This is a guest piece written for the Computer Weekly Developer Network by Bruce Orcutt in his role as senior vice president of Product Marketing at ABBYY — a company known for its foundations in document capture and management that now works more broadly as a provider of ‘Digital IQ’ for the enterprise.
Originally titled ‘Composability, the Foundation to No-Code Platforms’ and now presented here, Orcutt writes as follows…
Composability has finally come of age in 2021.
Businesses’ need for agility and resilience during 2020 led IT leaders to seek best-in-breed technology as building blocks for solutions that accelerated digital initiatives. This was a pointed move away from most technology vendors’ push for all-in-one automation platforms and coveted real estate within enterprise architectures.
The move towards a composable business will deliver a competitive advantage according to Gartner, which estimates that by 2023 organisations building solutions with modularity in mind will outpace competitors by 80%. It enables businesses to rearrange interchangeable building blocks of technology and platforms depending on various and unpredictable factors to maintain business continuity and even thrive during times of disruption.
Weeks, not months
For example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV) was able to transition how it processed US-originated Real ID applications for residents during the pandemic when lockdowns prohibited applicants from going to their local DMV department. Its chief digital transformation officer pivoted his team by quickly orchestrating a toolset of software applications that enabled mobile capture, intelligent document processing (IDP) and AI and machine learning to allow residents to submit their required documents electronically from home. The composable solution was deployed in weeks, improved the quality and speed of its employees’ decisions, processed documents faster, and enabled the CA DMV to continue serving the community with Real ID cards.
Technology vendors have also recognised the opportunity to be the catalyst for a composable architecture by offering no-code platforms built on components that are encapsulated and deliver connectivity between data, analytics, and applications. Specialty no-code platforms that can be shared across multiple business units and functions can serve as a compute resource part of a more comprehensive tool. They encompass key attributes of composability including ease of discovery, support and accessibility to share platforms across the business.
For example, no-code IDP (identity provider) platforms take composable technologies OCR (optical character recognition), ML (machine learning) and NLP (natural language processing) to digitise and transform enterprise content. Cognitive skills can be added in a modular fashion to implant abilities to recognise specific forms of content ranging from purchase orders, invoices, and contracts to mortgage documents and DMV Real ID applications.
Processes, content and people
In this role, an IDP no-code platform is the composable tool that funnels quality data to fuel other AI enabling systems such as robotic process automation, process mining, data analytics, CRM, ERP and BPM to help organisations have greater digital intelligence within their processes, content and people.
Organisations are not necessarily looking to pursue a composable technology mindset, but rather are looking to seize opportunities to thwart or take advantage of challenges during times of extreme change.
Corporate directors perceive the values that composable technologies offer as a means for accelerating enterprise digital strategies that will help deal with ongoing disruption. It is usually during times of geopolitical consequences like a pandemic or recession or change in consumer attitudes when a tech renaissance embarks, and CIOs recognise the need to reimagine how they’ve done business and are open to looking at new ways of leveraging technology.
Composable business mindset
When an organisation has a composable business mindset, it knows it needs to seek information from both within and outside of the company. You’ll find partners such as integrated solution vendors and resellers already offer component solutions as part of a broader strategic offering.
In the world of intelligent automation, we see this not only in cognitive skills offered for IDP platforms specific to vertical enterprise content (i.e. healthcare and logistics), but also with other modular components such as conversational AI, chatbots, data analytics, business intelligence and task mining capabilities that enable enterprises to achieve a more powerful business architected to be flexible during disruptions.
Achieving ROI with composable technology requires tying technology back to key performance indicators. Know in advance the expected savings to be achieved, including increase in customer engagement and retention rates, decrease in customer onboarding times or drop rates, and straight-through-processing rates of documents and processes. With a composable mindset, organisations will gain more speed, greater agility and resilience with modular technologies that advance a digital business.