Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs)

What Are Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs)?

Packaged business capabilities (PBCs) are applications or services developed around a particular business function. A PBC is a grouping that consists of a data schema, a set of services, APIs, and event channels—which we’ll break down below. A PBC serves a specific business capability. 

It’s a business service that can stand on its own—totally autonomous—and be used by the end client. They’re the building blocks of larger app suites, all of which are connected via APIs. 

An example of a PBC is a virtual shopping cart within an e-commerce system. The shopping cart uses the catalog, pricing, and checkout functions to complete a purchase, while the consumer only interacts with the user interface (UI) of the cart.

A PBC can also be used to manage the customer and their account. The PBC would make use of a collection of microservices in order to:

  • Gather contact info
  • Configure customer roles
  • Handle customer service requests

Why Are PBCs Important?

When implemented correctly, they can do a lot for a business. You can cut costs and reduce the number of interfaces with which your employees and customers interact. Working with fewer interfaces is just easier since you don’t have to learn to navigate and get accustomed to each UI.

Using a unifying API, packaged business capabilities stitch these services together with ease. The outcome is streamlined workflows and less back-end management. You only need to work with one interface, leaving more time to automate business processes and unify data for even further streamlining of operations.

PBCs and Microservices

As highlighted in our explanation of a Composable Enterprise, microservices aren’t the same as packaged business capabilities. Microservices are tiny, autonomous services that all work together. PBCs are like custom combinations of certain microservices. They work together to carry out the greater task of the PBC. Microservices are used in the design and construction of an app, while PBCs contain the app services. 

Creating a solution that consists of 100 microservices is time-consuming, difficult, and costly. Typically, each service would be through a different vendor, and end-users would have to experience a variety of UIs within one commerce platform. It’s certainly not ideal. 

PBCs reduce complexity, making construction easier, deployment simpler, and personnel training faster. It’s also more efficient to make changes and upgrades when using PBCs as opposed to microservices. 

PBCs for Composable Commerce

PBCs are scalable and independently deployable. They fit the modularity component of composable commerce. Where a business is focused on the value of its modular components, using PBCs, there are advantages over constructing an application using a bunch of granular microservices.

Some of these advantages are: 

Simplicity 

Imagine the complexity of stitching together hundreds of different microservices, each using its own APIs and logic. Now, add in the costs and level of technical maturity and governance required of an organization to undertake such an endeavor. PBCs are easier to set up and maintain because collections of APIs within a PBC are deployed as a single unit. Making changes and integrating new components doesn’t require significant change management either.

Business-centricity 

PBCs help build more user-friendly business dashboards and other tools for administrators, service reps, and other back-office operations. It’s much more practical to construct UIs for business capabilities like Accounts, Catalog, Pricing, Inventory, and Checkout and Payments.

Clarity 

Having composable architecture allows business teams to participate in the design and deployment of new experiences. The components and their function in business are easy to recognize, so both the business and IT teams can assist in the creation of the application roadmap. 

Let’s say a business wants to create a mobile checkout to support contactless shopping, or to bring digital commerce to trade shows. On the business end, the team has a vision of connecting a Catalog, Pricing, and Payment to the Cart and Checkout through a web app, which is also linked with third-party applications for Analytics and Personalization. They can articulate their vision and help IT make it a reality.  

Benefits of Composability

Composable commerce is the way of the future, and there are many benefits, including: 

  • Flexibility – Assemble your own commerce stack, creating a completely custom front-end and back-end experience.
  • Scalability – Each part can be scaled independently, extended, and/or complemented with additional best-in-class services and custom logic.
  • Agility – Out-of-the-box components and capabilities can be integrated and deployed into the market with ease.
  • Vendor Freedom – The features of composable architecture are commodities, enabling businesses to swap and select components as needed.
  • Business-IT Harmony – Technology driven by business goals means solutions and experiences deliver business value.

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