Future-Proofing Enterprise Technology Using MACH

Thought Leadership

By Brian Lloyd | August 25, 2021
An illustration that shows the letters in the word MACH being built with lego bricks

In this era of shifting business demands, a modular swappable architecture gives companies the technological adaptability they need to support their agile roadmaps for robust and rapid innovation. Gone are the days of enterprise suites — a tech-stack ecosystem that streamlines agile practices is key to surviving and thriving in the modern market.

MACH Alliance believes that companies can break free from imposed release cycles by making the best use of open and best-of-breed enterprise technology ecosystems and moving away from monolithic suits — that are Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless. Apply Digital is a strong advocate of building such ‘composable enterprises’ and we predict this will become the norm in the next few years.

The idea is focused on the outcome to enable companies to adapt to changing business requirements swiftly through individual pieces of business functionality that are independently developed, deployed, and managed.

3 reasons why MACH is the future of monetization through digitalization

MACH clears the blockages in productivity caused by technological codependency among teams. This gives companies the competency they need to move swiftly from ideation to monetization. MACH enables scaling, experimentation, and agile change for the lowest cost and at the fastest speed.

1. Achieving scalability

The scalability of a business and its infrastructure are two sides of the same coin. Infrastructural flexibility determines whether a business can be orchestrated to meet increased demands. MACH enables companies to break down their challenges into smaller problems. Now the technology and infrastructural needs are addressed by multiple vendors who come with the most relevant technology and pricing options. Vendors work with solution integrators (SIs) to provide compelling packages that are comparable to the Total Cost of Ownership for legacy businesses. This thriving symbiotic relationship is mutually beneficial for vendors and their customers, creating well-defined whole solutions.

But what’s more impressive is the fact that achieving scalability is core to MACH and allows companies to reap the benefits of it. Agile practices help enforce this scalability. When clients spot an opportunity, they react to address it rapidly and deliver on it efficiently. On the other hand, implementing a suite would leave companies with a rigid digital vision for many years.

For example, the MACH approach helped us integrate a third-party search tool like Algolia into the tech stack of many of our clients quickly and seamlessly, enabling advanced search within their websites and mobile applications. We achieved the desired functional scalability and performance without building the search from scratch which would have been necessary if we used a traditional Content Management System (CMS). This enabled our healthcare client to make vital regulated information easily available to health care practitioners during the pandemic. MACH gives companies the ability to grow as they require and take advantage of market trends while only paying for the technology that helps channelize this growth.

5 Jenga titles stacked on top of each other
2. Reducing the cost of experimentation

We often underestimate the possible income losses that are a direct result of missing out on opportunities due to the lack of experimentation. It’s the culture of experimentation that made Booking.com transform from a small Dutch start-up into the world’s largest online accommodation platform in less than two decades. The ability to experiment is crucial to any business as it allows them to thrive in a competitive market. This requires the capacity to be able to experiment within an equipped and cost-effective infrastructure. Adapting to MACH technology is a step in the right direction.

For our clients, a technological experiment is just like solving a micro-level problem by leveraging best-of-breed tools. This reinforces agility and spreads the cost and risk out over time because each problem can be addressed using smaller solutions that a MACH architecture can efficiently support. We then measure vendor-specific ROI individually and experiment with multiple technologies to reach our desired results. Vendors can be swapped in and out easily within a MACH infrastructure. So, not only can we experiment rapidly with lower costs and risks but also be assured of a higher probability of success.

When one of our gaming clients’ new and revolutionary head-to-head skill-based gambling app was still developing a user base, it would have been a huge undertaking to implement an entire suite to support their community-building efforts through social networks. We instead used getstream.io, a third-party API service to build this social media base, which was less expensive and could be swapped if needed. A failed experiment does not impact all tech components and can always be reversed with a quickly shipped fix with MACH.

Three empty petri dishes
3. Lowering the cost of change

Companies that have monolithic platforms or suites are unable to adapt to unexpected market changes, for example, a global pandemic. Even though they might have the required tools and skills, they cannot evolve with the changing times because their business strategy does not account for flexibility in technology.

Adopting a MACH architecture and its principles gives companies the ability to add this tech flexibility and swap vendors conveniently. Shorter vendor lock-ins and limited tech entanglement ensure that the technical strategy can evolve rapidly to support changing business goals.

For example, for our RPA client, we went from using HubSpot to Contentful and GatsbyJS in order to separate the front-end presentation and the CMS. The cost of change for a CMS to support rendering, routing, and hosting could have been much higher as a complete rebuild would be required. A headless implementation allows for the swapping of front-end or back-end implementations and adding additional customer touchpoints, at lower costs. Whereas an API and cloud-led ecosystem alleviates integrations and copes with such changing demands. However, the most efficient use of a MACH architecture can only be achieved by introducing Ways of Working that make the best use of what MACH offers.

MACH helps our clients move forward from release and upgrade cycles that involve manual testing, release management, and fixing bugs post-release — saving them both cost and time. Instead, MACH supports an established Ways of Working that incorporates automation, and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery/Deployments (CI/CD) combined with cross-functional teams, product-led roadmaps, and shared KPIs — all of which point to huge savings, reduced time to market while allowing the teams to continue to learn and iterate.

A white arrow pointing right painted on a blue brick wall

The path ahead

Adapting to new technologies has always been a dilemma because companies using a prepackaged suite of technologies often fall into the trap of the sunk cost of fallacy. With the convenience of pre-integrated tools and the prohibitive cost of change, they are often unwittingly blind to the new advancements in technologies and customer taste. This hesitancy negatively impacts their speed of experimentation and change, leaving them vulnerable to more nimble, adaptable, and cost-efficient competitors that are more responsive to shifting consumer needs and preferences.

At Apply Digital, we help our clients deploy new features rapidly and retain control of their destiny using MACH. We have seen what MACH technology can do and we believe that it is here to stay.

Inspired by our examples of digital transformation? We would love to see the same at your company. Contact us at hello@applydigital.com.

Co-Written by Rashika Srivastava