture to enhance business capabilities including Shiseido, Equinox, The ALDO Group, SWAROVSKI OPTIK, and Loblaw Digital.

Here’s a closer look at what’s inside. 

What defines composable architecture

Composable architecture is a framework where multiple purpose-built microservices are connected via APIs to create a technology stack designed to best meet the specific needs of the business.* This framework is equatable with MACH architecture, microservices architecture, modular architecture, and best-of-breed architecture. It provides a modern, flexible, scalable alternative to monolithic digital experience architectures.

How composable architecture differs from traditional solutions

Until recently, monolithic solutions have been a digital experience staple, addressing several business needs through a single tightly coupled tool. As headless options emerged to offer greater freedom in language and tooling, monolithic vendors began selling add-ons to stay relevant. The problem with these offerings is that they are often overpriced, underperforming, and have lengthy, resource-hungry integration processes.

Composable architectures offer freedom by allowing development teams to pull in nearly any tool — open-source, third-party, or house-built. Plus, these modules, tools, and components can be infinitely constructed, deconstructed, and restructured to fit the next project or newest digital channel. 

Why assessing (and sharing) the value of this architecture is important

When building composable architectures, developers select tools in which features and functionalities align with business needs rather than existing capabilities. Once integrated, what’s important should shift to how well a given tool accelerates business objectives. This ensures the value of each microservice and the stack as a whole is not only observable but something you can compute. 

It’s important to take a step back and consider how each tool contributes to organization-wide speed, flexibility, extensibility, scalability, and reliability. To quantify value, we recommend collecting data in each area via choice KPIs. In doing so, development teams can minimize pullback on tools that actively contribute to business wins and increase their runtime within the organization. 

The value pillars that matter most

Speed

Technology that promotes speed is quick to value, quick to market, and quick to operationalize. It comes with pre-built features and documentation, so developers don’t have to write entire codebases from scratch. If and when updates need to be made, individual contributors should be able to do so and publish the change at a swift pace. Tools with automation features provide added value by eliminating redundant or unnecessary tasks. Here are three of the nine speed KPIs we recommend tracking in relation to speed: time to first launch, percent of product built, and percent of processes automated.

Flexibility

Flexible architectures and tools accommodate shifts in external and internal forces helping digital experiences remain relevant at all times. They minimize — or entirely eliminate —  technological debt, satisfy unique programming language and frameworks preferences, and enhance employee experiences by eliminating the need to develop workarounds. This allows teams to return to the roles and responsibilities they were trained for and enjoy most. Here are three of the nine flexibility KPIs we recommend tracking in relation to flexibility: number of workarounds, number of programming languages available, and team member satisfaction.

Extensibility

The tools a company relies on today might not satisfy tomorrow’s need for in-store digital signage or a mobile app with AR/VR features. Extensibility enables brands to create an ecosystem of tools that can be connected (or disconnected) in support of new needs and operational efficiency. The most extensible tools are easy to integrate and require few resources and limited developer dependencies to do so.  They also offer deep customization options so individual contributors can configure their workspace in a way that makes sense to them. Here are just three of the nine extensibility KPIs we recommend tracking in relation to extensibility: governance capabilities, number of app integrations, and percent of UI customized. 

Scalability

Two things are true of business growth: companies of all sizes seek it and it requires new tools. These tools should extend a brand’s market reach by offering localization services and reliable global delivery. And, because it’s sometimes not enough to speak to the masses, they should support personalization, so every customer feels seen and cared for. Technology that removes silos and allows for content reusability makes localization and personalization efforts more efficient while safeguarding brand style and messaging. Bonus points if source code is hidden from non-technical users. Here are just three of the nine scalability KPIs we recommend tracking in relation to scalability: number of locales, customer conversion, and percent of content reused. 

Reliability

As businesses scale, it’s more likely that security, privacy, compliance, and human error arise and impact an app’s state. Tools that offer deep storage and routine backups provide a cushion and an opportunity to roll back to previous state changes as developers work to debug the system and mitigate side effects, or mutations. Tools that utilize CDNs to improve page load times and support high traffic offer added value by minimizing latency and downtime. When products, services, and information are delivered quickly, customer satisfaction increases. Here are just three of the nine reliability KPIs we recommend tracking in relation to reliability: number of breaches, page load time, and bounce rate.

For more on these value pillars and how a content platform like Contentful lays a stable foundation for composable architectures, check out “How to assess the performance of your composable architecture.”

*Note: This general definition of composable architecture should not be confused with The Composable Architecture (TCA). According to GitHub, TCA is a framework and library similar to Redux that’s used to build ios applications with toolkits like SwiftUI or UIKit toolkits in an Xcode environment. Instead of being known for its flexibility and future-proof qualities, as composable architecture is, the framework built by Point-Free is recognized for bringing consistency to applications by promoting functional programming and state management.

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