Digital transformation: one brick at a time

Person in suit next to digital monitors
(Image credit: Image Credit: Wichy / Shutterstock)

As economic uncertainty continues, organizations are under increased pressure to provide more seamless, digital experiences to customers. As Forrester predicts, in 2023 consumers will “continuously curate experiences, selecting those that deliver high value while abandoning those that do not.” It is crucial that businesses can provide personalized, convenient, streamlined, and above all fast experiences, if they’re to keep discerning customers loyal.

To deliver these experiences, businesses must prioritize digital strategies that enable them to innovate at a faster rate, without lots of additional expense. This is already a priority – research of CIOs worldwide shows digital transformation investment is set to double in 2023.

However, enterprises should make sure those investments are smart ones that add real value to the business. Cloud computing will be integral to this, with its ability to offer increased agility, scale and flexibility. In the same survey, 95 percent said migration to the cloud is “inevitable.” But this shift won’t be without its challenges.

Having the right foundation

One of the biggest challenges for organisations is having the right talent and skills among their IT and developer workforce. After all, there is no point moving to the cloud if the business can’t manage and secure its new, infinitely scalable architecture. At best, the result will be additional complexity as the business compensates for a lack of the right skills by micro-managing its cloud architecture.

This challenge is exacerbated by the burgeoning skills gap. McKinsey and Company reports that the majority of companies worldwide (87 percent) are acutely aware of the talent crisis they face. This talent shortfall is massively increasing the burden of work on already overstretched IT departments, resulting in a vicious cycle where the end result is likely to be burnt out developers deciding to leave for greener pastures.

That’s why enterprises urgently need a way to relieve the burden on IT teams, whilst at the same time supporting rapid innovation. One answer is to adopt a composable approach to IT.

Perry Krug
Perry Krug

Perry Krug is a Principal Architect at Couchbase.

Breaking it down

A composable approach to IT makes it possible to easily create new applications and services, using existing digital capabilities. This is done by taking an organizations' digital assets and breaking them down into smaller components. For instance, you could break down a customer service application into the series of APIs and components used to create it; such as chat bot functionality, and plug-ins that allow it to access and share real-time stock availability with customers. These smaller elements are then treated like a digital version of LEGO – simple building blocks that can be combined to create almost any digital service imaginable. And the beauty of it is these bricks can be used time and again. Going back to our example, this could see the chatbot utilized, for instance, to develop a new service that employees could use when seeking IT support.

Even better, just like with LEGO, users don’t need specialist skills to do this. Instead, low/no-code tools can be deployed to enable anyone within an organisation to develop their own digital experiences, without ever having to write a single line of code. This means organisations can take pressure away from developers and speed up innovation. These often take the form of interfaces with drag and drop capabilities, so an employee can simply drag the specific API or component they need to create the service they’re after.

This also facilitates the shift of the IT department towards becoming a consultancy. Instead of having to use the LEGO bricks themselves, developers act as a guardian overseeing the process, to ensure all development abides by the rules and is done in a secure way. This frees them up from having to create every single digital service, to instead concentrate on tasks that deliver higher value to the overall business.

A concrete solution

Those wishing to improve the customer experience and unleash the power behind a composable approach must embrace next generation cloud technologies. These technologies should take the form of cloud services that offer as much agility as possible and take advantage of an organizations' existing skills. For instance, a database will be a crucial building block for most applications an enterprise wants to create. Adopting a modern database in-house might demand skills that an organization simply doesn’t have access to – especially if it works on completely different principles to existing, legacy databases.

Switching to a cloud-based Database-as-a-Service platform could give many organizations the composability block they need – especially if they choose one that doesn’t require extensive new development skills to use, and offers the flexibility to meet their data management and budgetary needs. They can then take advantage of a service that removes many of the management demands from cloud offerings; and brings with it the necessary scalability so that it can be used in as many applications for as many users as required. If organizations can take crucial steps like this when creating their composable IT strategy, they’ll find they are set up for success.

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Perry Krug

Perry Krug is a Principal Architect at Couchbase focused on strategic customers. Perry has worked with hundreds of users and companies to deploy, and maintain Couchbase's NoSQL database technology. He has over 10 years of experience in high performance caching and database systems.