The role of accelerators in the MACH world
What are accelerators?
Leveraging best-of-breed platforms and the MACH Architecture offers numerous advantages, including accelerated time-to-value, enhanced customer experience, and the utilization of cutting-edge technologies.
However, with the increased flexibility and modularity of software architecture, complexities have arisen. MACH Architecture introduces several challenges. Firstly, ensuring data integrity and functional cohesion becomes more intricate as data is distributed across various platforms. Similarly, crafting digital experiences that seamlessly integrate data and features from multiple sources poses additional complexities.
Initially, every MACH commerce platform necessitated a ground-up implementation, prompting questions about tool selection and integration to preserve data integrity. In the early stages, there was no established blueprint, guidelines, or documentation for developers to assemble this architecture, requiring Software Integrators (SIs) to undertake custom development for each implementation, covering both front-end and user UI.
In contrast, monolithic providers, offering functionality in a single, interdependent package, typically delivered standard capabilities such as product information display, user authentication, account management, a basic landing page creator, and order history page, significantly reducing the need for additional development during implementation. MACH software prioritizes back-end functionality and lacks standardized front-end or UI, emphasizing flexibility and branding. While customization is crucial, standard use cases in e-commerce implementations benefit from time-saving and risk reduction through standardization.
This is why many SIs and even some software vendors launched MACH accelerators, to standardize the connections between different microservices and add some standard functionalities a commerce project user would expect.
“In today's competitive landscape, organizations must continuously deliver modern, personalized experiences across all channels, making agility essential. MACH accelerators play a pivotal role in achieving quick value and cost reduction while offering the adaptability of an open architecture that embraces AI-powered solutions. This strategy gives businesses a competitive advantage. MACH accelerators go beyond just offering a list of features; they prioritize seamless integration and flexibility, enabling the creation of customized solutions that cater to each company's unique needs." Krzysztof Molin, Senior Director, Software Engineering at EPAM.
A MACH accelerator provides a pre-built assortment of tools, libraries, and components designed to expedite the integration of independent, best-of-breed, headless applications. It comprises pre-configured modules, templates, and workflows streamlining common functionalities such as product catalog management, checkout processes, and payment integrations that pull together multiple data sources. Employing such accelerators allows development teams to reduce the time and effort involved in constructing a robust e-commerce platform, enabling a more focused approach toward tailoring solutions to meet unique business requirements.
“If MACH technology is Lego blocks, I consider accelerators being a starter pack. They allow for a baseline implementation that is built with best practices in mind. Accelerators go hand-in-hand with MACH, as they effectively apply MACH technology principles on the implementation process.” — Ricardas Montvila, VP, Global Strategy, MAPP.
The benefits of using accelerators
1). Faster time-to-value
Accelerators standardize software connections within MACH architecture, reducing project risks and expediting development. The time saved depends on architecture, complexity, and workforce dedication.
“Accelerators can skip over several months on the initial re-platforming project.” — Everett Zufelt, Vice President of Product and Partnerships, Orium
“Valtech launched M&M'S DTC business based on commercetools platform in 14 countries and built LEAP accelerator based on this project. Mars has seen a 50% cart-to-checkout improvement, zero downtime, and 20% sales uplift amongst others thanks to the technology change. Using LEAP, we are rolling out the next commerce project for another brand of Mars in 1/3rd of the time compared to the previous implementation.” — Uday Lakkoju, Global Vice President - Composable Products & GTM, Valtech
Using an accelerator brings time and financial savings for a customer but also saves time and effort for the SIs. A standard approach to starting a MACH project saves a lot of time. It also makes it easier to train new developers on MACH.
2). Lower risks of implementation
Utilizing an accelerator minimizes project delays and bugs. Experience gained by System Integrators enhances bug prevention, issue reduction, and improved estimation accuracy. Adopting proven models increases confidence for customers implementing MACH.
“We use our accelerator for almost every customer implementation.” — Everett Zufelt, Vice President of Product and Partnerships, Orium
3). Easier collaboration between an SI and a customer
Accelerators facilitate onboarding by providing documentation, aiding both, customer and SI development teams. The ready documentation and standardized approach to MACH implementations simplify the handover process between an SI and a customer for a seamless transition.
4). A great resource to train up the developers on MACH
The developers do not want to just read about something, they want to experiment and immerse themselves into the technology. Open-source accelerators offer tools for experimentation, enabling developers to gain practical skills crucial for MACH architecture implementation and maintenance.
Accelerators play a pivotal role in adapting MACH Architectures, they speed up the implementation time and help to standardize the approach to MACH software-based projects. The number of accelerators available on the market is impressive and the choice may seem overwhelming at first, this is why we will follow up with a second post in this series covering how to choose the right accelerator and how to implement them.
Here is a list of Accelerators that the author of this article has put together: Click here to see the list.
This list is not exhaustive, if you know of an accelerator that is not listed here please write to email@example.com and they will consider including it in the list.
Author of the article:
Katarzyna Banasik, Product Marketing Manager, Voucherify
Anton Koval, Partner Manager Accelerators, commercetools
Ricardas Montvila, VP Global Strategy, MAPP Digital
Everett Zufelt, Vice President of Product and Partnerships, Orium
Andrew Kumar, GVP, Uniform.dev
Uday Lakkoju, Global Vice President - Composable Products & GTM, Valtech
Krzysztof Molin, Senior Director, Software Engineering at EPAM
Dom Selvon, CTO, Apply Digital