What is a composable business?

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In this two-part series, my goal is to explore some new terminology that came out of the IBM Pulse 2014 conference. In part one we asked: “What is dynamic cloud?” In that post I interviewed several IBM Redbooks thought leaders to get their take on dynamic cloud.  Now in part two, we’ll look at the composable business.

Gary Zeien recently posted a great blog titled, “How I used the cloud to understand the cloud.” For this post, I decided to take a similar approach and see if I could use the cloud to understand composable business. After all, Deepak Advani, GM of cloud and smarter infrastructure at IBM Software Group, said during his recent Day 2 keynote that “The path to composable business is dynamic cloud.”

First, let’s focus on the word composable. Is it even really a word? A quick search of the Merriam-Webster dictionary doesn’t provide much help. Fortunately, does return some promising results. Composable is listed as a form of the word compose which is defined as “to make or form by combining things, parts or elements.” Now we’re starting to get somewhere. A composable business must be a business that’s made up of a combination of multiple parts or elements.

(Related: Cloud powers the future of composable business)

Businesses today are made of of numerous constituents all coming together to help the company thrive and grow. Each area has their own specific needs when it comes to best serving the business. Let’s look at a few of the elements of a composable business and see how they benefit from a dynamic cloud.

IT Managers

Composable business IT managersIT Managers are constantly evolving to meet the needs of their business constituents. When it comes down to it, the purpose of IT is to serve the business. IT Managers are particularly interested in the flexibility and agility that dynamic clouds provide. Being able to host an on-premises private cloud, connect the enterprise to a public cloud or get the best of both worlds with a hybrid cloud gives IT managers the scalability and elasticity that the business requires. Ron Kline has an excellent post on the benefits of dynamic hybrid clouds.


Composable business DevelopersDevelopers are more and more on the front lines today, being held accountable for helping drive real business results.  In today’s business climate, speed is of the essence. In order to keep up with the speed of business, developers are now closely partnering and working with their IT management counterparts through DevOps. In his latest blog post Rakesh Ranjan discusses how cloud computing can help get the most out of DevOps. Another option developers are finding increasingly more valuable is platform as a service offerings (PaaS). With PaaS options such as Codename: BlueMix at their disposal, developers can have their code up and running and providing business value in a matter of minutes.

Business leaders

Composable business LeadersAccording to a recent study from the IBM Center for Applied Insights, Over the next three years, cloud’s strategic importance to business users is expected to double from 34 percent to 72 percent, even surpassing their IT counterparts at 58 percent.  With business agility being a key differentiator between the pacesetters and the chasers, business leaders are increasingly turning to software as a service (SaaS) offerings  to help them meet their business objectives. Frank Bauerle discusses the role that cloud computing plays in helping achieve business agilty. In his blog post he comes to the conclusion that ”cloud computing does not by itself make a business agile. Cloud computing, however, does move a company significantly along the path to business agility.”

We’ve explored several areas that make up a composable business and seen how a dynamic cloud can help form the foundation for these businesses. I hope you’re able to take away something that helps you improve your business agility through the use of cloud computing technologies. Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @MattLobbes.

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