MACH-X: The Future of E-commerce
To keep up with the fast-paced and ever-changing market dynamics and consumer expectations, businesses need to rapidly launch new digital capabilities and support quick geo-specific customizations.
While digital commerce leaders are looking to cater to the evolving business landscape, there are immense challenges involved in keeping monolithic legacy systems updated in this climate of rapid technological change, evolving buying trends, and opportunities for innovation. Afterall, monolithic applications were not designed to extend to new touchpoints such as mobile apps, voice, IoT, phygital retail, AR/VR, and chatbots and legacy code does not support Agile DevOps or CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery).
To solve this need, in today’s market, there are several cloud-native, MACH-first platforms that an enterprise can use to adopt a modular architecture when building new applications and updating legacy platforms.
Digitalizing e-commerce with MACH
MACH is an industry-recognized term that stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless. MACH commerce solutions help businesses to modernize their tech stacks and adapt quickly to market dynamics.
Unlike a monolith that contains a collection of tightly coupled capabilities within a common code base, all needing to be implemented together, microservices are loosely coupled, independently deployable, and scalable applications (designed around a single function or business capability such as catalog, payments, pricing, cart and checkout, or address verification).
Microservices are a cloud native architectural approach and enable rapid development of microservices while reducing technical debt by allowing for upgrades / replacement of specific microservices as needed.
In a reversal of the traditional approach to application design—building backend code first and slapping an API on top of it—APIs are the core around which services are built.
The API-first approach accelerates the development process and enables addition of newer capabilities and new channels of engagement as they become market ready.
Deploying an application in the cloud provides the elasticity to scale up or down with demand and protect uptime, especially during peak traffic like during flash sales.
Cloud-native microservices scale independently keeping costs in line and can be deployed in any public cloud, like AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, or on your own cloud in a custom deployment.
Headless means an application ships without a front end, enabling it to extend to any front end or touchpoint, including ones without a user interface.
Headless commerce, for example can support PWAs and SPAs, run on the cloud, and bring digital capabilities into physical retail, and connect to chatbots and voice assistants.
Adding the X factor to MACH
There are several MACH-ready commerce vendors that provide the benefits of flexibility, scalability, and technical agility through the API layer. This works if the solution is used “as is” and “as delivered” by the vendor. However, often, enterprises want greater flexibility and the ability to solve for X, the unknown variable during the always-on digital evolution.
And hence, MACH-X.
MACH-X supports this flexibility with an open-source stack that enables you to extend and override the capabilities of any microservice you may need to resolve. MACH-X gives organizations a clear edge over MACH platforms by enabling them to future-proof their development with an open stack advantage. It divides API layers in a way that keeps the customizations separate from the core. This lowers complexity and protects the longevity of your development efforts.
While software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a popular delivery model for MACH platforms offering the elastic benefits of the cloud, the MACH-X technology provides a huge advantage over other SaaS providers enabling businesses to build their own custom microservices using the same open stack as the core or bring third-party microservices. Also, while many SaaS vendors cannot connect with microservices outside of their own offering requiring you to maintain siloed dashboards, unified deployment simplifies orchestration and enables streamlined operations and monitoring within common dashboards.
One problem with MACH solutions is the lack of mature business tooling. Until recently, only the most digitally mature and technically savvy organizations could tackle a microservices journey. That said, building microservice admin interfaces on top of an open-source templating framework enables the functionality to be customized and orchestrated for any business tooling use case. Extensible admin tooling, therefore, supports a balance between IT and business agility.
Unlike traditional rip-and-replace e-commerce re-platforming projects, migration to MACH-X architecture can be based on an organization’s own schedule.
If an organization has outgrown its legacy platform or it has reached end-of-life, a full-suite microservices platform that covers all core commerce components as well as capabilities that serve the entire commerce lifecycle can enable big bang re-platforming. An alternative to a big bang is the incremental approach – dubbed the Strangler Pattern – taken by leading e-commerce microservices adopters. Although this process is slower than a big bang for a full overhaul, it enables an organization to quickly take advantage of the newer capabilities of modular applications implemented through microservices and allows the business to get the most out of its legacy investment without causing disruption to operations and customers. If, however, the organization has no immediate plans to fully replace its legacy monolith but wants to launch greenfield innovation quickly, or simply supplement its capabilities with new microservices, it can deploy individual a-la-carte microservices and prebuilt experiences around its core platform.
MACH-X leverages the flexibility and agility of MACH, enabling enterprises to digitalize their e-commerce businesses via cloud applications to satisfy unique requirements serving both customers and business users. It is, hence, not a stretch to assert that MACH-X is the future of e-commerce. To know more about how to migrate to MACH-X, read the detailed point of view available on https://www.infosysequinox.com.