Why go composable?
Being composable in IT architecture and Business architecture is a hot topic. There are multiple reasons for that. Composable Business promises the following benefits:
- Scalability in terms of technical resources;
- Efficiency in terms of freedom to choose best-of-breed products and technology matching your business needs;
- Adjustability to changing external or internal needs;
- Ability to alter line-of-business systems or even change them without that change to spread to other systems;
- Multichannel front with a single backend.
In essence, being composable is an architectural decision to be uncoupled. Building uncoupled IT means you build your composable IT or Composable commerce with products and technologies with excellent connectivity like microservices or products with scalable APIs. However, having high connectivity pieces and building blocks is not enough. What happens if you connect these directly with their interfaces? You quickly get a point-to-point architecture that leads to an IT nightmare called "Integration Spaghetti."
With spaghetti architecture, you create a system landscape where every modification in the system or change of the system itself has an impact on other systems. You also lose the technical monitoring ability and, in the end, have lots of custom code to upkeep. Gartner analyzed years ago that over half of the IT budget goes to the maintenance of spaghetti IT in companies that let it happen.
How to implement composable architecture with iPaaS
Enterprise iPaaS like Frends is the backbone for composable architecture in general and eCommerce cases. You can think of it as a layer that:
- Removes the direct connections between systems that lead to spaghetti architecture;
- Enables using old legacy systems as a data source for the digital front end;
- Allows you to build business-level APIs and microservices that combine old and new systems. For example, customer information may be in several systems. With iPaaS, you can integrate them into a single business API for the digital front;
- Enables modularity to your system landscape. You can change underlying systems like CRM without changing the digital front or other systems using a layered architecture;
- Prolong the life cycle of legacy systems by creating a business API that can store its data and serve it much faster than the original legacy system could. See DIH architecture for more information;
- Enables APIs to serve every channel and need, not just a webshop. Business APIs are inherently reusable everywhere.
In the picture above, all the basic functions that the eCommerce platform needs are in the API layer. It consists of services like "getCustomerInfo", "purchaseOrder" etc. The API layer not only separates System-of-Records (SoR) from the eCommerce platform in a healthy way but also combines data from different sources, making implementing eCommerce easy. It also enables concepts like D2C (Direct to Customer), where the webshop does not use additional distributors or resellers but directly access the supplier product availability information. Modern iPaaS is also a low-code rule engine, so you can embed logical decisions, use AI-based decision-making or services like Azure Cognitive Services, and practically anything within the API logic.
Watch the tutorial on how to set up Azure Cognitive Services.
What do you need to achieve all this?
It all begins with the architectural decision to go for composable and choose a modern enterprise iPaaS like Frends as the API layer. The benefits of iPaaS as an eCommerce backbone are:
- Modern iPaaS enables visual low-code, which eases the maintenance and upkeep of eCommerce backend significantly compared to, e.g., high-code solutions. The support personnel doesn't have to be developers, unlike raw-code approaches.
- Visual-low code also allows operators without a technical background to see what happened during the API call, like receiving an order. Operators can also see exactly the data that went through the process.
- Unlike high-code solutions, modern iPaaSes like Frends Enterprise iPaaS offer ready-made monitoring and alerting.
- Most modern iPaaS include connectivity with out-of-the-box adapters (Frends has hundreds of connectors) and support for de-facto standards like OpenAPI.
I could not emphasize the importance of cost-efficient maintenance - something you achieve with iPaaS like Frends. The required building blocks for composable eCommerce are:
- An eCommerce platform that allows external API calls like Magento;
- Modern iPaaS like Frends act as backbone API and automation layer;
- PIM, CMS, ERP, and other line-of-business systems that have any interface. Remember that with modern iPaaS, you can glue old legacy and even vintage systems to be part of your eCommerce solution.
If you are interested, don't hesitate to contact me for more information. You can also directly book a demo with Frends from here. If you are interested in the eCommerce platform implementation, don't hesitate to contact our partners, Lamia and Vaimo.