It was once the premise that monolithic systems were the only way your business could successfully operate, but these views are starting to shift. We know that for agile digital transformation, solutions that are rigid, like monoliths just don’t keep up with demand.
As job roles change there’s become the need for technology solutions to be intuitive and useable, for departments outside of the IT space. Think about it. We’ve now got HR employees deploying their own leave management systems and marketing leading the management of CRM data and choosing their own of systems.
It’s all part of Workplace Modernisation. This is where your focus needs to lie to ensure you’re implementing solutions that evolve with your business. It’s a business movement about engineering the right culture, business change process and customer experiences that are underpinned; not made by technology.
Clunky infrastructure is not the future and that’s why the death of the monolithic system is imminent. In favour of solutions that are low code or no code. In this article we will expand on the key reasons why the monolithic systems are dying out, the new low code and no code approaches that will take centre stage and whether monolithic systems will rise from the dead.
Dying a Death
Monolithic even by its name suggests restrictive. It means composed all in one piece. The systems describe a single-tiered software application in which different components combine into a single program from a single platform. Used to develop apps back when we focused on desktop devices with browsers that didn’t require application platform interfaces (APIs).
A good example of a monolithic piece of architecture is large corporate batch systems. Such as that clunky old payroll system or CRM you hate using. When they were first built, there were many reasons for using monolithic systems including:
They are well-known to developers – It’s the original way programs have been built for many years.
Easy to deploy – They are deployed through copying a single archive to one definite directory (to a server), which is quite a straightforward process.
Simple to test – With monolithic systems, it’s all deployed at once, therefore testing all the features is easy as they are available as soon as it’s launched.
Integrated Development Environment (IDE)-friendly – Different development environments can easily be set up for monoliths as they are typically designed for them.
Sharing capabilities – The code is stored in one base, meaning that it can be easily shared across all of the stages of the development pipeline.
But monoliths are also a big reason for causing grief when it comes to Workplace Modernisation, there are negatives such as:
They are a key reason for causing Shadow IT – Due to the nature of the applications, monolithic systems take a long time to make changes, which is sometimes impossible. They don’t always possess the functionalities that everyone in the company needs, as a result this leads employees to taking matters into their own hands and going down the route of Shadow IT (every technical department’s worst nightmare!).
Too large and complex – Their size and complexity means monolithic systems are (very) difficult to make changes quickly.
Difficult to scale – Monolithic systems are difficult to scale when different modules have conflicting resource requirements. Not good for when your business is growing and changing.
Reliability – A bug in any module (e.g. memory leak) can potentially bring down the entire process and impact the availability of the entire application. Leaving a question mark around the business continuity of monolithic systems.
Barrier for adopting new technologies – The monolith architecture is not very pro digital transformation. Since changes in frameworks or languages will affect an entire application, it’s extremely expensive and time-consuming.
Monoliths have become too large and complex to deal with digital transformation and the demands businesses are under. That’s why many change leader are starting to turn to low code or no code approaches.
Low Code and No Code
Replacing monolithic architecture is obviously a gargantuan task. Low code and no code are both approaches that are turning the heads of IT, with the promise of agility. Businesses are desperate for systems that are accessible, adaptable, scalable and can be easily integrated.
Both low code and no code provide a means to develop software applications without the need to write code. Creating greater efficiency and productivity, but there is a difference between the two types of approach:
Designed to be as simple as possible to be data first departmental productivity enhancement solutions. For example, our social media monitoring tool that enables your employees to create their own dashboard of social media accounts and hashtags they would like to follow. No need for IT to get involved to help set up the dashboard, employees can easily drag and drop the accounts they want.
No code enables less technical business users to quickly and easily build solutions that solve functional use cases, fast.
These platforms enable developers to take advantage of scalable application architecture and flexible deployment options. Low code is usually utilised to create larger business applications since it is capable of handling more use cases than no code due to its general purpose nature. Services created using low code can also be easily innovated with technologies like AI, Blockchain, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Machine Learning.
Contesto is one of our low code/no code solutions that allows your end users to build contextual forms and screens to help to easily digitise and automate processes internally and externally to simplify the process of data capture and data access. Contesto cleverly writes back any new or updated data into any one of your monolithic systems, like your CRM in real time. If you’re missing required information, AI and RPA will initiate dialogue with the customer to capture what is needed (no human intervention is required!).
Microservices are likely to take over
The thing about low code is, it can also be used to modernise your legacy systems, so that you can over time replace your legacy monolithic infrastructure with one that’s mostly or completely low code (with some no code). This is why many businesses are opting for low code/ no code approach to microservices. Microservices are small, autonomous services that work together. They prevent your business adopting larger, piece-meal approaches to transformation and are much more flexible and adaptable than the monolithic systems you currently have.
Will Monolithic Systems rise from the dead?
Monoliths are so very difficult to eradicate from businesses. Since they are usually the legacy systems they are quite literally well, part of the furniture. To get kill them off completely is, understandably, a very daunting prospect for many technology and business professionals.
But there is a way that you can get the best of both worlds. Our b-connected ecosystem takes into account your older systems and has the ability to simply overlay them. Meaning you can keep your monolithic systems (for now) and still modernise by introducing low code / no code applications, like Contesto and our social media monitoring tool to the mix. The b-connected ecosystem offers a suite of applications that can be quickly built and easily rolled out across your organisation.