Digital customer experiences no longer sit at the bottom of the priority pyramid for companies. The last decade has witnessed a tremendous upsurge in customers wanting to interact digitally with brands and companies, leaving them with no choice but to embrace the path of digital innovation.

As a CTO, I understand the immense pressure companies are facing in order to fast forward digitalization of their customer experiences. With an ever-increasing demand from the business, organization and consumers, the stakes are at an all-time high. This, combined with the current talent shortage, makes it almost impossible to deliver on the quickly growing expectations. The struggle is real! 

Is MACH the Answer to Tame the Digital Madness? 

But there is a way to unburden the tech organization by empowering the digital business teams to be more autonomous in their mission to modernize and digitalize the customer experience, without the CTO losing control. And that way is called MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud, Headless).

Today we all know that speed of adaptation and innovation is key. Ideate, innovate and repeat in the same speed as customer expectations — or fall behind.

For me, it boils down to the hidden sales cycle: or if you like micro-moments. The consumer behavior has changed forever. The battle for hearts, minds and dollars is won (or lost) in micro-moments, meaning you need to provide the right information, at the right time, throughout the entire customer journey.

When there is no physical person taking care of, or guiding the customer, it becomes all about the data. Behavioral and contextual data, in combination with content, product, transactional and customer data. You need to get the right capabilities to be able to combine your data into new customer experiences, and build and launch them at speed. Yesterday you needed an ecommerce store; today you need a mobile application and who knows what tomorrow holds? Are you adapting fast enough?

Related Article: A Decade of Dramatic Change in Digital Customer Experience

Owning Front End, Fuel It With Headless Data

If you don't jump into a future tech state with a MACH approach (Microservices, API-first, Cloud, Headless), you risk ending up with a big black box (aka a monolith). With such a black box all kind of ideation gets stopped because with every new idea or innovation, everything must be rebuilt from the ground up. Even worse is if you build a black box all new initiatives must be built by you, and it is impossible to scale and get help with innovation from a creative SaaS community. This model will ultimately break under its own weight because it cannot be maintained nor scaled over time.

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Companies need to invest in technologies that are 100% dedicated to fast forward their customers ability to move into an API-first approach without the need of ripping and replacing in their current stack. This enables customers to get better value out of the investments they have already made in data enhancing backend system (e.g CRM, PIM etc). This gives both customers and partners the freedom to use their own front-end and fueling it with headless data. 

Your front-ends should be as thin as possible focusing on the experience, look and feel and consume the data via real-time APIs (static vs. dynamic) making data and front-end truly decoupled. The more decoupled you can be in your platform, the more adaptable to future changes and anti-fragile you will be.

Related Article: Is Being Digitally Advanced Enough?

Stay in Control While Making Digital Teams More Autonomous  

As a CTO/CIO/tech leader you want to ensure that core business processes and systems are protected and that there is cohesiveness in the company’s tech strategy. By using MACH-led technologies and a composable approach toward how you handle your tech stack, you can liberate valuable consumer data that gets stuck in legacy siloed systems to fuel digital initiatives.

In a nutshell, you are turning your enterprise data (data locked in enterprise systems) into experience data (data that can be used to build digital customer experiences). By pulling data from your core backend systems (ERP, PIM, CRM, etc) using a headless approach, you can combine it into new virtual data structures and make it available for the digital team to build experiences without the support from you and your team.

You get the best of two worlds. You don’t need to overload each backend system by putting data there that it is not intended, and you don’t need to add another integration that is under constant threat to break for your digital team to access the data they need.

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