How to Succeed in Strategic Digital Transformations Using MACH Architecture
By Umar Akhtar
Modern enterprises are searching for ways to be more customer-centric while remaining agile and future-proof. To guarantee that, they need a strategic digital transformation.
Today, digital can no longer be considered just a strategy enabler— it’s the primary component. Businesses need to find the best strategy to support their digital efforts, whether just starting with or looking to accelerate their digital transformation. MACH architecture can provide an ideal option for meeting those ambitious targets.
In a recent webinar, Will Price, Principal Technical Consultant at Content Bloom, and Will Ezell, Chief Technology Officer at dotCMS, sat down to show business leaders how to start evaluating their underlying digital infrastructure and online experience. Today we’ll summarize the key takeaways from that webinar and also highlight how Content Bloom and dotCMS can provide the platform for digital agility.
What is MACH?
MACH is a set of principles that encourages composability and enables evolving business needs to be met with easily scalable and replaceable components. MACH is also an acronym for Microservices, APIs, Cloud-native, and Headless.
Break down your platform into smaller self-contained parts called microservices, and each part focuses on just one business function—for example, editing and publishing content.
Microservices need to be able to talk to each other to exchange data, integrate, and be automated, which can be done using developer interfaces called APIs and an API-first approach. These APIs give full access to every feature of the business function, which means they can be programmed to do everything.
MACH components not only run in the cloud but are designed to be quickly provisioned and scaled on demand.
The customer presentation layer or head should be independent and abstracted from each microservice’s business logic and data storage.
MACH is an alternative to monolithic architecture, which is an integrated suite of components. Essentially, one vendor drives all technology and integration capabilities. With MACH, cloud-native components from best-of-breed vendors with open integration strategies are used instead, allowing you to select the best tool for your business requirements.
How MACH Benefits Your Business
MACH can benefit your business in a number of ways.
Customers: Using the same underlying components across all channels allows businesses to create consistent and seamless experiences. This allows companies to meet fluctuating demand such as seasonal demand or different marketing campaigns and use the lack of restrictions on how content gets presented to adapt to the latest UX trends quickly.
Employees: Many employees have the flexibility to work from anywhere, thanks to MACH. User interfaces are intuitive and optimized for doing the one job they need done. Also, new features are continuously added rather than relying on IT for upgrades.
Business: Combining different components to create new experiences means that you can seize new opportunities and innovate and have the flexibility to adapt quickly. Business leaders can choose the best tools without worrying about complete re-platforming as components can be easily changed.
5 Key Challenges When Pivoting to MACH
There are several benefits to MACH, but for organizations pivoting from a monolithic architecture, there will be some challenges.
1. Vendor Management and Costs
When switching to MACH and best of breed, you’ll need to rely on multiple vendors. This can be challenging for large organizations with complex and lengthy procurement cycles, particularly when stakeholders from compliance, infosec, and more will need to sign off.
There are also different pricing models, some with free tiers or try before buy and consumption-based pricing, which can be tough to manage. Plus, enterprise features like high availability, data segregation, and SSO integration add to the cost.
2. Skills Sets
You often own the “head” or front-end experience in MACH architecture. On the one hand, you no longer have to find specialist vendor-specific expertise that can be hard to come by and can only execute on a limited scope of work. However, you’ll need to source more front-end developers and UX designers, who can also be expensive and hard to come by but are more broadly deployable across projects. Cloud infrastructure skills may also be required to build and deploy your own MACH components.
Modern businesses need to support their employees in “work from anywhere.” Organizations probably already have established Cloud-enabled IAM (Identity and Access Management) solutions or are rolling them out. This is a crucial prerequisite for managing employee access to the back-end of each component.
MACH alone isn’t enough to drive digital transformation as it’s just the technology. Your organization needs to be agile enough to innovate quickly and bring around change. Business people and developers need to work together. Otherwise, you risk disconnect and frustration at the lack of business control over the layout of the digital experience.
While MACH components are designed to integrate and exchange data easily, some work will be required to harness the full data-driven potential of each component. A unified data component may be necessary to reconcile data spread over different segments.
Leverage a Platform for Digital Agility
To implement and get the most out of MACH, you need a platform built for digital agility.
Content Bloom is an enterprise digital consultancy with experts designing and implementing solutions based on MACH principles and using MACH products.
dotCMS is a content management system that provides all the benefits of MACH architecture: Service-Based, API First, Cloud First, and Headless/Hybrid.
Headless/Hybrid CMS: You get control beyond content, including layouts, templating, digital assets, personalization, and component delivery.
Orchestration: dotCMS can act as a content repository, delivery tier, digital asset manager, and integration point. You only need to choose the option you need.
Knowable Cost: dotCMS does not change per content object, per content type, per asset, per API call, site or space. A dotCMS cloud installation can manage and deliver hundreds of content objects, sites, or assets.
Cloud Flexible: dotCMS Cloud uses AWS to provide the many supporting services, but dotCMS can be deployed on any cloud.
Future Proof & Flexible: There is no need to roll out the development and operations team when a new digital initiative is requested.
To gain more insights on how we can help you reach your strategic goals with MACH architecture, read the whitepaper.
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