Companies that are stymied by the pace of change are usually limited by monolithic architecture, legacy systems, and outdated processes. Many of these tools have been functional—or simply passable—for years but have become clear barriers to innovation.

However, this can be managed when business leaders learn to think differently and begin to create a composable architecture. According to Gartner, a composable business is “an organization made from interchangeable building blocks.” This modular structure accommodates quick response to changes in demand, traffic, production, and supply chain challenges. An agile set of tools and infrastructure allows companies to keep pace with customer expectations, to deliver the rich, engaging experiences they demand.

“Businesses today want very different software that offers more of a human-centric, interactive experience. We’re seeing a generation of developer tools and technologies, like JavaScript and graphs, that are more about that,” says Matt DeBergalis, chief technology officer and co-founder of Apollo GraphQL.

Finding agility in the graph

GraphQL, an open-source data query and manipulation language, helps companies create and maintain a composable architecture, which allows teams to create better experiences for customers, quickly and efficiently. The result for product and engineering teams is the ability to make consistent, predictable APIs for faster design, development, and deployment of new features.

GraphQL can pull specific data from multiple data sources in a single API call, making APIs fast and flexible, and mitigating over- and under-fetching data issues (a common problem with older solutions, where too much or little data is pulled, making queries inadequate). DeBergalis explains, “The question becomes how to take existing software, such as inventory-control software, and reuse it or repurpose it.”

Large and small businesses, from small supermarket chains to industry giants like Netflix, report rapid gains from the agility of graph technology. During the past few years, Netflix has been integrating its APIs into a federated GraphQL platform. As a subscription streaming service and production company, Netflix IT handles enormous amounts of data (titles, production companies, performer data, financials, customer data, etc.), and many data entities are owned by different units. The federated GraphQL platform means that data can be managed and protected by its owner, shared with other stakeholders, and is searchable across entities, seamlessly for the user.

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