The MACH factor - what is it?
It’s the buzzword of the moment – retailers and vendors alike are talking about MACH and its potential as a structure for digital transformation. But, as with many tech concepts packaged into handy catchwords, it can be hard to extract meaning and relevance if you’re not familiar with the idea behind the acronym.
Unboxing the concept
Essentially, MACH is the repackaging of four key tech principles which, separately, are likely to be familiar to anyone seeking digital transformation:
- Microservices - individually-developed functions that are managed and launched independently. They allow engineers to be language and technology agnostic and to work on services without disrupting overall workflows.
- API-first - a product-centric approach to developing APIs, where they operate as separate products rather than integrations which form part of other systems. The result is a set of modular, interoperable APIs which come together to form an API platform that allows for rapid development and innovation.
- Cloud-native - apps designed and built to exploit the scale, elasticity, resiliency and flexibility of the cloud, so that engineers can make high-impact changes frequently and with minimal effort.
- Headless: back-end logic and front-end user experience are completely decoupled, for total freedom when it comes to designing the user interface and connecting to other channels and devices (existing applications, kiosks, augmented reality and so on).
Taken together, these four aspects ensure that MACH technology – which is at the heart of our RetailOS platform - is composable; each part can be plugged in, scaled up or down, replaced and changed to meet the needs of the retailer.
Why the best retail tech platforms like RetailOS are MACH-based
Unlike the more traditional monolithic architecture (built as a single, closely-coupled entity) where all parts are intrinsically linked and even the smallest change to one can fundamentally affect all the others, MACH architecture allows retailers to choose the tools that best suit their needs, and provides a structure that makes it easy to add, adapt or remove technologies in the future.
Retailers opting for a MACH-based retail tech strategy can expect to reap a number of rewards, including:
- Faster delivery of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – because the process is agile, delivering pilots and proofs of concept is much speedier and less likely to disrupt business as usual.
- Effortless evolution –adopting MACH-based tech allows for rapid changes and innovations to keep up with customers’ ever-changing needs, from product information to personalised communications and flexible payments.
- Seamless updates – time-consuming upgrades are a thing of the past, with automatic, non-disruptive releases as an inherent part of the architecture.
- Access to the best tech – as MACH architecture is composable, retailers can select the latest tech to support their strategy while maintaining the existing functionality that works best for them.
MACH architecture and composable commerce represent a swifter, more adaptable and future-focused approach to retail transformation – one that will ensure its longevity, reliability and relevance.
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