How to Make Your Business into a Composable Business


The pandemic put a spotlight on vulnerabilities within business models. Organizations that once thrived found themselves at a loss, especially at a time when flexibility was key. The dominant enterprise business strategy had to make room for fast-changing conditions. As a result, most businesses sought adaptive strategies that could help redefine their long-term direction. And they discovered something important. As part of developing a functional strategic plan, it becomes necessary to create a composable business.

But what does this mean?

Analysts from research firm Gartner, Inc. discussed this topic in-depth during the keynote of the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ 2020. But it essentially boils down to this: Having a composable business means your setup (based on interchangeable building blocks) is prepared for all kinds of scenarios. 

The idea is that having this kind of setup allows you to readjust and reprioritize whenever the need arises. It means that your business is strong enough and flexible enough to address both external and internal factors that could otherwise leave you scrambling. The most notable example is the recent pandemic that affected business continuity. 

You shouldn't underestimate the ability to pivot in times of change. And you shouldn't underestimate how adopting the principles of composable business can serve you now and in the long run.

The 4 Basic Principles of Composable Business

According to Gartner, there are four basic principles of composable business that can be applied for greater capabilities: 

  1. Discovery
  2. Modularity
  3. Orchestration
  4. Autonomy

Let’s take a deeper dive into these principles… 

1) More Speed through Discovery

Discovery refers to a business’s ability to determine when changes need to occur based on the environment. And when it comes to discovery, speed is crucial. When you’re able to identify opportunities quickly, you can deploy the necessary changes quickly. As a result, you have a better chance of keeping up with the accelerating pace of the business landscape.     

2) Greater Agility through Modularity

In terms of modularity, the idea is that businesses should mix and match their capabilities. This allows functions to be reorganized to develop new products, services, and processes. Further, it can help a business better adapt their offerings so that they are consumable through different delivery channels and available at various touchpoints. With these interchangeable components, your organization can achieve greater agility, which is vital for not only surviving but also thriving.

3) Better Leadership through Orchestration

Orchestration is about aligning skills to develop more effective leadership. When it comes down to it, business leaders must inspire the kind of processes that adapt to changes in the business landscape. This also includes coordinating available resources in a way that benefits the organization in the long run. 

As a leader, you are charged with helping the business turn possible problems into advantages. Specifically, you want to provide leadership prompts that ensure that the business remains agile and copes well with unforeseen events. However, even as you take a more strategic role, it’s important to avoid business owner burnout.

4) Resilience through Autonomy

The world around you demands that you create a business that is flexible and capable of withstanding challenges. And one of the best ways to achieve that kind of resilience is through autonomy. By giving individual departments the freedom to work independently and reach their strategic goals, the entire organization will be stronger for it.  

A Look at the Building Blocks of Composable Business 

The building blocks of composable business, combined with the four principles explained above, enable a business to pivot quickly so it can adapt to unplanned events. As mentioned above, there are three building blocks at the core of a solid setup:

  1. Composable thinking
  2. Composable business architecture
  3. Composable technologies

Composable Thinking 

This type of thinking helps retain creativity, which is a necessary part of any business. To create a composable business, you want to combine the principles of discovery, modularity, orchestration, and autonomy with composable thinking. In doing so, you’re able to determine the different ways in which you can create your composable infrastructure.

Gartner believes that chief information officers (CIOs) need to maintain innovation. This allows the business to be built in a way that ensures it stays adaptive even with unforeseen events. With composable thinking, the four principles function as design principles, guiding how your business approaches unexpected changes. Overall, this building block requires that you conceptualize what you can compose and when you should do it.  

Composable Business Architecture 

Composable business architecture is about making sure that your organization is resilient from the inside out. This is key, as resilience should be a priority when building the business. Altogether, the building block focuses on structure and purpose. 

With this building block, the four principles function as structural capabilities that give your organization the mechanisms to use in constructing the business so that it remains adaptive in changing times. Notably, part of having a composable business architecture is understanding that disruptive changes are a norm. However, the goal is to arrange architecture to…

Composable Technologies 

Composable technologies are the tools for modern business. They help bring the long-term vision to life. Having composable technologies for your business requires that you leverage the existing digital investment within your organization. 

With this building block, the four principles act as product design goals that drive the features of technology that support composability.

Group of male and female business owners having a meeting in an office.

Additional Tips for Creating a Composable Business 

When creating a composable business, you need to consider how the market could change, how competitive the landscape will be, and what expectations your customers have. It's all about thinking ahead and using every resource at your disposal to set up your business for long-term success.

Here are some additional tips…

Exclude Any Monolithic ERP systems

As a business leader, you should understand that building a composable enterprise is not a one-time endeavor. Instead, it is an ongoing process in which you ensure your business is able to meet the demands of an ever-evolving market. And that means you need tools, systems, and processes in place that support your efforts.

As such, you should proactively exclude any monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. These systems are unable to accommodate changing business needs.

Adopt the Appropriate Long-Term Objectives 

How you structure your composable enterprise is highly reliant on the industry you are in, your target market, and the business strategy you hope to maintain. 

Therefore, you want to adopt long-term objectives that align with your business strategy and serve to move your business toward transformation. 


The pandemic had businesses scrambling to survive, hunting for solutions to the gaps within that threatened continuity. This resulted in the adoption of new business models that were significantly more agile. Specifically, companies had to create interchangeable foundations that have transformed decision-making and created autonomy regarding operations and product development. 

Although it can be a challenge, creating a composable business is the best way to ensure your organization is constructed for maximum agility so it can adapt to sudden changes.


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Filed Under: Business Tips