• A flexible approach. Composable DX offers a modular and flexible approach to delivering digital experiences, enabling organizations to create custom digital experiences that align with their unique business needs and customer expectations.
  • Top priorities. Successful implementation of composable DX requires organizations to prioritize agility, flexibility and adaptability, as well as effective communication, composable thinking and empathy toward customers.
  • Get an early advantage. While there are obstacles to adoption, organizations that successfully adapt to the composable DX approach can gain an early advantage in achieving digital maturity and mainstream success.

What can organizations do to better prepare for future disruptions and minimize the impact of unexpected events? Clearly, the disruption caused by COVID-19 has highlighted the need for organizations to be more agile, flexible and resilient.

Many organizations, such as those in the traditional manufacturing sector, struggled to effectively manage their customer experiences during the pandemic. However, other brands flourished by adopting online sales and contactless delivery. The key factors that distinguished those who struggled in customer experience from those who thrived were their levels of agility, flexibility and empathy.

In fact, digital technology has opened up numerous options for customers to interact with companies, including contactless options, while products themselves are becoming increasingly smarter.

The heightened sense of urgency in prioritizing the overall customer experience has compelled organizations to rethink their approach to managing it during times of uncertainty. In addition, the ability to adapt to evolving customer behaviors and quickly implement changes is now shaping organizations' vision for creating a composable digital experience.

What Is Composable Digital Experience?

In its simplest of interpretations, composable digital experience (DX) refers to a modular and flexible approach to delivering digital experiences. This approach allows organizations to assemble and orchestrate the various components that make up a digital experience — such as design, content, functionality and data — in real-time, based on the needs of individual users and their preferences.

Composability will help move us from being monolithic and slow in our thinking to being flexible, connected, innovative and quick to lead CX in uncertain times.

Related Article: The Benefits — and Challenges — of Composable Digital Experience Platforms

The Benefits of Composable CX

Digital experience composition allows organizations to create custom digital experiences that align with their unique business needs and customer expectations. By leveraging application programming interfaces (APIs) and software as a service (SaaS) products, organizations can quickly and easily integrate various digital services into their overall digital strategy. This approach enables organizations to leverage the strengths of multiple services and products while minimizing the need for custom development.

It enables nontechnical users greater control over the disparate technologies that come together to power a digital experience. Nontechnical users, such as marketing and content teams, can use the tool to design and create content, while technical users, such as developers and IT teams, can use the tool to integrate various APIs and services to create a cohesive digital experience. In fact, they can create and customize digital experiences with What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) tools. By providing a single tool for all users, organizations can reduce the time it takes to ideate, develop and deploy new digital experiences.

This avoids the lengthy turnarounds that affect the disjointed development processes that a composable or headless approach can introduce.

The ability to compose one’s own solution or application, free from the constraints of prebuilt templates or technical competence, further empowers organizations to create unique and tailored digital experiences. Additionally, organizations have the freedom to choose delivery technologies that best meet their specific needs and requirements, ensuring a seamless and efficient user experience.

Learning Opportunities

How McDonald’s Used Composability to Improve CX

A good example of speed and flexibility is McDonald’s. The company has scaled its digital capabilities across the globe through kiosks, digital menu boards, mobile order and pay, and delivery.

But in 2019, McDonald’s realized that the company needed to personalize the customer experience in their drive-thrus. McDonald’s had to make the shift toward composability. The company needed a platform to support home delivery with multiple global delivery partners such as Uber Eats. In less than four months, McDonald's built and launched the home delivery platform using a microservices architecture.

Challenges and Obstacles of Composable CX

Here are some of the biggest challenges and obstacles to implementing composable customer experience.

  • Adaption: The rapidly evolving business landscape requires organizations to prioritize innovation and the ability to swiftly adapt.
  • Growing demand: Growing demand for personalized and contextualized app experiences by customers and employees.
  • Inflexibility: Existing application portfolios were designed to address past challenges and are inflexible to innovation.
  • Major transformation: Current applications or platforms cannot be replaced wholesale due to the cost and risks associated with major transformation.
  • Leadership involvement: Involving business leadership in the procurement, implementation and maintenance of applications can be a time-consuming process that may impede the acceptance of new changes. This underscores the need for a fresh approach to vision and strategy.
  • Architectural approach: As application vendors continue to adapt their offerings to be more modular and accessible across various delivery channels, touchpoints and modalities, there is a growing need for a new architectural approach.
  • Integration and other challenges: Addressing integration challenges, security risks, governance and control issues, and technical debt are key obstacles that must be overcome.

Related Article: 4 Keys to Building Composable Digital Experiences in 2023

Key Recommendations for Composable DX

The transition to the composable enterprise is gradual. Here are some key considerations to begin the journey to the composable digital experience.

  • Conduct a composability check: To determine your organization's level of composability, assess your legacy environment's traditional feature function, applications, and vendor support for composability, as well as platform and partner ecosystem composability. Additionally, evaluate the platform's integration capabilities.
  • Prioritize communication: Customers want to know how their experience may be impacted and what steps you are taking to mitigate any disruptions. Be proactive in communicating any changes to your operations and provide clear and concise updates as the situation evolves.
  • Composable thinking: Practice composable thinking by diversifying your sources of customer feedback and employing autonomous teams that assemble and reassemble quickly to address fast-changing customer needs with empathy.
  • Be agile: Accelerate product-style delivery of application capabilities, packaged as building blocks for application assembly, using agile and DevOps techniques, rather than project-centric methods.
  • Composable business architecture: Arrange composable business architecture to sense the market and translate your customer experiences into assembled APIs and event streams for maximum agility.
  • Composable technologies: Leverage composable technologies, including low-code platforms, data mesh, composable platforms and traditional BI/advanced analytics platforms, to offer guidance and flexibility for customers and employees.
  • Emphasize empathy: The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways, and customers may be facing unique challenges that impact their experience with your organization. Show empathy and understanding, and do what you can to help them through any difficulties they may be facing.
  • Plan for the long term: While it can be tempting to focus on short-term solutions during times of uncertainty, it's essential to keep the long-term in mind. Consider how your actions now will impact your relationship with customers in the future and work to build trust and loyalty over time.

Final Thoughts on Composable DX

Composable DX represents a significant step forward in the creation and management of digital experiences. True to the adage, "many hands make light work," composable DX, through its modular approach to delivering digital experiences, allows organizations the ability to be nimble and, at the same time, stay ahead of the curve.

Given that composable DX is still in its infancy, it is inevitable that there will be obstacles to adoption. However, these challenges need not be insurmountable, as organizations can develop a comprehensive plan and strategy to overcome them. As the future of digital experiences is increasingly composable, those organizations that successfully adapt to this new reality can gain an early advantage toward achieving digital maturity and mainstream success.

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