There is a broad shift in approach to building enterprise technology; with a move away from "The massive, monolithic enterprise software platforms that dominate today" to a lower-risk and more flexible approach, created by joining together a series of pre-built Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms. The term most frequently used to describe this approach is "Headless".
It is fair to say that not having a head is a somewhat disconcerting concept, so the benefits of Headless merit a bit of explanation...
The approach is perhaps best summarised as "buy don't build", or maybe more accurately "build only what you must", where the final features of a project (a company website or e-commerce shop perhaps) are compiled from a collection of pre-built SaaS components and joined together with a thin presentation layer. In other words, each of the back-end components does not get seen (they do not each have a "head") but are accessed through their APIs and made visible through a common, thin front-end layer - often the website.
There are a few .org alliances that are championing the approach, with the MACH alliance (below) and Jamstack being notable. Both argue that a fundamentally better product can be delivered to the client by adopting this API-first approach.
"Jamstack is an architectural approach that decouples the web experience layer from data and business logic, improving flexibility, scalability, performance, and maintainability."
The point of a Headless approach is to deliver the advantages of SaaS to a bespoke project.
IBM lists the top five benefits of SaaS as:
- Reduced time to benefit
- Lower costs
- Scalability and integration
- New releases (upgrades)
- Easy to use and perform proof-of-concepts
To which I would add "Benefitting from best practice and best-in-class software" since the SaaS provider can build based on the ideas and data gathered from many clients and can justify building features for all participants that would not be a sensible investment for any single firm.
Creating a website or online shop used to start with building a server & installing the database but things have now moved to the cloud, with a vast array of SaaS services that can facilitate pretty much any need. It makes a huge amount of sense to utilize them, instead of building bespoke from the ground-up, (again!).
If you'd be interested to hear a bit more about how Passle's APIs and CMS Plugins can enable Professional Services websites to be built with hugely reduced cost and project risk, please do get in touch.