How Smart Are Your Widgets?
Yani Blanca, Vice President of Solution Architecture with Amdocs Product Group, has written the following guest post about how widgets should be deployed in digital transformation.
A first step of digital transformation is enabling omni-channel, omni-device access to self-service care and commerce, i.e. empowering (almost) any action from any screen (PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone etc.) via any touch-point (call center, IVR, retail store, self-service, mobile app etc.).
In principle, digital transformation should minimally impact existing back-end systems. It requires exposing back-end capabilities—typically via REST APIs—and aggregating and bundling them as widgets for insertion into the presentation layer (user interface).
Here arises an interesting technical architecture dilemma that directly impacts the business. What software architecture best supports the needs of omni-channel, omni-device functionality? What level of functionality should be widgetized? Or, more specifically, where should you maintain the business logic – in the presentation layer or in the widgets?
Service provider personnel know just how complex business logic can be even in the most routine processes, such as “Customer Orders a Product”, which can require the orchestration of literally dozens of tasks (represented by low-level API’s).
In the initial wave of digital transformation, service providers developed widgets, which performed very basic, atomic functions. These service providers are essentially recreating the entire accumulated business logic of the backend systems in widget form! This is a major, costly, time-consuming, potentially inefficient undertaking, which misses the value of widgets for digital transformation. Widgets should deal with presentation aspects only. They should have minimal impact on back-end systems and keep the front-end layer indifferent to business logic and flows.
Service providers would do better to embed the business process logic inside “business process widgets”, or what could be called “composite widgets”, and in that way minimize the impact and complexity of the presentation layer.
About the author: Yani Blanca is Vice President, Solution Architecture with Amdocs Product Group. Yani has more than 30 years of experience in Information Technology projects in the areas of Communications, Financial Applications, ERP, Billing, CRM and more. Yani helps leading service providers across the globe - such as Vodafone, AT&T , Telstra, Bell Canada, Telefonica, T-Mobile/Deutche Telecom, Globe, Rogers, Sprint/Nextel, Singtel - with needs analysis, and with the development and implementation of IT systems for CRM, Sales & Ordering, Service Fulfillment and Billing. Prior to his current position, Yani held leadership roles in Sales, Strategy, Account Management, Site management, Product Management and Marketing.