Together Yet Independent: The Rise of Microservices in Procurement and Supply Chain Software

Together Yet Independent: The Rise of Microservices in Procurement and Supply Chain Software

  • Microservices architecture is a collection small, autonomous services that combine to create a larger platform or system
  • Each microservice can be managed and deployed independently, allowing for greater agility and focus across varied business domains
  • Procurement and supply chain, with their diverse business requirements, are an ideal environment for the use of microservices architecture
February 26, 2021 | Procurement Software Blogs

Procurement and supply chain software platforms need to provide a wide range of functionalities for the diverse set of requirements critical to a business’ functioning. But the downside of such a comprehensive technology solution, of course, is that most platforms run the risk of ending up rather bulky and unwieldy.

Software platforms with microservices architecture — with its focus on decentralization, dexterity and scalability -- overcome these challenges.

Microservices: Greater than the sum of its parts

Microservices, as evidenced by their name, tend to be small, which allows them to be built, deployed, and managed by small teams of developers. This has the advantage of making every microservice more agile, as a small team can respond quickly to new developments or changes unlike a large team that often gets caught up in communication issues and red tape.

The other advantage is that microservices enable the team managing them to build and utilize high levels of domain-specific knowledge. This allows them to tune the final product to the precise needs and specifications of the users from that business domain.

For example, within an enterprise software platform built for procurement professionals, one can have microservices that focus just on spend management.

The team working on the spend management microservice will work independently of the team working on, say, the sourcing microservice.

This will ensure that each microservice is continuously managed by the same, small core team, that will not only be able to quickly fix bugs, roll out updates, and release new features, but also build a strong domain knowledge.

Smooth deployments and quick integration

Another benefit of microservices architecture is its ability to deploy technology solutions quickly and without unnecessary system downtimes.

This would make the process of updating an enterprise solution seamless, as even in an end-to-end procurement or supply chain management software, each individual service can be deployed independently to ensure that business continuity remains unaffected.

The decentralized nature of this architecture also makes it easy for enterprises to customize their procurement software platform to meet their specific business requirements as well as making it easy to integrate microservices with their ecosystem.

The future of procurement and supply chain software

Microservice architecture offers numerous benefits to procurement and supply chain organizations, enabling the parallel processing and growth of the multitude of different functionalities that constitute these two key business domains.

Procurement itself is a subset of supply chain management and consists of a wide range of functional areas — from category and spend management to accounts payable and invoice management.

The key advantage that a microservices architecture offer procurement organizations within an enterprise is that it enables them to clearly demarcate software applications for each of their diverse key functional areas.

With individual teams handling independent databases, code, and libraries for various microservices, it also insulates procurement and supply chain organizations against cascading failures that can come from coupling the software platforms used for key functions.

Ultimately, microservices architecture represents the next major step in the large-scale structure of enterprise software solutions.

By allowing businesses greater choice and specificity in selecting the services they would like to use and by having decentralized services that can network with each other to work together while also remaining independent, procurement organizations will be able to gain the benefits of a best-of-both-worlds scenario.

Turn ideas into action. Talk to GEP.

GEP helps enterprise procurement and supply chain teams at hundreds of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies rapidly achieve more efficient, more effective operations, with greater reach, improved performance, and increased impact. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today.

Paul Blake

Director, Product Marketing

Paul has spent over 30 years in diverse roles in the world of technology and was involved in the development of procurement software even before the advent of the internet.

Paul is GEP’s resident product evangelist who helps strategize and execute marketing plans for GEP’s full range of cutting-edge procurement and supply chain solutions.

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