Being digitally adaptive is high on the agenda for any company where customer expectations evolve quickly. Hint: That's just about every company today.
2020 has been a year of monumental change, much of it unforeseen and marked by the need for businesses to rapidly respond in order to stay afloat. Despite their best efforts, software suites have proven to struggle to adapt to this pace of change for many reasons.
Upgrades, for one, take a lot of time and effort. Even if they're run annually, which is utopia in many cases because of the volume of resources they consume, that means necessary improvements and fixes often come a year too late. The improvements for one company are also not applicable for many others, but suites are a one-size-fits-all roadmap. That means they simply don't match many companies' actual needs.
Composable software strategy can solve many longstanding issues
A modern, composable software strategy in the enterprise means working with smaller solutions that seamlessly integrate through a tech standard called MACH, which stands for Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless. These best-of-breed solutions work together and function like one unit. When a part needs to be replaced because requirements have changed, it can easily be done while not influencing the rest of the setup.
The MACH Alliance, an industry advocacy group, was formed in June 2020 as a non-profit co-operation to introduce a new, open and best-of-breed enterprise technology ecosystem. Founded by Commercetools, Contentstack, EPAM Systems and Valtech and counting 15 members at launch, the MACH Alliance is set to grow and expand over the coming years.
Industry information for this eWEEK Data Points article comes to us from Kelly Goetsch, president of The MACH Alliance. Here he offers eWEEK readers five benefits of this type of architectural approach.
Data Point Benefit No. 1: Easily adaptable
MACH technologies support a composable enterprise in which every component is pluggable, scalable, replaceable and can be continuously improved through agile development to meet evolving business requirements. If needs change, the vendor includes the necessary change or the enterprise replaces them for one that does. The architecture stays in place; the user simply replaces a small element of it, which can easily and quickly be done.
Data Point Benefit No. 2: Upgrades become a thing of the past
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has meant the end of software versioning. The cost and effort involved in upgrading technology is huge and often underestimated in total cost of ownership (TCO) conversations. The risk in upgrading, particularly in more complex environments, is high, especially for organizations that customized part of the tooling to better accommodate their needs. This doesn’t take into account the resources that worked for weeks or months on an upgrade project that aren't actually contributing to propelling the digital experience forward for the customer. Seamless, rolling upgrades mean you always have the latest functionality at your disposal.
When talking with organizations about legacy technology, one of the biggest frustrations noted time and again is that teams are always behind. So while a vendor might have made improvements to a new version released, they cannot utilize the features to improve their digital customer experience because they have not yet upgraded to that next version. Not only do they not have access to the newest version, when they do decide to update, the cost is exorbitant.
Data Point Benefit No. 3: Pay for what you actually use
Prior to a subscription model, enterprise software buyers found themselves with large upfront investments for a software license, often accompanied by annual maintenance and support fees ranging anywhere from 10% to 25%, depending on the level of support chosen. The large sum of the initial purchase made software licenses part of the capital expenses, which meant long and tedious decision-making and procurement cycles.
Also fueling the pivot to a subscription-based licensing model: the continued rise of cloud. SaaS has grown in popularity as companies have become increasingly comfortable with moving to a serverless model. From a TCO perspective, adopting cloud offerings means enterprises can shift the cost of setting up and maintaining the infrastructure to their software vendors. While the cost benefit of that is huge, perhaps more importantly it also means significant reduction in risk for maintaining the security side of the software. The risk for software breaking either because of badly maintained infrastructure or being under the load of peak traffic, is gone.
Data Point Benefit No. 4: Future-proof
MACH software is easy to replace and easy to connect to, both creating freedom for the enterprise and keeping vendors on their toes to perform. The tech standard allows buyers to connect with any other MACH supplier if they want to replace that part of the set-up or utilize a self-built feature without changing the rest of the set-up.
Through the technological advancements that have transpired over time, which can be outlined in detail in this blog post, we’ve transitioned to a modern approach to technologies and architectures that allow for immense flexibility, high performance and notable cost savings. This gives IT teams the freedom to build, test and implement tools and features quickly and easily. As the COVID pandemic has reinforced, companies that can respond quickly to new technological requirements are the ones that will not only make it, but thrive.
This is only one example of how MACH is spearheading the enterprise transition to future-proof technology and helping to ensure businesses can still succeed in times of change. With a MACH architecture, IT leaders have a seal of confidence in knowing they're future-proof. With that comes peace of mind.
Data Point Benefit No. 5: You own the roadmap
Using the MACH approach, all elements of the technology set-up are swappable for any API-connectable application that would do a better job, enterprises are no longer dictated by the roadmaps of tech giants. That tends to be a binding setup that reduces a business' own control, bringing about setbacks that can be damaging.
With MACH, the enterprise delivers products and services at its own pace, yielding the ability to add market value more quickly and on its own terms. The capacity for innovation in the roadmap is also demonstrably opened up given some of the prior benefits addressed, such as not having to dedicate resources to upgrades.
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