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For government and health organizations with fairly modern IT systems, microservice decoupling is an effective strategy to meet changing needs and deliver the best flexibility for the future. Microservices are standalone applications that integrate to form a larger system, and they enable organizations to evolve their architecture and solutions over time. This is where Accenture predicts many organizations are headed.

In my last blog, I covered the in-place modernization strategy. That strategy suits agencies with older, custom-built architectures. Microservice decoupling, and eventually a direct move to using microservices for core IT systems, is better suited to organizations with more modern existing systems. Note that the “micro” in microservices is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to government and health because they serve quite large functions. Each service still acts as an independent application.

Strategy What it is When to use it
 

Digital Decoupling 

 

Separate the customer experience and applied intelligence platforms from the core processing platform.

 

Digital Decoupling

 

 

 

In-Place

Modernization

  

 

Update or completely redevelop the code in an existing system to be more agile and modern.

In-Place Modernization
 

Microservice Decoupling 

 

Replace specific functions within an existing system with a microservice.

 

 

Monolithic legacy system is structured in a way that functions and data can be decoupled.

 

 

Parallel Replacement 

 

Replace an existing system with a new, packaged solution.

 

Stay tuned to this series to find out

 

Microservices are preferred for three main reasons:

  1. As standalone business functions, they can be developed and deployed continuously which allows for greater agility and flexibility.
  2. Resilient, cloud-hosted microservices enable organizations to scale services at a lower cost.
  3. The alignment between business and IT is stronger – allowing business and IT to work together to support continuous change and agility.

While there is some data replication with microservices—each microservice typically has its own database—the benefits of running agile and autonomous applications that work together are worth the effort to maintain data consistency.

So, how should an agency choose appropriate microservices?

Before an organization starts the decoupling process, it’s important to pull apart its architecture and identify the functions, code and data model that a microservice application can replace. Implementing the new service must be able to occur while the organization continues to run off its existing database, and it also must be able to integrate with other applications.

The decoupling process itself is complex. Organizations should have a governance and change management model in place to ensure the service can evolve as needed, over time. It’s also important to look for opportunities to enable automation, analytics and artificial intelligence to improve efficiency and reduce human errors. Thorough analysis and testing will ensure the solution works correctly. Fostering alignment between the business and IT also enables change, but organizations must evolve IT agility to organizational agility.

This microservice decoupling strategy specifically suits government and health organizations that want to pursue a direct move to microservices in the future. This approach is the start of that transition. Decoupling provides a foundation for organizations to be more responsive to future demands through microservices that can be adjusted application by application. In my next blog, I’ll cover a fourth strategy, parallel replacement , suitable to organizations that want to migrate to a completely new platform.

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