The critical role of tech professionals in tech-free start-ups

A man and a woman share a laptop, to which the woman points.


With the rise of digital services and developer tools, the time has never been more propitious to launch businesses, or startups within businesses, with composable building blocks now available through APIs, microservices, and cloud platforms. . In other words, IT without all of IT. Where does this leave tech professionals?

In reality, building composable businesses means more work than ever for tech professionals and managers, it just adds a new dimension to their jobs. Appropriate technologies still need to be identified, tested, implemented and replaced. With the move to composable, “enterprises will need help at every level: strategic consulting, business services, enterprise software, cutting-edge technologies, operations support, very little is out of reach,” said Rajesh Kandaswamy, an analyst at Gartner. While it is more specifically aimed at leaders of technology products and services, this is also applicable to individual professionals.

The advent of composable business means the technology development process will be more inclusive, suggests Matt McLarty, global field CTO and vice president of the digital transformation office at MuleSoft, a Salesforce company. I had a chance to catch up with McLarty at the recent MuleSoft summit in New York, where he provided his latest perspectives on a topic he has been evangelizing for several years.

“It’s embracing not just developers, but more builders,” he says. “Developers will be out of a job. They will never be out of a job. There will always be a need for gatekeepers and systems thinkers to manage the stability and interoperability of these systems. But to have more people capable of injecting new business ideas.”

McLarty says there are plenty of cases of people building successful companies without any local IT. This is especially the case for digital native startups like Clubhouse and Lyft. “No one really starts from scratch,” he says. “They built their businesses essentially reusing one API that did all the heavy lifting. You might think startups are all cool new tech. But they’re constantly looking at the landscape of APIs out there.”

This also applies to larger and more established companies. “Even if companies aren’t necessarily making their legacy systems compostable through APIs, they are going out into the digital ecosystem and finding capabilities,” says McLarty. “They can use Stripe, Twilio, Google Maps and AWS for their infrastructure. They’re building their business on top of all these APIs.”

When it comes to building a composable business, “it’s not just about connecting things, it’s about how you connect them,” says McLarty. “It’s more important to be adaptable than to be the best at something. For businesses today, things happen too fast. The last three years have taught us more than ever that the ability to change quickly is the most important strength. And the only way to change quickly is to develop your core competencies in a way that you can pivot and use.”

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