Optimizing Composable Architecture: Managing Costs & Ensuring Compliance
By Jerry Hill

Explore key strategies for managing costs, efficiency, and compliance in composable architecture.

The emergence of composable architecture marks a significant evolution in web development. Characterized by its flexibility and modular design, composable architecture offers businesses unprecedented control over their digital infrastructure. But with these benefits come new complexities, especially in managing costs, operational efficiency, scalability, and compliance. Transitioning to a composable architecture requires more than just adopting a new set of tools; it's a fundamental shift in how organizations integrate new technology into their business processes.

Our previous blog post on this topic—"Avoiding the Dangers of Composable Architecture Done Wrong"—explored the potential pitfalls of improperly implemented composable systems. While it's crucial to identify the dangers, it's equally important to understand some of the proactive strategies needed to manage and optimize your new composable system.

Here, we dig into some common aspects of integration that can create budgetary headaches. We also explore the concepts of operational efficiency and scalability, outlining how each can help improve user experience and control expenses. Finally, we discuss the importance of keeping your composable stack compliant and provide some tips for doing so.

Navigating the budgetary complexities of composable architecture

Budget management is an essential hurdle that organizations can expect to encounter when transitioning to composable architecture. Its modular and flexible nature often requires integrating multiple systems and services—an integration that can quickly become a matrix of contracts and responsibilities, each adding layers to the financial planning puzzle. The initial investment is a challenge, but orchestrating these components to function efficiently and cost-effectively is another matter altogether. Companies can start mitigating these complexities by:

1. Streamlining vendor management: This can be done by choosing a single vendor capable of managing the entire stack or appointing a prime contractor. The network acts as a central coordination point, ensuring that all parts of the composable system work harmoniously. This approach simplifies contract management and can help synchronize deadlines and deliverables, thus preventing cost overruns and misaligned projects.

2. Building operational efficiency post-implementation: It's a common misconception that once a composable architecture is in place, the work is done. How your business processes are designed also plays a crucial role in operational efficiency. Processes need to be streamlined and aligned with the capabilities of the composable system. Overly complex or rigid processes can negate the benefits of a flexible architecture. For example, a process that requires manual intervention at multiple stages might hinder the speed and responsiveness composable systems can deliver. Simplifying these processes by automating specific steps or rethinking the workflow can significantly reduce the time and labor involved, enhancing overall efficiency.

3. Scaling existing systems: Designing a system that can scale up or down based on business needs prevents bottlenecks and ensures that resources are not wasted on unused or neglected components. For example, a static, non-scalable system may require constant hardware upgrades. While these actions will undoubtedly meet the organization's demand, they will drive costs skyward quickly. An efficiently designed system can decrease the number of resource-intensive calls (i.e., improve user experience) and reduce the need for additional hardware (i.e., control cost).

Smart budgeting for composable architecture is an exercise in foresight and strategic planning. It requires a holistic view that considers the immediate costs and the long-term operational and scalability expenses. An organization's decisions during design and vendor selection can significantly impact the total cost of owning a composable system.

Keeping composable architecture compliant

Network engineers and web developers know composable architecture evolved from previous concepts like "Best of Breed" and "Headless" to improve interactivity and user experience on the web. But for most organizations, composable architecture is an entirely new concept.  

So, what's the point of discussing whether cutting-edge software is compliant? What is "compliance" when the tech significantly outpaces existing rules, regulations, or standards? These are fair questions. But we think there's significant value in staying ahead of regulators when it comes to the technological framework on which your business is built.      

Today, there isn't a playbook, roadmap or guidance document outlining how to keep composable architecture compliant. But that's no reason to ignore a future challenge. Instead, adopt a dynamic and proactive approach that draws from technological best practices used elsewhere in the organization. Consider building the following steps into your workflow:

  • Regularly monitor and assess each component. This will ensure your entire tech stack is as current as possible. Integrating subpar or outdated technology into your shiny new composable architecture reduces efficiency and can lead to legal and security risks.
  • Track KPIs like uptime and system responsiveness. These metrics can provide early warnings for unforeseen issues. A decline in these metrics could indicate problems with specific components or the need for system-wide updates. Regular performance reviews help identify these issues before they escalate, allowing for timely intervention.
  • Solicit employee feedback. Those who use systems daily have firsthand insights into their effectiveness and areas that require improvement. Encouraging open communication channels where employees can report issues, suggest enhancements, or flag potential non-compliance is essential. This feedback can guide system updates and ensure that the architecture continues to meet the users' evolving needs.
  • Schedule internal reviews of the system's architecture. These should happen regularly and include an analysis of the current technology stack. They should assess any changes since the last review and evaluate new market trends or regulatory changes that might affect the system.
  • Anticipate software lifecycles. Software components nearing the end of their lives and vendor-led discontinuations without clear upgrade options can signal technology that's becoming obsolete. Keeping track of these lifecycles enables organizations to plan for replacements or upgrades in advance, avoiding sudden system failures and other compliance issues.

Keeping composable architecture "compliant" today means regular monitoring, open communication, and periodic reviews. These efforts ensure that the system remains efficient and aligned with the organization's evolving needs. Vigilant and responsive businesses can turn their composable architecture into a catalyst for growth and innovation.

A final word

Getting the best from your composable architecture is an endeavor that extends far beyond the initial setup. The true success of an organization's composable architecture depends on its ability to balance flexibility with foresight. It demands a strategic approach that encompasses budgetary concerns and operational know-how. The key is understanding that composable architecture is a living entity requiring continuous assessment and adaptation.

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