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MACH in Action: Key Points from the First MACH Alliance Survey

Natalie Gross

VP, Brand and Marketing, EMEA
Blog

In a first-of-its-kind study, the MACH Alliance—of which EPAM is a founding member—surveyed 95 technology decision makers about their experiences and ambitions for adopting MACH technologies within their organizations. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report.  

MACH (modern architecture) is changing the way organizations adopt technology, providing enterprises with a new level of flexibility and agility to meet the needs of the business and customer. Find out more about MACH and why companies are using it.

Over the past year, the conversation about MACH has accelerated among analyst, business and developer communities. So, this report by the MACH Alliance is not only important in relevance—it’s good timing. 

Opportunities & Challenges as Expected

Throughout the report, the findings are consistent with our expectations and what we are seeing in the market. That’s true, both in terms of the opportunities that MACH presents, as well as the challenges inherent in adopting a MACH mindset and technology ecosystem.

This idea of technology presenting both an opportunity and challenge is not new. There has never been a ‘slam dunk’ technology with the capacity to change a business overnight without a significant challenge attached.

Where Does MACH Ownership Belong?

There is a recognition in the report that MACH is a C-suite responsibility, rather than something being viewed purely through a technology lens. This is a clear indication of how far digital transformation agendas have moved. MACH adoption forms part of this transformation agenda, now a business-critical decision, on the radar of boards and shareholders alike.

MACH’s Holistic Role

The study demonstrates a strong understanding among respondents that the technology opportunity presented by MACH is not simply one of consolidation, an efficiency driver or a point capability improvement. We’re not only enhancing shopper flow, workflow backend or elements of customer service, for example. There’s a recognition that MACH has a far more holistic role to play.

One of the key things we see in the report is the ability for MACH technologies to drive innovation in the way businesses respond to fast-paced change in customer and end user expectations. There’s a real correlation between use of MACH and speed to evolving customer experience. MACH can be a vital part of that solution. It’s not the whole solution because MACH brings with it a requirement for organizational change, greater sophistication in the use of data and great creative minds to serve emerging customer needs. Yet the correlation between MACH and experience is clear, especially when MACH is used as a way of quickly realizing opportunities for growth through customer experience. Detaching front ends or customer touchpoints and going “headless” has consistently proven a “quick win”, as has introducing a MACH approach to order management.

Challenges & Barriers to MACH Implementation

Resistance to change: Companies invest a lot in their technology stacks over a long period of time. They will have built teams that have a certain capability. There may not be an appetite for further CapEx investment in the foreseeable future to facilitate a tech swap. So as the report identifies, there are real challenges here, which can be exacerbated by a lack of clarity between the initial investment and long-term benefits.

As an industry, we sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot by painting a picture of MACH as something we can switch on overnight. MACH does offer ways to get to market quicker, but we need to tell the right story about the initial investment versus the long-term benefit; of how you can build a roadmap and reshape your organization in an incremental way to achieve long-term benefits, while also achieving some quick wins as you deal with the knottier issues new tech implementation can present.

As a genuine partner for change, it is our role to help clients overcome barriers and paint the picture of what the customer experience can be – not as a five-year vision, but through practical and ongoing, incremental enhancements and innovation.

Procurement: The buying decision for MACH is unlike any procurement or a CFO will have experienced. Although not explicit in the report, there’s an acknowledgement of the procurement imperative to be a senior, MACH-educated partner to the C-suite, with the ability to manage senior stakeholder needs, to balance sunk costs with new investment to deliver organizational benefits, and change the nature of doing business over the next three months, not some indeterminate future point in time.

What to Insource vs. What to Outsource: When an organization is insourcing, what should the permanent versus contract headcount be? How much should you outsource, who should your external partner be and how should you partner with them? As the study indicates, these are all important considerations for MACH.

Every organization needs a certain capability around product, project and program management. MACH also needs a capability in tech and architecture in terms of how you choose, assemble, integrate and continuously deploy it in the business. This requires a different mindset so having the right partnership and decision-making to reach that balance for your business is vitally important.

As a founding member of the MACH Alliance, we know the importance of reports, such as our inaugural research. We will continue to publish reports and guides, and if, having read the report, you feel there are further areas that you would like to hear about, we’d welcome the opportunity to hear your suggestions.

To find out more, download the full MACH Alliance report here.

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