Extensibility First DESIGN

Modern Software as a Service (SaaS), eCommerce and digital products in general that are built with Extensibility (E11Y) first approach are better.

Here's why...

Why Extensibility Matters?

Picture this: you're a software company with a brand-new app that's taking the world by storm. But as you grow and expand, you realize that your users have different needs and wants than you initially anticipated.

So, what do you do? Start from scratch and rewrite your entire codebase? Heck no!

That's where extensibility comes in.

In plain English, extensibility is the fancy term for a software's ability to adapt and expand without needing to overhaul its core programming. It's like having a modular home that you can add onto as your family grows, instead of having to buy a brand new house every time you need more space.

The benefits of extensibility are huge for both software companies and users.

For companies, it means they can add new features and functionality without starting from square one, which saves them valuable time and resources. And for users, it means they can tailor the software to their specific needs and preferences, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty.

In a nutshell, extensibility is a win-win for everyone involved. Companies can innovate more efficiently, while users get a more customizable and adaptable product. It's like the Swiss Army Knife of software development – versatile, flexible, and always ready for whatever challenges come its way.

Faster, safer

When it comes to product development, speed is everything. Research has shown that companies with faster time to market (TTM) enjoy clear advantages in terms of market share, revenue, and sales growth. By establishing a faster and safer way to bring new ideas to customers, companies can reduce the risk of expensive, time-consuming product development cycles.

In short, faster TTM is a game-changer for companies that want to stay ahead of the competition. It allows them to innovate more quickly and efficiently, while also reducing risk and increasing the likelihood of success. So if you're looking to make a splash in today's competitive marketplace, you'd better focus on improving your TTM – and fast!

Protect core systems

As companies evolve, they often find themselves with a set of stable core systems that are crucial to their success. However, as they innovate and grow, they also introduce more complex, dynamically changing aspects that can cause headaches and disruptions down the line. That's where E11Y comes in.

E11Y protects a company's core systems through the innovation process, allowing them to grow and evolve without compromising their stability and reliability. With E11Y on their side, companies can innovate with confidence, knowing that their most important assets are safe and secure. So if you're looking to take your company to the next level, make sure you're protecting your core systems with E11Y.

Access to global talent

The tech industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, and the demand for skilled professionals is higher than ever. In fact, a recent study found that the demand for tech jobs in June 2021 was 42% higher than it was at the same time in 2019. This surge in demand has also led to a significant increase in salaries for IT and technology professionals.

But with so many companies competing for the same talent, it can be a real challenge to find the right people for the job. That's where E11Y comes in. Our approach enables flexible staffing and resourcing models that are attractive to modern product, design, and engineering talent. By providing access to a global pool of skilled professionals, E11Y helps companies assemble the right team for the job, whether for short-term projects or long-term partnerships.

Security practices and governance

Well designed E11Y approaches improve Security practises through clearer contracts between services and well-defined Governance models, workflows, auditing and reporting.

Improve stickiness and reduce churn

If generating new customer value through new feature developments, integrations into existing tools and workflows is key to retention then E11Y-first approaches are an ideal strategic investment at any stage.

Customer perceived value

The more you can solve specific customer problems, the greater the perceived benefit of your solutions to your customers. With E11Y, product teams work more efficiently and ecosystems are empowered to solve community-wide problems. Customers with specific challenges can even solve their own feature gap needs.

Product performance & reliability

By abstracting experimental features to the E11Y layers, core teams improve their chances of maintaining and optimising performance and stability of the services.

Culture of innovation

E11Y-first approaches unlock multiple new channels for internal and external innovation. Hackathons and Hackdays, design challenges, innovation stimulus funds, accelerators and incubators.

ROI from solving customer problems

When the cost of development and shipping new features is drastically reduced, it stands to reason that there is a greater return on investment for product teams that are solving more and increasingly niche customer problems.

What makes an Extensible Architecture?

How do you know if your architecture follows extensibility principles? Use these heuristics to determine how your architecture can evolve and where investments should be made.

What can be Extensible?


Business processes span multiple enterprise applications and external web services. Data moves in between several downstream and upstream systems. These processes should be well integrated to provide a cohesive and seamless experience for the end-users.

User Interface

For an application to be successful within an enterprise, user interface (UI) is key. UI should be intuitive, highly configurable, performant, and mobile.


It is essential to automate the mundane, repetitive tasks to allow the end-user to focus on the high-value task and minimize room for errors. The processes should be highly adaptable and supported by tools that non-programmers can easily use.

Data Model

The existing data model can be extended with new data types, including custom data types.

Who's Extensible?

These companies are creating ecosystem value and driving innovation through E11Y.


Who Builds Extensions?

These developers are generating success by innovating with E11Y features provided by platforms.

Kirikll photo

Kirill Zakharov

Head of Design @ Unsplash

David photo

David Williames

Figma Plugin developer

Kristina photo

Kristin Baumann

Product for Basic Income

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Zeplin logo
Mural logo

The E11Y eco-system

E11Y is not an island - it intersects, overlaps, feeds and consumes from multiple adjacent categories across the technology landscape.


Extensibility  for Startup Stages

The concept of extensibility may vary depending on an individual's role within a company and the specific dynamics of the organization. One way to understand how extensibility can be valuable is to consider specific characterizations and attributes of the company through the use of personas.

Exploration Startup

An “Exploration Startup” can leverage extensibility to rapidly iterate prototypical ideas in order to demonstrate a key hypothesis of their vision. This beats a powerpoint presentation hands down, every time. Show, don't tell.


Traction Startup

A “Traction Startup” can defend the solid and stable core domain model, APIs and resources at a time when ordinarily, huge swathes of technical debt is absorbed by the systems.


Scaleup Startup

A “Scaleup Startup” can unlock new Platform-enabled capabilities to support the immense organisational growth and complexity in the product development process, creating faster and safer environments to develop independently with clear ownership and domain boundaries.


Community Sponsors

We're opening up for Extensibility Community Sponsors. Interested?

Would you like to support the E11Y  community and reach a growing audience of makers, creators, designers, artists, devs, coders and hackers that want to make your platform richer and more valuable for customers? Then perhaps consider our Community Sponsorship Options (coming soon)

Join the E11Y community

The E11Y community is a movement towards designing products that enable platforms and ecosystems as a first class citizen and enables product, design and engineering teams to ship products faster and more safely.