Composability: What It Is and Why It Matters

Takeaways and advice for the enterprise drawn from our Composability Made Easy webinar. 

What is composability?

From ecommerce platform integration to enabling government digital services, composability is a software development approach where systems are assembled from modular components, which can be easily replaced, adjusted, or upgraded without affecting the overall system architecture. 

Think of it as building systems with LEGO bricks, mixing and matching different pieces to create a masterpiece, without having to tear down the whole structure. Or playing Jenga with tech, without the anxiety of everything toppling over.

How composability works

Composable architecture utilizes multiple independent systems with clearly defined interfaces to create one cohesive system. Each component has a distinct purpose and connects with other components through an API.

Composability stands in stark contrast to traditional monolithic martech architectures, where an organization must take every component “off the shelf” from a single vendor. 

Benefits of composability

The primary benefit of adopting a composable approach is giving an organization the ability to rapidly innovate and differentiate in the marketplace. And the flexibility to integrate different services and systems seamlessly and efficiently is the catalyst. 

This modular flexibility allows businesses to select only the elements they need—e.g., choosing “best of breed” technologies such as CMS and ecommerce platforms—without the constraints of a single, monolithic system. The loosely coupled nature of composable systems makes it easier for businesses to upgrade and scale their systems, improving operational performance. 

And because organizations can adopt new technologies or processes incrementally, they can minimize downtime and the potential for disruption.

When should you adopt composability up front?

It depends.

Composable architecture is more than just technology integration. It’s about aligning technology adoption with strategic, long-term business operations and needs. This approach enables businesses and organizations to remain agile, responsive, and competitive in rapidly changing market environments.

But is composability necessary for every business?

According to Forrester Research, it comes down to “non-differentiated” and “differentiated” digital strategies.

Non-differentiated digital strategies

For businesses where digital interaction isn’t a primary differentiator in the marketplace, opting for a robust and complex composable architecture might be an overinvestment—when simply being on parity with everyone else suffices. 

Consider booking flights or ordering restaurant delivery. No one chooses an airline based on how flashy their online ticketing system is—it’s the flying experience, price, or destination that counts. Similarly, who picks a restaurant based on how unique their ordering interface is? It’s the food, price, or location. On the flipside, for delivery apps like DoorDash, Postmates, Uber Eats, etc., the digital experience does matter—they don’t make the food but you can often get it from competing digital services.

Differentiated digital strategies

Organizations looking to establish themselves in the marketplace by offering unique customer digital experiences, rapid innovation, or tailored services can benefit greatly from composability. 

Such flexibility to exchange and enhance components can be vital in maintaining a competitive edge and keeping up with ever-changing market demands and trends.

So, who‌ should be using a composable architecture?

To date, composability has been more popular in the ecommerce space. But it has strong potential for broader application across B2B, governmental, and other sectors. 

As noted earlier, the flexibility and ability to customize and scale systems as needed can be particularly beneficial in environments where quick adaptation to changing conditions or requirements is crucial.

What technology do you need for a composable architecture?

Just as a musician combines notes and chords to create a symphony, a developer uses modular components to create a cohesive and seamless user experience or system functionality. Separate elements, when combined by a skilled hand, create a harmonious and functional whole.

API Mesh technology plays a large part in that orchestration. 

It replaces cumbersome, custom-built API middleware required to manage all the plumbing (and a fleet of APIs) that connect disparate business systems, applications, and data sources. Instead, why not acquire a solution from a single vendor rather than build everything yourself? 

Then the focus shifts toward enabling developers to configure the best APIs for customer digital experiences using the best available business functionalities and data.

Practical examples of composability

During our recent webinar Composability Made Easy, the role of API Mesh as a conductor—orchestrating various independent APIs into a synchronized whole—came through strongly in several examples related to ecommerce.

For one ecommerce customer, the flexibility of API Mesh made it possible to streamline integrating their systems, which ranged from legacy databases to cutting-edge ecommerce platforms. This integration was a catalyst for a seamless, robust digital experience for their customers.

For another ecommerce platform, a single API Mesh helped integrate various services, such as product information management, order management, and customer reviews. The result was a drastically reduced time-to-market for new features and enhancements, illustrating the agility that composability offers.

These are prime examples of enabling delivery of cohesive customer experiences without the need for extensive in-house middleware development.

Advantages of an API Mesh in the context of a CMS platform

Diving deeper into composability for the enterprise, WordPress VIP’s own API Mesh, developed in partnership with frontend data orchestration firm TakeShape, improves data management by unifying content management with external data sources such as user databases and analytics tools. 

As such, the VIP API Mesh helps businesses tailor composable digital experiences to meet specific audience needs, providing personalized content and services—surely a marketing holy grail. 

Further, by centralizing API interactions, the VIP API Mesh enhances the stability of websites, safeguarding them against interruptions in third-party services, even if there are changes in external services. 

Watch on-demand: Composability Made Easy—Considerations and Best Practices

The components that make a high-performing martech experience get more numerous and complex every year. And delivering a great customer experience requires many businesses to compose across multiple systems and services.

So how do you do it?

Learn some of the key challenges of building composable experiences and how the right architecture can enable rapid innovation and lower maintenance costs. Watch our Composability Made Easy—Considerations and Best Practices session with TakeShape.


Greg Ogarrio, Content Marketer, WordPress VIP

Greg Ogarrio, Content Marketer, WordPress VIP

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