Virtualization Technology News and Information
IFS 2021 Predictions: Why 2021 will be the Year that Composable Applications are as Sexy as IoT and AI

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Why 2021 will be the Year that Composable Applications are as Sexy as IoT and AI

By Rick Veague, Chief Technology Officer, North America, IFS

Companies in our industry right now are working very hard to prove that they have successfully integrated technologies like the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) into their enterprise software products. However, what actually makes these transformational technologies valuable is the ability to design new processes and workflows to drive improved business outcomes.

This comes as a requirement given the business world today is increasingly volatile.  Competitive pressures, emerging technologies, changing regulatory requirements and complex customer demand all drive the need for businesses to be extremely agile to thrive.  It is critical that businesses have the capabilities, operational processes, and flexible IT platforms to constantly adapt to changing patterns.  This agility is only made possible upon a foundation of a highly composable application set built on modular, configurable and autonomous components, which  leverage modern, open application program interfaces (APIs).

While there's nothing new about APIs, APIs based on open standards, such as REST and ODATA are coming into sharp focus as a way to get new application capabilities to market increasingly quickly; this is coupled with a growing demand for ‘digital transformation' from the c-suite.

Composable applications further the digital transformation process to drive competitive advantage by incorporating and operationalizing the use of AI to automate business processes. In fact, Gartner predicts by 2023, organizations that have adopted a composable approach will outpace the competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation.

Composable Applications based on AI and Open APIs

APIs have reached new heights since the early days of component-based architecture, and the web of course. A lot of what we are using for APIs now was inspired by the dissertation of Roy Fielding, published at the turn of the century in 2000, who originated the idea of the representational state transfer, or RESTful, API. These have some technical advantages, but the main one is that it makes APIs easier to use, and easier for other systems to discover what resources those APIs can provide to them.

For example, instead of one big, monolithic block of code, you instead get a product suite built of thousands of small software components, interconnected by open APIs which can essentially define how different pieces of software work together. Because that working relationship is well-defined and established, it can become easy and fast for companies to compose how the software meets changing requirements quickly -  one component could be changed as needed without disrupting the whole.

AI and ML (Machine Learning) are critical technologies that support the use of composable applications.  In a traditional model, a user might be presented with a list transaction to improve.  In this scenario, the "intelligence" is entirely in the mind of the user, and results in  tedious, error prone, and slow processes to execute work.  Traditional software addresses this through business rules to help streamline the data presented, but the user still has to review the results; those rules can be rigid, and do not adapt to change without expensive coding.  Using AI and ML, that same list can show the user probabilities.  As the user makes the decisions, the system learns, and the next time the list is further streamlined.  Over time, the system gains the "intelligence" and shows only exceptions to the user, which is the fastest, highest value approach.

APIs for extending software

It's the intuitive nature that makes RESTful APIs so desirable today. Even manufacturers and service companies today are, in many ways, becoming software companies themselves. They may have developers who write software to do things like open our applications to their customers or suppliers, introduce data from the IoT, and enable other systems to interact with our software in new and useful ways. 

Our longtime commitment to this way of writing software and delivering value is one reason we joined the Open API Initiative. Our involvement will help us align our APIs with current and emerging standards for what is proving to be the language technologies use to talk to each other.

At IFS, we are demonstrably serious about this commitment and we have gone all the way. We are not just building a select set of APIs "on-the-side". APIs are at the core of our architecture, dependent on OData-based Restful APIs; it's the entire foundation for how our front-end works. Every form, every interaction goes through oData-based Restful APIs. This commitment allows us to deliver choice, flexibility and capabilities to our end user customers for what they need today, and in the years to come.


About the Author

Rick Veague, Chief Technology Officer, North America, IFS

Rick Veague 

As Chief Technology Officer of IFS in North America, Rick Veague is responsible for driving the leading product and industry solutions that deliver true business value to IFS customers and partners in the United States and Canada. As a well-respected panelist and speaker, Rick regularly speaks on IFS solutions and IT strategies at tradeshows and industry events throughout the country.

Rick joined IFS in 1999, and has held various pre- and post-sales positions developing, marketing and delivering high-value business applications including ERP, SM, EAM and MRO solutions. He holds a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Knox College.

Published Tuesday, February 02, 2021 7:46 AM by David Marshall
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<February 2021>