Microservices And The Circular Economy

Bhomik Pande

The art of complex problem-solving lies fundamentally in dividing the big problem into subproblems. Solutions to these subproblems become the building blocks for other solutions. This modular approach of dividing a system into submodules is widely used in industries such as automotive, electronics, and construction, to create benefits such as cost reduction, time reduction, and quality improvement.

In software development, this approach has inspired the concept of microservices. Microservices is a technique that divides the application into multiple components or services. Unlike monolithic architecture, where the entire problem is solved by a single code base, each microservice focuses on a single business requirement. This approach helps in quick scaling, faster development, and reusability – supporting the concept of the circular economy.

A circular economy revolves around minimizing waste and making the most of resources. Here are some of the ways a microservices approach can benefit software development.

Reusability and maximum value across the portfolio

Product reusability is an important aspect of a circular economy. From the digital portfolio perspective, thoughtful identification and design of microservices can help in sustainable product development and contribute to a circular economy. Think about the business requirement as a potential subproblem of another use case. Reusability of the microservices for other products and solutions can help maximize value across the portfolio.

Fault isolation and feedback cycle

Independence of microservices helps in focused testing, transparency, and faster identification of root cause of failures during the deployment. This can help improve fault isolation and performance of the overall product. One of the key facets of a circular economy is the feedback cycle and improvement. Regular monitoring of individual service via different tools and automated testing updates can provide regular feedback to the technology and product teams, improving efficiency across the value chain.

Productivity, innovation, and faster time to market

Visualizing the product as a collection of microservices and focusing on the novel aspect of the product can lead to better productivity amongst the developer ecosystem. This novel piece, combined with already developed microservices, becomes greater than the sum of the parts. Innovative offerings can be launched and tested in the market faster.

Advances in digital technology have already contributed to the circular economy, as dematerialization saves paper and trees. Efforts to have environmentally conscious data centers use renewable sources of energy can help further reduce the carbon footprint.

Continuous rethinking and reimagining processes to create better outcomes can help product and technology teams play an active role in a circular economy. The decision to have microservices architecture depends completely on the business context, but the architectural style enables the technology industry to support the concept of a circular economy.

For more insight on the circular economy, read the flash briefing: Virtuous Circles: The Circular Economy Gets Rolling.

Bhomik Pande

About Bhomik Pande

Bhomik Pande is Senior Operations & Strategy at SAP. He wears multiple hats within SAP Digital Interconnect business unit & drives innovation related topics as part of Products & GTM team. He has numerous years of experience working with SAP across different line of business and has been a CRM Consultant in his previous role. You may follow him on Twitter at @bhomikpande