We are pleased to close out 2020 having seen incredible traction in growth of members and ambassadors since our June inception. The MACH Alliance has signed on 24 members and 12 ambassadors, and many more are in the pipeline for early 2021. An astounding 70 companies have applied for membership and 50 for ambassadorship thus far.
Attracting some of the most reputable company names in modern tech and beyond, our members meet a set of certification standards that embrace MACH philosophies and offer MACH-certified services. Businesses must be in full compliance in order to carry the certification seal.
In addition to company members, our ambassador group brings together a powerful and diverse range of technologists all with a single vision for what futureproof technology looks like. The ambassadors are individual industry leaders who actively support and contribute to advance MACH technology and the tech standard.
A Year of Progress
2020 saw the pandemic as an immediate and irresistible catalyst for businesses across virtually every industry to digitize, though many were already on the path. With the need for businesses to be digitally agile in order to meet evolving end user demands, many IT and business leaders found the monolithic approach to architecture meant they simply could not adapt at the speed they needed. In those cases, businesses struggled this year. Conversely, those who had systems in place that enabled them to quickly pivot fared well given the circumstances of a pandemic world.
The Appetite for Composable is Skyrocketing
Take it from publicly listed MACH Alliance member companies like BigCommerce and EPAM who saw success this year. BigCommerce revenues were up 41% year over year in Q3 and the company stated it was one of their best quarters in its history. EPAM saw revenues increase nearly 11% year over year in Q3 attributing its success to an 'improving demand environment' as a trusted provider of digital solutions.
Growth like that isn't happenstance during an economic downturn; it's driven by a business need, and we believe a big part of that need lies in what MACH architecture can deliver. And from within MACH system integrators, we know that enterprise inquiries have shifted to composable and MACH, up 500% compared to January.
Looking Ahead to 2021
We've seen movement in the direction of the MACH approach steadily becoming mainstream with even the biggest of technology giants buying into MACH. Take, for example, Salesforce's acquisition of Mobify in September. Mobify was a MACH-certified company at the time of our June launch and provides a headless storefront experience that allows brands to fully and quickly customize their commerce. The $60M deal meant Mobify would provide Salesforce Commerce Cloud with a more modernized and flexible storefront solution that, in turn, would empower brands to customize their commerce experience more rapidly and frequently.
The acquisition temporarily extends Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s relevancy. However, they and other legacy enterprise vendors are still faced with the issue of outdated tech stacks that are decidedly not MACH compliant and are fundamentally unable to become MACH compliant.
From the Outside In
We've seen from experience that the front-end of enterprise software typically modernizes the fastest. That's been the case with eCommerce since the 2000s and it makes good sense: that's what the user engages with. We are now seeing a shift from the outside in where back-end systems are following the lead of the front-end. We believe order management and CRM are the systems likely to follow in 2021. We'll continue to work our way down the stack from there.
ERP is Late to the Game
In terms of ERPs, they have been efficient operational back bones, but their shortcoming is that those systems are built for consistent operations, not for change.
There's a great deal of resistance when ERP’s change from both the builders and the vendors. They are not in the cloud properly yet, and when they are, or when they move in that direction, the upside seems unclear, as we've seen referenced recently by ERP leaders who call into question the benefits of migrating to the cloud and generally how the cloud "works." “Adaptability comes from the microservices and API-first thinking in modern tech, that way the cloud opens up for massive adaptability”, adds Matt Bradbeer, board member of the MACH Alliance and Senior Client Director at EPAM. “We believe there is really no reason why making ERP composable would be harder than making a commerce platform composable. We're starting to see an emerging new set of solutions that sit on top of ERPs with microservices built in. Smaller, more nimble players are ushering in this move toward a more composable set-up.”
It will take time before the move to a MACH approach in the ERP vendor community is a mainstream flow, but some already seem to get it more than others.
Balancing the Rate of Adoption
In terms of regional adoption, there exists quite a disparity. According to MACH expert and Partner & Director at Boston Consulting Group, Peter Burggraaff, China is about five years ahead in composable discussions compared to Europe and the U.S.
"The gap will increase, I suspect, over the next few years, as China is already ahead and able to transition more quickly," Burggraaff said. "Adoption of a MACH architecture and the shift to composable is a long term conversation that takes time and vision, so other countries will have some catching up to do."
There is hope, though, that the catching up can be expedited through innovation.
ERP won't always be monolithic. Innovation is coming at a promising speed whereby start-ups are taking on parts of ERP and recomposing them.
In that spirit, the MACH Alliance is hosting their first ever MACHathon January 22-29 so participants can showcase their most out-of-the-box ideas and prove how quickly they can be turned into reality with MACH technology and composable architectures. There are still a few spots left for participants, but they are going fast. If you´re interested in joining, look here: Machathon || Enterprise MACHified.. The Alliance is here to help usher in the adoption of those big ideas and be the environment and ecosystem that helps MACH take off.
Here's to a year of moving at MACH speed. Stay hungry and healthy!
MACH: Business Technology for 2020 and Beyond
”66% of developers find that maintaining and “paying for” technical debt (aka the money, flexibility, and opportunity lost to a bad technical investment) associated with outdated technology is bad for their productivity at work." State of the Developer report 2109, Devada