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The MACH Tech Check - Prerequisites for Vendors

Over the past three years, the MACH Alliance has grown from a vision to a movement, to an established non-profit organization with more than 80 international members dedicated to advocating for open, best-of-breed technology ecosystems. The MACH vendor landscape can be a difficult one to navigate for buyers, so our job from the outset was to help guide them through that maze. And there was a clear need. The response we’ve seen has made it quite clear - and exciting - that this shift is happening even faster than we originally anticipated.

See our latest research on MACH adoption trends.

As true proponents of MACH technologies, the Alliance has a responsibility to the market, especially to enterprise buyers, to approach MACH certification with a high degree of objectivity and scrutiny. It can be incredibly hard for a buyer to cut through industry jargon, particularly from big companies with loud marketing, to understand if a vendor or agency is truly following composable architecture principles. Our certification is our word that we have evaluated the technology, references, and roadmap of a member and they have proven they meet all the criteria for the Alliance to recommend them as part of a future-proof technology stack.

Composable architecture is quickly becoming the preferred choice for businesses in the modern tech landscape. It enables them to build and manage their tech infrastructure using independently scalable microservices, all working harmoniously with each other.

The MACH Alliance certification process is rigorous and fully transparent, with three assessment stages that must be completed by vendor applicants - 1. review by our admissions panel; 2. a tech check conducted by the admissions panel made up of experts from our membership; and 3. a final board review. In this article, we will focus on the tech check process for ISVs.

  • What does the tech check look like?

The tech check is the most critical first filter in our evaluation process. It enables us to review every element of a vendor’s technology - the M (microservices), A (APIs), C (multi tenant SaaS) and H (Headless or optional heads) - to ensure full MACH compliance. We also look at interoperability with the MACH vendor ecosystem, ensure that licensing/provisioning is truly usage based, and that a vendor’s vision and roadmap truly embraces MACH principles. It begins with a live call/product demo, to get a deep understanding of the technical, architectural and usage aspects of the platform/software or the technical capabilities, designing and implementing MACH architectures.

Following the live call, applicants are scored against set criteria.

  • Microservices and internal architecture

During our assessment, we will ensure that internal architecture includes independently working microservices that are independently scalable and automatically updated. These microservices should also offer business value to the vendor’s clients, who will be able to consume independently licensable microservices, and get regular feature updates without disruptions. Vendors are expected to have independent teams working on these microservices, run with separate data storage and no dependencies on other microservices.

  • API coverage

The API should have coverage of all the functionality of the MACH application, including administrative functionalities such as setting up and configuring the solution itself. This is a core characteristic for being part of a composable architecture and means end users can integrate the solution into their composable architecture and build their own touch points including business user tooling. Open APIs are what makes the technology flexible, future-proof and extendible.

  • Cloud Native SaaS

Every solution must be cloud-based and offered as SaaS, with automatic feature updates. Not the same as 'managed hosting' which is typically single tenant and versioned. This guarantees high availability combined with high uptime, at a lower cost. MACH customers should always have access to the latest features and capabilities from their software so they can stay current and relevant. Any software requiring manual updates or installations is not MACH.

Cloud-native SaaS also ensures metered usage and eliminates the need for complex infrastructure and maintenance. This enables businesses to focus on their core competencies while outsourcing their tech needs, leading to increased agility and innovation. Finally, the enhanced security and endless scalability features of cloud-native SaaS solutions make them an extremely reliable and future-proof choice for any business wanting to be at the forefront of their industry.

  • Ecosystem

As MACH technology is complementary, partnerships with other MACH vendors or traditional vendors is valuable so that the vendor can offer pre-built integrations, best practices, examples and other benefits from being part of an ecosystem. A solution should not only be focused/usable for the Web but should offer flexibility and features that are 'generic' enough for clients to define their own usage and build a true omni-channel business.

  • Licensing

A vendor’s licensing model is important. It should be volume-based and allow clients to define their architecture and developers to spin up test environments as needed. It means clients can pay per use, and scale up or down based on their needs, which enables the vendor to provide better value and more control to their clients. They should be able to start and stop using features without continuing to pay for unused parts of the solution.

  • Vision and roadmap

Finally, the tech check looks to the future. It’s important to us that vendors can show they provide insight into the roadmap and product vision of their solution, including further development of features and APIs, so that clients can make informed choices and recommendations. Organizations need assurance that they are investing in a future-proof solution.

In summary, achieving MACH vendor certification requires meeting certain technology prerequisites which the Alliance ensures through the tech check stage of the assessment process. Solutions must enable microservices to work independently with no dependency on others. Vendors should also provide automatic updates, high availability, be multi-channel ready, and offer partnerships with complementary vendors. Additionally, the solution needs to be provided through volume-based licensing that lets clients define their usage and offer insight into growth and product vision. These criteria will guarantee your place in a composable architecture world.

The MACH Alliance is committed to being fully transparent about its application and assessment process for members. If you’d like to find out more and apply to become a member, visit our website.