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Editorial

5 Things Your CTO Will Ask You About MACH

4 minute read
Sonja Keerl avatar
What will your CTO ask you about MACH architectures? Quite a few questions. Here are five of them, and how to respond.

Convincing your CTO and other members of senior management that a MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless) transition makes sense for your business can be fairly complex. But without a willingness to change the tech thinking and architecture, you’ll be left with failed digital initiatives.

Here, we’ll talk through how to communicate the concept and benefits of a modern, decoupled architecture by addressing some of the key questions CTOs often ask:

The Need for Technology Transformation

Question: What are the forces driving your desire to make this transformation?

Answers:

  • The world is rapidly changing, driven by digital and data. We’re in the throes of a period of pervasive digitization. This has brought about  unprecedented visibility into consumers, business activities and market trends. 
  • The ability to deploy data-driven digital capabilities relies on an organization’s IT backbone. It’s critical to have one that is modern and flexible in order to launch new offerings at-speed and meet customers where they are. This drives competitive advantage and long-term business value. 

Related Article: What Digital Leaders Want in MACH-Based Architectures

Organizational Agility and Readiness

Question: How do we create more agility through technology as we think about a transition to MACH?

Answers:

  • With legacy IT and disparate systems, data is locked in silos. One of the results of that is a painfully slow release cycle (think: 12-18 months). With the introduction of MACH and the use of microservices, APIs, cloud computing and headless, along with an agile tech methodology, you’re looking at a quicker release cycle (think: 1-3 months).
  • But the ultimate goal is to move toward decoupled, platform-based tech stacks and a modular architecture. This shrinks the release cycle to its lowest — multiple times per day or week. Agility can only be achieved when an organization can break free of the release cycle. That’s when you become in control of your own destiny. 

Succeeding in Technology Architecture Makeover

Question: What are some of the primary considerations for making this transition a success? 

Answers:

Learning Opportunities

  • The digital transformation of the business doesn’t have to be linked to the core IT transformation. They can be decoupled, which introduces tremendous agility and reduces IT risk. 
  • Data can be liberated and owned by the business, not IT, which is critical to prioritizing and driving business use cases. 
  • Differentiating engineering capabilities should be re-shored and built in-house. Having engineers close to the front lines improves time to value. 
  • New tools and services should be deployed to the front line quarterly. Not once per year or every other year, as you need to respond to customer demands and improve overall resiliency. 

Related Article: Drive Culture Changes Through Composable Digital Architecture

Getting to the Desired Outcome in a Hurry

Question: What is the fastest path to value? 

Answer:

  • A gradual, outcome-focused implementation is the fastest path to value. The initial siloed legacy system gets transformed outcome-by-outcome to achieve a decoupled architecture. 
  • 2X more value created, 2X faster time-to-value and 50% lower cost can be expected as a rough gauge for ROI.

Chief Technology Officer's Role

Question: What role should I expect to play?

Answer:

  • The CTO is a digital change agent that oversees this transition and helps align the outcomes yielded to the overall business and strategy.
  • Tech becomes a data platform and focuses on liberating the data to do smart things like AI, but makes sure the whole stack is MACH compliant.

Conclusion: Moving Toward Agile Ways of Working

Companies need to rethink how the organization works, and that’s not limited to implementing agile ways of working. It’s about the tech and human/talent sides of the business and trusting and working together in this new digital environment to drive outcomes that align to your strategy and purpose.

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.