In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.”
A fundamental change is coming in the way businesses compose and consume software. This future relies on applications that can be assembled, reassembled and easily extended, in what’s known as the composable business.
“ The biggest challenge application leaders face as they move to the composable business will be changing their organization’s culture”
“Applications are the core of composable business, yet the application organization as it currently stands isn’t well-positioned to deliver on this promise. The application team is often centrally located and hierarchically structured, making it too slow and disconnected from the business it supports,” says Matthew Hotle, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner.
This disconnect presents an opportunity for application leaders to help transform their organization for the future of composable business. Here’s how application leaders can build an adaptive approach to governance, funding, culture and organization design.
Go where the applications are
Many companies discourage any diffusion of application delivery, fearing a lack of governance or loss of control. However, such diffusion helps the organization redefine the boundaries of their control-oriented structure and move toward a composable business.
Actively work with the CIO and line-of-business leaders to encourage application development and delivery to be done where it’s the most optimal.
Deliver software via multidisciplinary teams
In enterprises that have begun the transition to composable business, software delivery is often done by “agile” or “fusion” teams. These teams are staffed by individuals with both technology and business skill sets, and they benefit from having members with diverse personal and professional backgrounds.
Gartner research has found that such teams deliver business outcomes 20% faster than their peers. This multidisciplinary approach promotes a flexible and adaptable organizational structure.
Flatten the organizational structure
The shift to composable business presents an opportunity to reduce several layers of management, as teams are empowered to be more autonomous. Leading enterprises that have already begun this shift have teams organized around flexible and fluid management structures, not just formal reporting relationships.
However, many enterprises aren’t ready to fully overhaul established hierarchical structures. They are not comfortable with self-management, and still look for a single person to be held accountable for the team’s activities.
Application leaders in these organizations must begin to enable more autonomy on their teams. Build trust with senior leaders by piloting teams of individuals with both the right skill sets and the right culture to be autonomous.