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What Digital Leaders Want in MACH-Based Architectures

5 minute read
Sonja Keerl avatar
The move toward MACH architectures remains a priority for global tech decision-makers.

For the second year in a row, MACH Alliance conducted global IT decision-maker research to gauge the state of MACH adoption across the US, UK and Germany. MACH stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-based SaaS and Headless. The Alliance partnered with Mel Research to field the study, which polled several hundred senior level technology decision-makers (think: CIO/CTO, VP/SVP, senior manager).

The good news: The move toward MACH architectures remains a priority for global tech decision-makers. And, progress has been made over the past year in this regard with a 19% increase in companies that have moved away from their monolithic stacks in favor of best-of-breed. Technology leaders polled also emphasized that they see MACH technologies as the future of architecture with almost 80% stating they plan to increase their investment in MACH over the next year.

Ensuring Flexibility in Uncertain Times

Here’s why this matters. We’ve been in the throes of a volatile economic environment for several years now. A global health pandemic, geo-political tensions and now war in Ukraine have meant tremendous uncertainty for many businesses across virtually every industry.

While executives cannot control macro events, they can control how they prepare their companies for unrest, and one of the most sound ways to do so is to invest in enterprise architecture and technologies that advance their digital posture. This ensures a level of flexibility that businesses burdened by legacy technology simply cannot obtain.

While the increasing intent to embrace MACH was promising, less favorable was the finding that under half of respondents said they’re satisfied with their ability to deliver customer experience (CX) improvements at speed. Yet, this is where MACH comes into its own, and we expect this percentage to increase over the next year given respondents’ cited intention to increase MACH elements in their digital stack.

Related Article: The Business Case for MACH Architecture

Cost of Upgrades Mounts Along With Desires for Greater Cloud Adoption

The research found that IT teams are spending an average of 39% of their time delivering upgrades. Roughly 30% said more than half of their IT team time is dedicated to this. Two fifths of respondents stated they carry out maintenance or upgrades every three weeks. Additionally, about three quarters of those take more than a month, with 25% taking more than three months.

Imagine how much time and how many resources, with this, are being pulled away from more important functions and the ability to focus on innovation and customer service improvements.

Learning Opportunities

While the cost in talent and dollars drags teams down, more than half of respondents in the research this year said they want completely cloud-driven infrastructures in the future. That should mean that the cost of upgrades would go down, over time, too. That would indicate more budget goes back into the hands of IT and innovation teams to develop new CX offerings and ways to advance the business.

US Trails Germany, UK in MACH 

Interestingly, the research found that the rate of adoption of MACH technologies varies quite a bit by region. While US tech leaders stated in the poll that they would describe themselves as bold in their approach as their European counterparts, it turns out MACH is more prevalent in the front office in the UK (53%) and Germany (60%) than it is in the US (34%). We found this to be surprising given almost 60% of US tech leaders also cited a strong intention to increase MACH elements over the last 12 months from the Alliance’s 2021 survey.

One thing that became clear in the research is that the drivers of MACH transition are pull, not push. Cycle of release issues and on-premises costs rank lowest among the drivers of adoption, while speed, privacy and improving customer experience needs ranked on top. Another key finding we drew is that MACH intentions are strongly parallel to perceptions of outpacing competitors. Those with the strongest intention to increase MACH elements in the next 12 months are most likely to say they are significantly ahead.

Related Article: Are You Ready for the MACH Revolution?

The Road Ahead: Overcoming Fear of Change

Most IT and business leaders understand the benefits of MACH-based architectures. We’ve seen this to be clear in the research from the past two years. But the data and our experience shows that fear of change and the practicalities of implementation are hurdles to adoption.

Further education is needed around best practices for MACH adoption so business leaders can see that the transition to MACH doesn’t need to be as painful as they may assume. And now is the time to dive in. Waiting it out will not come with benefits, as IT budgets are forecast to grow faster this year than they have in a decade. IT leaders that prioritize investment in technologies that will future-proof their business and advance their digital posture are the ones that will outperform the competition.

About the author

Sonja Keerl

Sonja Keerl is a co-founder of MACH Alliance and VP, marketing, at Constructor. MACH Alliance is a group of independent tech companies dedicated to advocating for open, best-of-breed technology ecosystems.