Why microservices give our platform an edge

Sep 23, 2020 by Jess McCuan

An image depicts the way microservices architecture works.

In tech circles, the “monolithic versus microservices” debate may have been hot a few years ago. But now, the best general approach to architecting infrastructure is mostly a settled question, and microservices won.  

Why microservices? 

What makes microservices so much better? The monolithic approach to building software or apps just means building it all in one unified piece. The microservices approach means building everything so that it can be broken up into smaller pieces, or services. A microservice is a tiny program that comes with an API, so it can interact in various ways with other services. Think of it as a small reusable piece that can be built in, around, or on top of another microservice.

Reduce, reuse, reuse again

For automation projects, a microservices architecture is the most future-proof. Business processes that require automation happen everywhere in a company, across business units and divisions. Automations should be built in a way that makes them reusable between teams.

Let’s say you’re a financial institution that runs a Know Your Customer (KYC) process in various areas of the business. A customer wants to open a checking account. You need to verify that person’s identity first, and run a series of KYC risk checks. The same KYC process applies when the customer wants to open a savings account, or apply for a home loan. 

In a perfect world, the way the bank does a KYC check should be standardized across units and divisions. This is not just important for reasons of efficiency and scale, but also a way for the bank to stay in legal compliance. When one team — let’s say the home mortgage team — identifies a way to speed up KYC, the technology involved should be completely reusable, so that it’s easy to apply that KYC innovation to all parts of the bank. 

How microservices work in Automation Hero

You can build an entire automation using our drag-and-drop functions in Flow Studio. With that automation, or Flow, in hand, you can run it in a variety of ways. For example, you might set it to run as a batch. This means the automation is connected to a data source such as a CRM or database, and it can be designed to run on a schedule — once a day, every 30 minutes, or whatever makes sense. You might also run it as a stream, syncing up with a data stream like an email server, for example. The automation can be set to run the moment a message arrives.

You can also set the automation to run as a small standalone application with a REST (REpresentational State Transfer) API, which can be done in our platform with just a few clicks. The rest API can be called from a website or mobile application, or integrated into any kind of application such as a CRM. The automation will be triggered programmatically. This could be part of, say, a signup process through a mobile app or web app.

Weave your company’s intelligence fabric

To be sure, a microservices architecture makes our automations highly reusable. But it also gives companies the unique ability to build an intelligence fabric — an automation fabric, if you will —  around core business processes. Once you start automating parts of your company, let’s say it’s the account signup, or claims processing, you can weave these together as component parts of larger business processes. This collection of automations, then, gives your IT directors and strategists the ability to set standards across the company, knowing that each one is safe, compliant and reusable in new markets. A microservices approach gives your company a new agility around acquisitions and the ability to react more quickly to a fast-changing market.