Solving for “X” – How MACH-X Translates to Stronger Business Outcomes for Digital Commerce
Learn how MACH-X, the future of composable commerce enables businesses with microservices architecture for greater e-commerce agility and flexibility
It’s been over three years since Gartner introduced the term “composable commerce” to describe the architectural approach akin to MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless) in their 2019 Innovation Insight for Packaged Business Capabilities report.
The analyst firm predicted “by 2024, 30% of digital commerce organizations will use packaged business capabilities* (PBCs) to construct their application experiences.” And their predictions were accurate – a recent study by the Infosys Knowledge Institute of over 2,500 global enterprise leaders found that:
With all the technical advantages that MACH brings to the table, from increased agility to greater flexibility, it’s expected that adopting this architecture should correlate with strong business performance. But the Infosys study found that adopting MACH alone does not translate to stronger business outcomes.
What is the missing “X-factor” that digital commerce companies need to fully realize the advantages of composable commerce?
Move over monolith – MACH is now mainstream.
According to the 2023 Digital Commerce Radar published by the Infosys Knowledge Institute, over half of enterprise companies (revenues >$500M) have completed their implementation of API-first, microservices-based architecture, with an additional 40% in-progress, and only 6% not planning to implement in the next two years.
IT leaders have embraced the composable architectural pattern (MACH) thanks to its hyper-flexibility. Working with smaller, independent microservices within the orchestration layer simplifies and streamlines development, and greatly accelerates the speed of new feature delivery. Microservices also enable data to extend outside of the online store, to replicate commerce features across all consumer touchpoints including mobile apps, chatbots, social networks, the Internet of Things and in-store digital experiences.
And unlike monolithic applications that require a full rip-and-replace re-platforming effort when they reach end of life, a composable application can add and remove modular components at any time. With an API orchestration layer, an organization can even add capabilities around their existing monolith, and slowly “strangle” the legacy system over time.
This future-proof approach provides the immediate benefit of adding capabilities quickly, with a long-term hedge against CapEx and OpEx costs. There’s truly no turning back to the “old way” from here.
MACH has become table stakes. MACH-X differentiates.
While the modular and independent properties of MACH speed up development and deployment, our study found the architectural pattern itself is not responsible for business success.
Rather, it’s the adoption of key business capabilities (not to be confused with packaged business capabilities) and the ability to innovate in a way that sets a business apart from its competitors that matters most. It’s the ability to build features that deliver differentiated value to customer experience or business operations.
When MACH is a commodity
Many commercial MACH offerings provide a collection of ready-to-use APIs that cover the spectrum of common services you need to deliver essential ecommerce capabilities, typically delivered through the multi-tenant SaaS model.
While these APIs are typically interoperable with other microservices and software platforms, and you’re free to supplement your vendor’s microservices with your own- or third-party APIs, they’re delivered “as is.”
And, while microservices enable you to differentiate through how you use and orchestrate the microservices within your API layer, the microservices themselves offer the same capabilities as everyone else using them.
If your organization has a strong vision and innovative digital strategy, you will find out-of-the-box APIs don’t cover all the ground. You may find you need one or several custom APIs to complete a Packaged Business Capability within your composable puzzle. Or you need an API to achieve a novel feature built just for your business (an ingredient in your competitive advantage recipe).
Why MACH-X is a competitive advantage
MACH-X(MACH with eXtensibility) is an even more flexible way to do MACH. The “X” handles the unknown variables in your unique strategy, with microservices that are extensible to your requirements. This extensibility also enables you to respond to the unknowns that arise from the constantly evolving technologies within your composable solution.
MACH-X enables you to overwrite endpoints with custom code and add new endpoints into existing domains, as needed. Keeping these customizations separate from the core ensures they will not break if your vendor APIs are updated.
The Infosys Equinox MACH-X framework is built with best-of-breed open-stack technologies like Spring Boot and Java. You don’t need developers with specialized knowledge of proprietary code to hack our stack. You can modify existing microservices or build new ones from scratch, and host them all in the cloud or on premises, together with the rest of your systems.
Benefits of MACH-X
Every business is unique. They have their own needs which standard APIs may not meet. Having a framework to extend the APIs through plug-ins to handle any unique requirement will help business meet their needs.
Once you take a MACH-X platform, apart from using the existing APIs on the platform, you can craft a totally new API, a bespoke microservices using the same technology stack. This helps in expanding the utility of the platform beyond its stated needs for unlimited possibilities.
With the clear eXtensible framework, MACH-X shields the extensions from the main microservice updates. This reduces the maintenance of the newly developed extensions whenever the platform is upgraded, hence futureproofing your investments.
MACH-X can help you:
Why adopt MACH-X in 2023?
Digital leaders are continually looking for ways to leapfrog the competition and reduce costs within the organization. Technology must be capable of handling the unique and strategic requirements of the business that truly drive positive outcomes.
If you want the X-factor and have already implemented MACH, the good news is “X” works with whatever you have – even legacy systems and larger, headless applications.
“The beauty of MACH Commerce Platforms is that you can pick and choose industry proven capabilities to be deployed either to gradually strangle your monolith, or to drive a complete migration off your legacy platforms. Integration is simpler, cleaner, and easier to maintain, with business logic fine-tuned via Microservice configurations or in the Orchestration layer. However, most large enterprises need the flexibility to extend these standard commerce capabilities and accommodate their ‘secret sauce’– either to create more unique customer journeys, or to override the standard behaviors of these microservices in certain conditions. And this is where MACH-X architecture becomes a critical success factor.”
Whatever your “secret sauce” requires, MACH-X is the missing ingredient. With it, you can build what you need, and fine-tune your APIs to capture any capability.
We’d love to show you how Infosys Equinox can support your unique and strategic business requirements. If you’re ready to explore the benefits of MACH-X, write to us at email@example.com and we will get in touch with you.
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