You’re likely here because you’re considering, or you’re already in the midst of a stressful technology strategy overhaul.

We know a thing or two about technology strategy for associations, scholarly publishers, and B2B media companies, and we’re here to make life easier for you. When it comes to making high-level technology architecture decisions for a content-rich organization, there are a few tips and tricks for getting your technology stack up and running.

Let’s start by unpacking some lingo. 

Monolithic technology structures consist of one single, multi-use platform, or a set of leading multi-use platforms that manages everything. 

Recently, there's been a shift towards microservices - or choosing best-in-class software solutions for individual needs.

Microservices is a buzzword that you will come to hear more and more frequently. 

With giants like Netflix, Amazon, and Google making the switch from monolithic architectures to microservices, there is no debate that microservices are already ‘the next big thing.’

Whether you're an association working to develop new member benefits in the digital age, or a scholarly publisher seeking to deliver engaging and personalized content experiences to your readers - you must understand the basic principles of these technologies in order to leverage them for organizational growth.

As business leaders expand their e-strategy in a rapidly changing digital environment, they are simultaneously seeking to make scalable technology decisions

Monolithic Architecture

A monolithic architecture is a unified, multi-dimensional platform that operates from a single piece of code. 

In plain English, this means that a monolithic tech solution is a single platform that does it all, from marketing technology to sales functionality to customer resource management. A monolithic solution is a one-stop software shop. Examples of monolithic tech include SalesForce and Hubspot

A monolithic application takes your data and distributes it through layers that are piled on top of each other. This foundation is self-contained and interconnected, which offers its own advantages and disadvantages. 

From a technology strategy perspective, a content-rich organization like an association, publisher, or B2B media company may use a few other tools in addition to their monolithic platforms, but these monoliths are typically driving the majority of organizational functionality. Furthermore, these monolithic systems typically drive strategic data organization and decision-making.  

Advantages of Monolithic Architectures 

  • Easy to test
  • Easy to debug
  • Simplified deployment
  • Simplified development
  • A single application that houses all 
  • Zero to minimal data or organizational silos

Disadvantages of Monolithic Architectures 

  • Barriers in adaptability for specific use cases
  • Slow to develop and deploy
  • Lack of flexibility 
  • Generalized and/or Lower-quality code
  • Jack of all, master of none for all use cases
  • One bug can destroy the entire application (!)  
  • Slow to  evolve with technology trends
  • To adapt, the entire application requires a rewrite

Historically, associations' tech strategy has been guided by monolithic and AMS-centric technology. Generally, these are outdated, antiquated modes of operation that won’t serve you well in a digital-first environment. 

Microservice Technology Strategy

Enter the future of technology architecture – Microservices. 

The global expansion of microservices is projected to grow at a rate of 22.5% between 2019 and 2025. Although it is a relatively new approach, microservices are ideal for organizations that want a scalable, adaptable, and less-interconnected (to avoid rewriting entire codes for small changes) structure. 

Tech giants like Amazon, Capital One, eBay, Google, Netflix, and Uber have already transitioned to the microservices model. 

An example of microservices for associations might be running your email through MailChimp, your social media through Hootsuite, and your website through a content management system like Wordpress. 

Microservice for academic publishers and B2B media companies usually involves connecting communication and advertising platforms through which to deliver scholarly journal content or articles.

A microservice model would use API integrations to connect these platforms. On the flip side, Monolithic structures run all of these functions through one platform, such as Hubspot. 

Advantages of Microservice Architectures 

  • Agile and flexible
  • Fewer and more  isolated code issues
  • Smaller in size and scope
  • Independently stacked and deployed
  • Deployment is rapid and continuous 
  • Functional with cloud-based containers
  • Best in class solutions and performance for every use case
  • Low cohesion, (the advantage being that any change you make has a drastically reduced risk compared to monoliths, which are very cohesive but cannot be edited without high-risk)
  • Smaller domains 
  • Lack of transactional requirements in regards to cross-services

Disadvantages of Microservice Architectures 

  • Can be challenging to maintain separate frameworks
  • Lower/no cohesion between platforms
  • Data stored in technology and operational silos
  • Can lead to a disjointed experience for your customers
  • Can be more expensive, depending on the configuration
  • More complicated 

The good news is that a unifying platform like Hum - built for content-rich organizations like associations, B2B media companies, and research publishers - can mitigate all of these disadvantages.

Microservices + Hum

It’s predicted that by 2023, 75% of organizations will have a comprehensive digital transformation (DX) implementation roadmap in the works, up from 27% in 2020. Needless to say, there’s been a massive race to digital transformation that’s left many associations behind the curve and confused about what actually needs to happen to implement digital-first strategies.

Hum makes digital transformation easy for organizations focused on serving readers, members, or subscibers. Hum sits alongside your microservices tech to unify your platforms and streamline the data they collect. If you’re tired of hitting a wall every time you launch a new technical capability, perhaps it’s time to embrace a modernized data architecture capable of growing with your organization instead of against it.

Hum works to eliminate these digital hurdles.

Hum does not fall into either of the software categories – monolith or microservice – discussed here today

Rather, Hum is a software overlay that sits over top of your microservice technologies to unify them and streamline data collection between your solutions. With Hum, you ultimately receive the best-in-class tech associated with a microservices model while also reaping the unification benefits of monoliths -The best of both worlds! 

Hum was created specifically for content-rich organizations like research publishers, media organizations, and associations. Focused on centralizing your databases such as MarTech, LMS, AMS, and more.  Hum unifies every system without losing flexibility, scalability, and operational independence.

The Verdict 

When it comes to choosing technology for your association, publishing, or B2B media organization, it's important to consider how your technology stack makes you more effective and efficient at serving your readers, subscribers, or members. 

Monoliths may be more simplistic, but simple is not superior in this case. Simple will keep your growth at a standstill as you swim upstream to scale, build, test, deploy, and upgrade. 

The verdict: Microservices are critical to becoming a digital-first organization.  

Ready to move to Microservices? Get your digital readiness score to see if you're prepared to take on this major shift towards a modern technology strategy.

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