When legacy met composable: a DXP love story

lars birkholm petersen
Lars Birkholm PetersenPosted on Aug 10, 2022
4 min read
CategoriesComposable

Contrary to popular belief, choosing a legacy system or composable approach for your digital experiences doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. Like a fairytale romance, legacy and composable can work together and live happily ever after. And that’s thanks to the capability of building a composable stack and reaping the benefits of modern performance, agility, and personalization—without interrupting the operations driven by legacy systems. 

In a recent CMSWire webinar, I talked about the composable approach and described the roadmap.

Adopt a value-first mindset on the road to marriage

At the outset, companies must change their mindset from one that’s locked into a specific platform to one that’s all about delivering value to customers. Over the past five to 10 years, companies have adopted technologies by evaluating the systems offered by various vendors, falling for one of those systems, and then developing solutions based on the selection. With composable, the mindset becomes one of first creating something of value for customers, followed by searching for the most efficient and effective technology to do the job.

In other words, to merge legacy platforms with a composable approach, you must transition from platform-first to value-first. Also crucial is recognizing the fact that as soon as you launch a new webpage, microsite, or app, it’s already becoming outdated, i.e., what you have now won’t get you where you must go next. 

Phase 1:  Facilitate a proof of concept within your organization

Convincing your organization’s leadership that the “romance” described above benefits both customers and employees requires groundwork. A good bet would be to demonstrate, through a proof of concept (POC), how the switch to composable architecture promises to alleviate pain points. 

Here’s what to do: 

  1. Select a “painkiller” that resolves a major challenge in the current stack, e.g., a legacy issue like performance or time to market, and then build a business case around that. 

  2. Through the business case, clearly explain how the new architecture mitigates the problem, how you achieved the results, and how you can replicate that at scale. Also, pinpoint the various stakeholders involved.

Phase 2: Build a design system and curate your technologies

Once you’ve secured buy-in for adopting composable on top of legacy, shift the focus to building the optimal design system for delivering stellar digital experiences. That system or component library, essentially the nerve across your channels, will be agnostic to the technologies in your composable stack.

Follow these steps:

  1. Revisit your content-modeling strategy. Content modeling with modern front-end frameworks varies drastically from traditional techniques, necessitating a new approach. 

  2. Eliminate legacy techs. Why pay overhead to access capabilities in a legacy system when you need only one? Phase out the redundant technologies that reside in your all-in-one platform but which are no longer useful. 

  3. Add MACH tech. Flesh out your new tech stack by selecting microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native SaaS, and headless (MACH) technologies with which you can build rich, compelling customer experiences.

  4. Scrutinize partnerships. Examine your current roster of partners to determine if they are the best collaborators for the composable journey. If not, now is a good time to switch. 

Phase 3: Empower your teams to create riveting digital experiences

This last phase is where you get the real payoff: improved systems and processes with which your teams can create immersive digital experiences for customers by focusing on how to best empower creators, optimize workflows, and expand connectivity. 

For this phase, create a “center of excellence,” tasking the roadmap owner with the responsibility of monitoring and supporting how your organization does composability. A case in point: If the marketing team is evaluating new technologies, have the center of excellence help them pick one that ensures sustainability. That way, if you need to connect with that technology through a composable methodology down the road, you can rest assured that those systems can coexist.

Take control of your tech stack today

Bottom line: Do not wait for the “right” time to make a move. Instead, promptly leverage your existing investments in legacy technology by crafting a love match with composable architecture. For more details, watch the webinar. And to start the conversation, contact us.

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