How to leverage composable thinking to fast-track digital innovation

I was recently talking with a client, who said “for us, speed of thought is just as important as speed of technology.” This interesting perspective, while not surprising, poses a challenging predicament for technology leaders. Now more than ever, already stretched IT teams must deliver on heightened expectations for performance and functionality while figuring out how to leverage technology to help change the way the business works – and thinks.

This is no small task. Especially considering many technology teams are already overburdened with an ever increasing list of priorities, from scaling infrastructure across hybrid, multi-cloud environments to integrating real-time data and AI capabilities to staying ahead of constantly evolving security threats. As the backlog of requests continues to grow, IT can increasingly become a bottleneck to digital transformation.

To get ahead, technology leaders should embrace a new way of thinking about creating value and accelerating business innovation. The key lies in using a flexible technology architecture that empowers stakeholders across functional teams to re-engineer business applications and solutions without IT involvement.

Why designing for agility is so important

In today’s uncertain and often volatile business environment, the ability to rapidly iterate, test, and deploy new strategies is separating the leaders from the laggards. Those who can quickly respond to new competitive threats, shifting market conditions, new regulations, and changing consumer behaviors will come out on top.

Business users – those closest to customers and their digital experiences – are the best positioned to solve these challenges and identify new opportunities for value creation. For instance, maybe the bank’s unsecured lending team is noticing an uptick in credit utilization, and they want to identify customers who have been affected by the recent tech layoffs in order to adjust pre-delinquent strategies accordingly.

In the old way of working, this team would have to go back and forth with analysts to translate requirements and then wait for IT operations and applications teams to configure and deploy the changes. Then, when the solution finally came back, it may have missed the mark or been too late to help those customers.

With the right capabilities at their disposal, business teams are empowered to experiment and deploy new strategies on their own. By putting more control in the hands of non-technical users, banks become more nimble and can proactively mitigate risks, seize opportunities, and win long-term customer loyalty.

What agile technology looks like

Unlocking this type of speed and agility requires a set of modular technology capabilities that can be reused and reassembled in different ways to solve new and emerging business problems.

Gartner refers to this as the Intelligent Composable Business, or “one that drives superior business outcomes that are timely, relevant and contextual. It does so by having the plasticity to fundamentally reengineer business decisions and orchestrate capabilities that adapt at the pace of business change.”

These modular building blocks must interoperate without manual intervention from IT teams. By building a composable enterprise on the foundation of an extensible, unified platform, shared data and other assets flow seamlessly across departmental silos and varied business applications. An API-first, microservices architecture ensures all components work together with the flexibility to orchestrate unique configurations for different use cases.

How to get the most out of composable capabilities

While a composable architecture makes data and AI technologies more accessible across the digital enterprise, the real value is hidden in the ‘digital artifacts’ of these systems.

At FICO, we refer to these as decision assets – things like data features, analytic models, decision rules, communication strategies, etc. Think of these as the intelligent pieces and parts that go into composing end-to-end, hyper-personalized digital experiences.

Digital artifacts also include the outcomes of those experiences – Did the customer accept the offer? How did the loan perform? Why was the application rejected? This critical piece of the puzzle feeds a continuous learning loop to help improve strategies over time.

When these assets are stored and exposed inside a common platform, teams across functional silos can leverage them to solve new problems. This sharing and reuse shortcuts development time while creating synergies within the customer experience. A robust platform repository of decision assets can be used to manage the operational dependencies that come with reuse so that teams can confidently make changes with visibility into any downstream impacts.

Low-code/no-code authoring tools give business users the freedom to experiment, adjust strategies, and deploy new use cases quickly. However, it’s the visibility into outcomes and traceability and lineage of assets – paired with the overall governance, security, and access controls provided by a unified platform – that empowers business users to become active contributors to the digital ecosystem.

Learn more about how FICO Platform is helping leading banks become more productive and agile in the face of relentless digital disruption.

Jaron Murphy, Decisioning Technologies Partner, FICO