We are at the dawn of the “composable enterprise” age, an era that will see business teams leverage existing digital capabilities to create new products and services without starting from scratch every time. A composable approach increases agility in digital transformation, relieves pressure on the IT team and frees up time for innovation.
Composability incorporates the basic principle of modularity; systems should be built from cohesive and loosely coupled components (modules). This means that a system will consist of different components with well-defined functionality which are interrelated and work together efficiently.
Media business composability is the mindset, technologies and set of operational capabilities that enable Media & Entertainment (M&E) organizations to innovate and adapt quickly to changing business needs. It’s based on applying modularity to M&E businesses to achieve the scale and pace required by business ambition. According to Gartner*, the idea of composable digital business operates on four basic principles:
- More speed through discovery: Ability to discover and understand design opportunities to guide, track and secure change
- Greater agility through modularity: Partitioning a domain into managed components to scale and control change
- Better leadership through orchestration: Prescribing and negotiating interactions between components to enable recompositing and forming processes
- Resilience through autonomy: Minimizing dependence of components from each other to maintain integrity of change
Agility and flexibility are quickly becoming the two pillars of digital transformation success, allowing modular business capabilities to be assembled and combined. Packaged Business Capabilities (PBC) are software and service components that represent a well-defined business capability, functionally recognizable as such by a business user and reusable in the design of custom assembled products, applications, and services.
Today’s user interface technology, coupled with the composability of PBCs, enhances the application experience through simple plug-and-play actions. It is the codeless (NoCode) approach to software development, allowing applications to be created without any prior knowledge of traditional programming languages. Citizen developers, or less experienced programmers, can build applications by assembling PBCs and using graphical workflow designers.
If we can quickly create business-ready applications and solutions, then we can design and adapt new media services on demand. Media services can be simply defined as modular units which concentrate on a single business functionality. Modular media services can be easily reused in various contexts and can also be composed to satisfy new requirements. On the other hand, modularity in media services prevents the propagation of changes to other services and thus simplifies maintenance of service-oriented systems.
The Future of MAMs
Composable digital business means creating an organization made from interchangeable building blocks. To guarantee M&E business continuity, it is necessary to have a strategy to integrate legacy media systems, such as CMS, DAM and MAM.
The question immediately arises: Can a monolithic application be a PBC? The answer is YES, if the application offers an API organized into blocks of functionality. Each block would correspond to a different PBC, easily identifiable by a business user. It must be understood that this is a temporary solution to facilitate the digital transition to a composable architecture of the organization.
Legacy MAMs offer a level of automation restricted to the set of third-party systems that have been integrated point-to-point over the years. Today, many more functions are required and there are a multitude of media applications, as well as other IT products, to process complex workloads and create new media services, both in the cloud and on premises. In addition, the MAM vendor is responsible for keeping the 3rd party integrations updated to the latest versions in its orchestrator. The reality is that classic MAM orchestrators have become insufficient and can potentially hold back the digital transformation of M&E organizations. CMS and DAM systems are in a similar situation.
If we decouple the orchestration, automation and workflow design services from the MAM, moving them to an application and media systems integration platform, then we will achieve a more open and agile architecture for the M&E organization’s digital ecosystem. Moreover, product vendors (applications, media systems) are responsible for integrating with the platform and keeping it updated so that customers can choose them. The MAM is freed from the integrations and workflow design, which it delegates to the platform, and will be integrated as another application.
In this scenario, the new generation of MAMs will be focused on organization, documentation, review, collaboration, order generation and asset access traceability. It’s expected that the new generation of MAMs will be based on microservices, focused on asset management and integrated with the media integration platform, which guarantees interoperability and compatibility with the rest of the applications and systems of the M&E organization.
Agile Media Service Platform
Process automation has always been a key pillar of digital transformation initiatives, automating, orchestrating, and monitoring end-to-end business processes to create an efficient and scalable solution, however this remains a challenge for businesses. Many M&E organizations are adopting tactical automation strategies that focus on automating specific tasks aimed at solving specific problems:
- Business-driven automation: Automation efforts within companies are increasingly business-oriented rather than IT-oriented.
- Composability: Process automation based on reusable PBCs.
M&E organizations demand flexibility and agility to create new services by adding and/or replacing applications and systems from multiple vendors. Service modularity is thus a key concept for a service-oriented perspective of the enterprise. The future of flexibly designed media services lies in an agile media service platform, easily reconfigurable by self-sufficient customers, simplifying the addition of new capabilities and using reusable components:
- Identify automation opportunities
- Intuitively map/model business processes using PBCs
- Rapidly implement service-specific automated workflows
Users want seamless, effortless integrations and developers want to spend less time on repetitive software programming tasks and integration maintenance. The days of the traditional, complex monolithic content management systems, which generate huge dependence on software vendors to provide the agility required to integrate new applications within the digital ecosystem, are over.
The natural alternative to legacy systems is an application and system integration platform that provides the flexibility and elasticity necessary for the creation of new services in an agile and efficient manner. Using PBCs, which abstract the complexity of all the underlying technology, the customer can choose the components and systems they need to integrate to create their network media service supply chain.
Democratizing innovation really means unlocking the basic tools and creating PBCs for people who are going to innovate on their own. In fact, a composable architecture built with PBCs makes it easy for business users to participate in the design and implementation of new features and services.
Innovation is inhibited not by legacy systems but by a legacy mindset. Ensuring the future competitiveness of the M&E industry will require it to be more efficient, predictable, sustainable and resilient. This implies a change in mindset to overcome existing industry legacy systems and silo-thinking. Improved collaboration and innovation are crucial to achieving this.
Service orchestration and automation platforms are key to delivering customer-centric agility and the rapid move toward a composable media business. To accelerate digital transformation, improve customer experience, create new services, automate processes and optimize costs, we propose an agile and composable media service platform, which will pave the way toward future-proof and continuous innovation.