Architecture , Software



Outgrowing the monolithic software

In the past, software was typically built using what is known as monolithic architecture. This is where all the different modules of the software are interwoven into a single unit. The approach was perfect when mobility was defined by a one-size-fits-all approach. But those days are over. Now, especially with multi-mobility, a more personalized approach is needed. There are an incredible number of services or modules that might be linked to your business, but many of these may only be needed on rare occasions – examples include the services for processing payments – or may not ever be used by certain customers – a module linked to an electric scooter or a cargo bike is not going to be used by everyone.

The growing number of different services the software represents is demonstrative of the way fleet management and automotive financing have evolved. Modern customer expectations and business needs create a hostile environment for monolithic architecture. The fact that monolithic architecture required all these services to be interwoven, even if they’re never going to be used, is demonstrative of the way monolithic architecture was unable to evolve. It’s applying the same principles as a decade ago, even though the needs and expectations have changed. Monolithic architecture’s setup makes it unable to adapt to high demand for speed or scalability. You’re effectively digging your own grave when you continue to use it.

Microservices, a modular approach to offer multiple services

There are alternatives that are specially designed to meet the needs and expectations of multi-mobility. Microservices architecture is one of these options. Just like multi-mobility, it operates with any number of different services. Each (micro)service – or module – performs a specific undertaking. This might be to calculate invoices, provide details on different lease bikes directly to customers or process quotes from your online showroom. The microservices communicate with each other when necessary, but are loosely connected and designed to operate separately. As they’re small and independent, you’ll have no problem adding, removing, adjusting or updating modules whenever necessary. Adding new microservices is particularly straightforward. Microservices architecture uses a public application programming interface (API). This means it’s designed for you to plug new modules in. Perfect for an industry embracing multi-modal mobility and convergent, hybrid offers.

In the event that there’s a problem with one module, its independent nature means all the other modules will be unaffected and able to continue operating as normal. This is in stark contrast to monolithic architectures. The interwoven nature of that software means making whatever necessary changes impacts the entire set-up when attending any error, update or adjustment. In fact, a single security issue or error in the code is enough to render an entire monolithic program useless. A huge risk. Especially today when we have grown to expect constant availability anytime and anywhere.

Knowing you’re safe and secure

Your cybersecurity also benefits when you use microservice-based architecture. Let’s say there’s a security breach. It will only affect the one module, not every aspect of the program. Same as when updating or changing a module, every other service will continue operating as normal while your one problematic module is disabled. Plus, unlike monolithic architecture, you only need to update the security of this one module. Downtime is limited to a specific area for a limited time. A worthy evolution.

It’s also worth noting that the service-based model has security considerations built in at every layer. They follow guiding principles to cover everything from authentication, authorization, confidentiality and data integrity to privacy, accountability, safety and non-repudiation requirements. Instead of being an after-thought, security is a core element of the service-based model. What do you think? Is this the right approach to take at a time when cybersecurity attacks are becoming increasingly frequent?

Data intelligence

Microservices architecture makes it easy to sort and search through your data. You’re probably aware of the incredible potential contained in the data your company collects and owns. Analyze it for insights into everything from customer satisfaction to vehicle performance, as well as the best approaches to optimizing your services and procedures. One of the benefits of the service-based model is that your data is separated instead of being dumped in a single, all-encompassing block. As such, you’re able to analyze data from a single service—or specific services. This leads to faster, better-customized searches and more targeted results. Results that are available in real time.

The business insights offered by data analysis are already proving invaluable. Yet it looks as though this is just the tip of the iceberg. Although it’s in its infancy, artificial intelligence is moving data analysis and service offerings forward at breakneck speeds. It’s already proving to be important to have architecture in place that allows you to make the most of what these innovations offer.

A competitive architectural advantage

New companies are entering the world of fleet management, vehicle leasing and automotive finance. They do not need to adapt or struggle to work with inadequate, rigid monolithic architecture, they have something of an advantage to them. They hit the ground running with microservice systems that are flexible, easily scaled and incredibly reliable. These companies are almost instantly able to offer new options and services that customers are looking for.

Their successes highlight the importance of evolution. You’re part of an industry that is changing at an incredibly quick speed. Embracing innovations and developments, reliability, scalability and flexibility in software architecture is the only way to respond to – and even exceed – customer needs. With the right architecture and software, you’ll be perfectly placed to evolve and help your customers even far into the future.

Beyond legacy: navigating the automotive finance and mobility landscape with microservices

Want to dive deeper into this topic and see how you can also benefit from microservices technology? Listen to experts Bram Wallach from Sofico and Mike Walters from Axiologik in this podcast.

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