Demystifying CPL for SMEs
Every businessperson can likely point to a behemoth enterprise they’ve come in contact with – one that moves slowly, struggles to adapt to a changing economy, and perhaps even falls behind the competition for lack of agility.
Then there are the SMEs, who may not struggle with the same immovable large pieces as enterprises but still need to be agile to scale and compete.
In a rapidly changing world with endless uncertainty, businesses of all sizes can no longer afford to move slowly or leave inefficient manual processes in place. Automating recurring tasks enables companies to be more agile but until recently workflow automation was highly technical and time-intensive - and was therefore primarily implemented by large enterprises with the resources to bankroll large IT projects. However, advances in technology have changed all that.
That’s where the concept of “composability” comes in – the ability to automate workflows with no code by visually mapping business processes.
In this article, we’ll explore what “composable” means in an enterprise context, the four core principles of business composability, and how a composable process layer enables better (and simpler) automation.
What is a composable enterprise?
A composable enterprise breaks down monolithic applications into interchangeable blocks that can be rearranged to fit any demand. These blocks, or components, are built, grown, and managed independently of each other, allowing the business to quickly slot in new technologies and processes when needed.
"Composable business is a natural acceleration of the digital business that organisations live every day. It allows organisations to finally deliver the resilience and agility that these interesting times demand."
Business composability is not a new concept – the idea was first introduced by IBM in 20142. But the pandemic gave the topic a resurgence as many businesses were forced to rapidly adapt to new processes and operational necessities. The companies that were built on the idea of composability – think Zoom and Amazon – were able to adapt and even grow despite challenges that caused many businesses to shut down permanently.
Four core principles of business composability
Gartner has developed four core principles to guide businesses in their journey to become composable3:
- Discovery – The ability to discover, understand, and take action when a new change arises in your business
- Modularity – Breaking your business into interchangeable blocks to control and scale up change
- Orchestration – Prescribing and negotiating how the blocks interact with each other to enable faster process formation and change adoption
- Autonomy – Maximise independence of each block to maintain integrity of change
The hypothesis is that businesses who incorporate these four principles will be better poised to achieve sustainable growth, no matter what may arise in a volatile market and economy.
What is a composable process?
When an organisation has this modular setup discussed above, its processes are made up of interchangeable blocks and the IT systems that accompany them. According to SAP, this enables a business “to reassemble processes dynamically and rearrange and reorient as needed depending on external or internal factors.”4
In simple terms, this means a composable process is easy to build and easy to change.
As an example, think of organisations who had to implement new protective measures to keep employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this could involve a longer project with complex coding required in a traditional business, an enterprise with composable processes could enable teams to rapidly update these processes without any new code.
Creating a composable process layer: Visualise, manage, and automate
Business processes are complex and ever-changing, and we all know that automating these processes saves time, money, and effort. But changing a system almost always involves creating or changing code, requiring developers to get involved. Early workflow automation tools also required much of this technical expertise.
Enter the composable business, and more specifically the composable process layer.
A composable process layer allows you to visualise your processes in order to define your workflow, making it easier to manage and automate all processes across the entire business. What that means is that anyone at your company - even non-technical people - can easily automate any business workflow.
A key piece of business composability is discovery, and composable process layer technology enables teams to visualise their processes and the modular “blocks” they consist of. Understanding the components of each process and workflow then simplifies the act of changing – or better yet, automating – each process.
Composable process layer technology represents a quantum leap in business process automation because it makes formally complex and expensive workflow automation accessible and affordable for smaller organizations.
Are composable processes the “new normal”?
As we learned during the coronavirus pandemic, the only things guaranteed in our world are uncertainty and change. While this is a significant challenge we must reckon with, businesses that are prepared to operate, scale, and change within a volatile ecosystem will continue to have a competitive advantage.
Uncertainty and digital transformation require businesses to prioritise agility and resilience, two attributes that composability can directly enable. Rather than continuing to adopt monolithic applications built for traditional companies, businesses should evolve toward flexible, scalable, composable processes and workflows.
For SMEs, these composable processes are both better for agility and easier to manage. Solutions that enable composability are highly visual rather than requiring deep IT skills, meaning that theoretically anyone in the business can build workflows.
With Flowers, small and medium businesses can create and automate their own enterprise-grade workflows at a fraction of the cost. The Flowers no-code Workflow Builder and secure Cloud platform enable you to automate in less than an hour without changing current processes - so you can get work done faster.
1 Gartner, 2020, Gartner Keynote: The Future of Business Is Composable, https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-keynote-the-future-of-business-is-composable
2 IBM, 2014, What is a composable business?, https://www.ibm.com/blogs/cloud-computing/2014/04/23/composable-business/
3 Gartner, 2021, Becoming Composable: A Gartner Trend Insight Report, https://www.gartner.com/en/doc/becoming-composable-gartner-trend-insight-report
4 SAP, 2022, Composable Business Processes: The Journey Toward a Composable Enterprise, https://news.sap.com/2022/02/composable-enterprise-journey/