Analyst Chat

Analyst Chat #119: Composable Enterprises


Martin Kuppinger gives Matthias one of these rare insights into the process of creating and delivering the next great opening keynote of an event. With EIC 2022 being already in sight in May 2022 in Berlin, they talk about the composable enterprise and more perceived or actual buzzwords, and how to make sense of this in a business context.

Welcome to the KuppingerCole Analyst Chat. I'm your host. My name is Matthias Reinwath, I'm a Lead Advisor and Senior Analyst with KuppingerCole Analysts. My guest today is Martin Kuppinger. He is one of the founders of KuppingerCole and the Principal Analyst. Hi, Martin. Good to see you.

Hi, Matthias, pleasure to see you.

Great to have you. And we are here for a very good reason. The EIC, the European Identity and Cloud Conference is approaching in May 2022 in Berlin for the first time. And we want to give a sneak peek at your opening keynote. Tthese opening keynotes, they are typically, on the one hand, a call to action. On the other hand, visionary, strategic pointing to a better future, pointing at a new way of doing business, or achieving security. What will your keynote be about when we are meeting in Berlin in May?

Yeah. So my keynote will look at one of the emerging buzzwords, which is Composable Enterprise. But I will try to put this into context, and in some way it will be a continuation of the last year's keynote where I talked about sort of the requirements for agile delivery of digital services in the digital age for digital business, digital organizations. And so I think these these topics are relatively closely related. And I believe that there's also sort of a strong connection to identity and security and cloud, which are all KuppingerCole Analysts key topics and which are the EIC key topics So I will try to deliver some good food for thought for the attendees of this conference, whether they meet us in Berlin or whether they join in online for not only the EIC but beyond.

Right. You've mentioned Composable Enterprise And this is a buzzword. And another buzzword that seems to be closely related to me is the API Economy. So using APIs as a glue to to put these components together. Does that make sense in that context?

It makes sense. When you look at the definitions of the Internet around the composable enterprise, then they very quickly end up in terms like API economy, microservices, APIs for themselves and others. And what I believe is, this is the wrong way of thinking. So when we go back to the API economy, I strongly believe that there never has been and never will be such a thing as an API economy. What we have is an economy where you can do things better by utilizing API. So APIs are one element that are fostering, powering the economy, but it's not an API economy of itself. It would be probably a definition that goes over to top and also a too technical approach. And I think is the risk with the idea of the composable enterprise, it is the tech view on a business challenge.

Right. So when you already hint at this technology focus that you consider to be at least partially wrong. So it's really thinking from the business side rather than from the technology side, right?

Yeah. And last year, at EIC, I started my keynote with a slide which said, okay, so what does it require to become a successful digital business, a successful organization, in the digital age? And this involves things like the business model. It starts with understanding the environment and organizations operating in. It starts with delivering the intellectual property and digital services. But it also requires a strong foundation with availability, with a good digital experience for the users. And I think we need to turn the entire perspective, which is on the composable enterprise so to speak, from head to feet. We need to turn it around and need start thinking about what are the challenges that today's organizations have on their digital journey? I've talked about these challenges, I think probably five years ago or so even more at another EIC keynote where I talked about the digital transformation and how this impacts sort of IT, which role identity, security, cloud and other technologies play, and in that there are still, I believe, very valid points. It is this changing partnerships, it is that we shift from products to services, that we have more and more IT in the product but also more and more digital services. It is a way higher, or way greater volatility of the entire ecosystem in which organizations operate and this is the starting point. That means organizations need to become more and more and more agile. This is also journey, it's not a transformation. So the term digital transformation definitely is wrong, you don't transform an organization once and then you're done. It's a journey, it's ongoing. And in that journey we have the need to support this agility by IT. So for a digital organization, for a digital business, what we need is a composable IT, so to speak. Because that organization is changing and to reflect this change, to serve change with IT, this needs to be composable. But again, the term composable enterprises may be a little over the top because it's the IT serving the digital business, which is composable

Right. And to add one other dimension, you've mentioned the business changing and the IT supporting the change of business. And how does the trend towards decentralization also come into play here, for the end users, for the employees, but also for the architectures?

Yeah, I think we have two layers we need to look at. And when we say, okay, how does it need to look like in future to serve this business need and it needs to be composable in a broader sense, which involves technologies. So one perspective you can take is, what are the main technologies? We can take a perspective on how does development look like and we can take a perspective of what makes up this entire thing and they are all related to it. And I'd like to start, before I come to decentralized, with, what is it? What makes this up and at the end it this services that we can bring together flexibly? It is identities in the broadest sense of humans in the organization, outside of the organization, but also non-human identities of devices, of things, of services, of whatever else. And it is data, this is a triangle I've described also a couple of years ago already, which is that combination of these three things which make it up. And what changes is that this is not all under control of the organization anymore. The organization and the IT doesn't live in sort of a closed environment anymore. And decentralization helps us to better, potentially better deal with data that whatever is across the supply chain with identities of people outside of the organization, a decentralized identity, a decentralized data like blockchain along the supply chain, all these things can be supported well by these technologies if they're implemented the right way. So this is one of the technology sets, like also AI, like clearly technologies to deal with identity that security or cybersecurity technologies that help us to make it secure. And then we have this building block of how do we do it right? And that means we create in fact, some sort of reusable business components. So package business capability, some call it, we have what we do in a modern architecture based on microservices, which we can orchestrate, which we can sort of reconfigure, which expose the APIs, which we then can use to, to use low code, no code to connect all of that. This is what is required to do that. But it all starts with the question of what does a business need from IT to be successful in the future?

Great. Thank you for giving that insight into your keynote. We don't want to give too much away, although it hints really strongly at at this business aspect. I really want to recommend to the audience that they consider joining us at EIC. We will be there in person in Berlin at Alexanderplatz, and that will be in May. But there's also the option to join us digitally, virtually like in our KCLive events and to join there as well. Any other recommendations that you can give, Martin?

So my recommendation is, meet us in Berlin. It's so great meeting people in person, having also these small talks when you meet on a booth, when you meet in the halls of the event. This is such a great opportunity. And there will be many, many KuppingerCole analysts you can speak with, including me. I am looking forward to a lot of face to face communication. Berlin, seeing you then mid-May.

Absolutely. A great summary. Thank you very much, Martin, for joining me today. Looking forward to seeing you in Berlin and to meet many people in Berlin. Thank you for today and bye bye.

You're welcome. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.

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