Guides & Tutorials

Futureproof your business with MACH and composable

Guides & Tutorials

Futureproof your business with MACH and composable

On Tuesday March 21st, Contentful, digital agency Kin+Carta and Netlify hosted an exclusive breakfast at Christopher’s in Covent Garden for some of the UK’s most influential digital leaders and disruptors.

The event, called “‘Making MACH a Reality - Is your business ready for the future of digital?’ featured a panel discussion hosted by Holly Hall from the MACH Alliance.


Holly Hall, Managing director, Mach Alliance; Sonja Keerl – Co-founder at MACH Alliance; Sam Billett – Senior Digital Solutions Manager at Vodafone Group; Phil Dexter – Senior Product Manager at Hargreaves Lansdown

Chris Bach, Co-founder at Netlify, Charles Bell, Senior Director of Solution Engineering at Contentful and Steve Shaw, Technical Director at Kin+Carta were facilitating table discussions.

Some of the key questions and takeaways included:

What does composable mean to you?

Phil answered this question by referring to the challenges a monolithic framework presents compared to the acute streamlining that composable enables.

“In the big, monolithic systems, everything from content management systems to backend and search are all built into one product that gets bigger and scarier, and it makes it hard to innovate because you have a huge codebase that’s tricky to manage.”

Composable, Phil pointed out, helps you avoid some of these perils and be able to think about each individual part of the system so you’re able to pick the things that are right for you, i.e., the things that give you a competitive advantage. And when that competitive advantage changes, you can switch things out without it costing as much as it would with a monolithic system.

Sam said, “For me, composable is about the output and the impact. It’s the ability to operate with greater flexibility in terms of being able to react and respond to events, issues and crises. It’s having the capability for new formats that drive engagement, favourability and reputation. And it’s the freedom to be able to implement seamless customer experiences by addressing those siloed, forgotten legacy systems.”

What does the MACH approach actually mean? How do you implement it? And what are its drivers?

Sonja gave a great analogy for the differences between a monolith system and MACH.

“If you think of the monolith as a record player where you can simply play the same record over and over again, composable actually gives you the instruments. [For the MACH approach to work effectively] you have to make sure people get excited about working across channels and give them the skills in terms of communication and workflows, because just having fantastic instruments is not going to make good music.

“With MACH you have all your tools in one place and if and when the markets pivots/shifts or something crazy happens and you quickly need to change the way you’re doing things, you have that ease and flexibility to change your tuning very quickly. But for this to happen, you need to be sure you have the workflows in place across all your different tools and processes. This is where a solution like Netlify comes in.”

Sam, however, warns that transitioning to MACH and composable is a big task that requires commitment from both staff and executives.

“It’s important to acknowledge that for a lot of executives, MACH and composable sit outside of their realm, but there are a few things you can do to address this. In the case of Vodafone and understanding the complexity of our business, it was clear that a monolithic stack just wasn’t going to cut it, and it also wasn’t going to deliver that flexibility we needed around content management and impact. A key to getting buy-in from the executives was bringing in the right internal and external partners, for example we brought in Netlify for our front end as part of our headless CMS.

“Start your journey by looking at what you do have, and I think it was our gradual migration that helped establish consensus with the executives. Demonstrating ROIs to executives is key—provide proper analytics and show them how investment in your own channels and the ability to react and deliver is going to get the business out there, telling its story and being creative in the way it’s told. If you can demonstrate this alongside the long term OPEX cost savings, you’ll be able to implement these technologies.”

Phil was quick to remark on the amazing speed and efficiency MACH brings to an organisation.

“Around 2016/2017, Hargreaves Lansdown had a 20-year-old CMS and lots of people were speaking about replacing it. Developers were having to go on six or twelve-month courses just to get the thing to work. Whereas now, with something like Contentful or Netlify, everyone can pick it up really quickly, which means developers can come in and build a new website in 24 hours.”

With MACH, businesses can create microservices-based architecture that breaks down complex systems into small, independent services, which can be developed and deployed independently. Composable architecture further enhances this modularity by allowing businesses to mix-and-match pre-built services and create custom solutions tailored to their specific business needs.

Five reasons to embrace MACH and composable:

1. Improve agility
By using a modular approach to building software systems, businesses can quickly add or remove components as needed, allowing them to respond to changing market demands and customer needs more rapidly.

2. Increase scalability
MACH and composable architectures enable businesses to scale their technology infrastructure more easily by adding or removing components as needed, without requiring a complete system overhaul.

3. Enhance flexibility
With a composable architecture, businesses can create custom solutions by combining different modules in various ways, enabling them to tailor their technology solutions to their specific business needs.

4. Boost innovation
MACH and composable architectures enable businesses to experiment with new technology solutions more easily, allowing them to quickly test and iterate on new ideas without significant investment in new infrastructure.

5. Improve customer experience
With a headless architecture, businesses can deliver more personalized, responsive, and engaging customer experiences by separating the presentation layer from the back-end systems.

By enabling greater agility, scalability and flexibility in tech infrastructure, MACH and composable architectures are truly transforming what’s possible for businesses and brands. MACH stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native and Headless, while composable architecture refers to an approach to building software systems by breaking them down into independent modules that can be combined in different ways to create customised solutions.

MACH and composable architectures are enabling businesses and brands to create more agile, scalable, and flexible technology infrastructures that can keep pace with the rapidly evolving needs of the modern business landscape.

  • Do you want to skip the pain of server setup and devops and instead get straight to website building? Let Netlify develop and deploy your website and/or app in record time.
  • Read here how Kin + Carta leveraged the capabilities of Contentful to create brand consistency across a growing company.
  • Click here to find out more about MACH Alliance

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