Component-based Architecture

05 Apr 2023

In my previous article, I discussed the importance of user experience to LGPS Officers and how it’s crucial for both pension officers and pension scheme members to achieve their goals.

It would be easy to think understanding user needs is all we need to consider… simply list out any requirements and build something to meet those requirements. However, it’s important to remember that needs change over time.

Today, pensions officers might need to understand the funding level. Tomorrow, they're likely to need a broader range of funding risk metrics and have a greater level of interactive interrogation of the results.

Building a system that meets needs in the short term is relatively simple. But as user needs change over time, a system that cannot adapt will quickly become outdated and difficult to use. In the digital development space, designing and building a system that can adapt to changing needs over time, without throwing away the investment in present needs, is the real challenge.

This is where ‘component-based architecture’ comes in. Instead of building a monolithic system that is difficult to change, component-based architecture allows for modular design - different parts of the system can be updated and replaced without affecting the whole.

For example, a component-based architecture might include a user interface component, a data storage component, and a calculation engine component. Each of these components can be updated and replaced independently, without affecting the others. This makes it easier to adapt to changing user needs and to add new features over time.

To create such architecture, a multi-disciplinary team of experts is crucial. A team that includes UX experts, software architects, data scientists, and mathematical modellers can work together to create a system that meets today’s user needs and can adapt over time.

UX experts can make sure that the system is easy to use. Software architects can design a flexible system architecture that allows for modular design. Data scientists can make sure that the system can handle large amounts of data and provide accurate calculations. Mathematical modellers can design and test different scenarios to make sure that the system can handle different user needs and scenarios.

Implementing a component-based architecture via a multi-disciplinary team is the approach we have taken to develop Frontier’s latest functionality – LGPS-specific funding risk monitoring. Whilst overseeing this development, I've become more convinced that this is the way to go when updating digital systems or building new ones. Not only did it make a complex build relatively stress-free, but the team already have good ideas on how to easily enhance the tool’s functionality for the next delivery phase and beyond.

If you have any questions on anything covered in this blog, or want to see a demonstration of Frontier’s new funding risk monitoring functionality, please get in touch.

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