What Is Composable Architecture, And Why Does It Matter?

Composable architecture is a modular approach to structuring your own custom tech stack, with flexible solutions that are easy to implement, manage, and scale.

By Nick Oropall

Apr 7, 2023

5 min

Becoming overly reliant on one massive, complicated system is a recipe for a headache when – not if – technology advances. Enterprise organizations already know this: following the push to cloud-based systems, many have only just wrapped up years-long digital transformation initiatives. Others are still in progress, and likely will be for several years.

However, the learnings from this collective experience are valuable. All the things that made legacy systems so complicated to replace – traditional architecture, incompatibility with new technology and solutions, and difficult to manage – are red flags when evaluating new tools.

Organizations now know what they want from their digital experience platform, or DXP: flexibility within their tech stack; easy set-up and management; and ultimately, the ability to scale their solutions up or down to match their business needs. Essentially, they're building not just a DXP, but a composable DXP.

As you build and manage your customers' digital experiences, be sure to consider platforms and solutions that meet the guidelines for composability.

1. Headless or Composable Infrastructure Is Crucial for Flexibility & Longevity

First, how have brands traditionally architected their digital experiences?

Traditionally, digital experiences were built on monolithic content management systems (CMS), meaning that you'd have no other option than to rely almost entirely on one solution for your entire digital experience. Following this model, your front-end, back-end, CMS, code, plugins, database, and even your server are essentially sandwiched into one giant application.

What is composable architecture?

Composable architecture is a modular approach to structuring your own custom tech stack. This is similar to headless architecture, but instead of just the back-end and front-end being decoupled for one type of experience (such as a website), each digital experience is decoupled and can be leveraged together. This allows you to update or edit the front-end without interfering with the back-end.

The result is a system where each component is independent of the overall architecture, enabling the organization to manage and scale digital experiences at a pace suitable for the company's resources and goals. These applications will have an emphasis on out-of-the-box capabilities, incorporate cloud services, and offer built-in integrations and APIs.

Rather than committing to one legacy content management system – or 100 individual solutions – a composable approach eliminates overreliance on one vendor, and enables flexibility in adding new solutions. This gives you the ability to leverage multiple vendors and solutions to manage and improve your digital user experiences all throughout the customer journey.

2. Built-in Integrations, also known as Native Integrations, Are Key Features of Composable Tech Stacks

When building an enterprise DXP, you'll want to consider the established, pre-built integrations in any supplementary solutions, such as your CMS or CRM. Ideally, you'll find a long list of integrations with popular, useful solutions. This serves multiple purposes.

Firstly, it enables a quick-start and self-service model for your various teams managing digital experiences. With very little setup required and no need to involve technical teams, this is an empowering feature for marketers, content managers, and other (less technical, but still involved) roles.

Built-in integrations make it easier for your team to collaborate and deliver digital experiences – without relying on valuable technical resources or extensive cross-functional project planning.

Additionally, built-in integrations increase the reliability of a consistent digital experience by minimizing any issues between systems. This is important for lean teams and operations, where troubleshooting and downtime take away from more high-impact, goal-driven work.

3. A Core Element of Composable Architecture is An API-first Platform

Built-in integrations are very useful in ensuring smooth communication between platforms, and are typically easy to set up. However, often there's little room for customization beyond the native integration's original features.

When you evaluate digital experience tools, look for an API-first platform for low-lift customization. This is aligned with a composable architecture and can help you to move data in and out of the platform services within your DXP, or even configure your platform or content.

Whether you are trying to bring content into your platform, use your headless CMS to power content in a custom experience, or even customize your platform, an API-first platform helps to provide as much flexibility as possible while only requiring a light lift for your developers.

Finally, it's more cost-effective to prioritize a composable, API-based architecture when building your DXP. Otherwise, you risk overreliance on monolithic solution suites, or overpaying for duplicate features across multiple smaller point solutions.

*Pro Tip: Look for solutions that are members of the MACH Alliance. Inclusion in the MACH Alliance certifies that the solution meets the MACH standard of modern technology: microservices based, API-first, cloud-native SaaS, and headless or composable.

MACH ISV Certified, 2023 Seal
How to Build Your DXP

It's time to say goodbye to monolithic solution suites and hello to more flexibility. Your teams can easily create, build, and scale the best digital experiences with Yext.

The Yext Answers Platform is a MACH-certified, composable enterprise solution. Our suite of solutions are ideal for building a composable DXP. With over 200 built-in integrations, Yext gives you the flexibility you need to build custom experiences your way — using a best-in-breed approach to selecting vendors. The end result is a better experience for your customers that drives retention and revenue.

Just look to Yext's case study on Samsung as an example: within eleven weeks of launching Yext's solutions to manage their help site experience, Samsung saw significant growth in every major customer satisfaction metric across NPS score (+45%), CSAT (+33%), Issues Resolved (+15%), and surveys completed (8x+). All told, Samsung increased customer engagement with its help site by 19% — streamlining the path to resolution and delighting customers along the way.

Teams are lean and budgets are thin. Meanwhile, digital experiences – and your customers' expectations – are growing every day. Learn more about the best approach to digital experience management in our eBook, Do More With Less: How to Enable Your Team & Provide Great Digital Experiences.

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