Over the last two years, we've covered a lot of insights published by the MACH Alliance as it continues to chart the course for composable.
While the Alliance represents a group of independent tech companies advocating for open, best-of-breed technology ecosystems, it has also become a trusted source for data and trends impacting the trajectory of MACH (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, Headless). This is driven by a cabal of thought leaders and industry experts tracking the movement of everything from headless CMS to the emergence of DXC.
This week, the MACH Alliance published the results of its third-annual Enterprise MACHified research conducted by independent firm MEL Research in December and January. The charter was clear: gain a deeper understanding of how MACH investments have accelerated over the past 12 months and how these investments impact organizations as they face the headwinds of a challenging economy – or even the specter of a global recession.
The study surveyed 500 tech leaders from Australia, France, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. The research indicates an urgency to innovate in a rapidly changing business environment – with MACH as a key mechanism for responding to economic volatility.
MACH-advanced companies move faster
According to the research, four in five decision-makers state that economic volatility has impacted their organizational attitudes toward MACH. This has been a key driver behind a major shift in planning and technology investments, with 85 percent of organizations increasing their MACH infrastructure in the past 12 months.
These companies cite multiple benefits to MACH, including the ability to respond to market changes faster, build and implement new functionality quicker, and reduce costs. The study also reveals that they’re more likely to say their infrastructure is keeping up with customer demands and that they’re ahead of their competition than those with lower MACH adoption rates.
The US is catching up with Europe
Regarding MACH adoption, there has been an established disparity between the European and United States markets – but that appears to be shifting as the US gains ground.
According to the research, a lack of board or leadership support is more likely to be a barrier to MACH adoption in the US than in the overall sample (32% versus 27%). This could signal that MACH faces a perception challenge in the US among non-IT professionals, indicating the need for education and awareness to highlight its value and benefits.
At the same time, US organizations that believe they are significantly ahead of their competition are more likely to have increased the proportion of MACH within their infrastructure (47 percent) than those who haven’t (26 percent).
While the survey shows a decline in the proportion of budgets that are being spent on technology upgrades since 2022 in the UK and Germany (from 39 percent to 32 percent in the UK, and from 36 percent to 31 percent in Germany), this has increased in the US (from 37 percent to 41 percent).
Companies in the US also report the largest proportion of legacy tech. On average, 41 percent of IT ecosystems are still considered legacy, establishing a clear need for tools enabling them to improve and upgrade infrastructures at greater speed.
Time and money spent on upgrades is an expensive ongoing problem
In the economic vein, the new research uncovered that not much has changed from a year ago regarding the time and money spent on upgrade projects.
Upgrading is a burden that organizations are struggling to solve, and over a quarter are running over 20 projects each year. One in five spend over half of their IT budget on upgrades, and the same number say upgrades take up over half of their IT teams’ time.
In 2021, respondents said 40 percent of their teams’ time was spent delivering front-office upgrades, indicating that the impact of operating with outdated tech is snowballing.
Gartner has forecast that global enterprises will spend about $856 billion on software in 2023. If a quarter of that was spent on upgrades, it would represent more than $200 billion that could be spent on innovation and improvement of digital experiences.
Investment is increasingly moving from front-end to back-end
The research also found front-end solutions are still receiving the most focus for investment. However, this is changing year over year. While 54 percent prioritized front-end investment in the 2022 report, just 39 percent stated this in 2023.
“The data tells us that too many companies are stuck keeping the upgrade wheel turning," said Casper Rasmussen, MACH Alliance President. "If you add the cost of time and business stands still, the absolute cost is much higher. At the same time, fewer companies see themselves as agile early adopters, and fewer also see themselves as being ahead of the competition compared to our research a year ago."
In countries interviewed in the 2022 and 2023 reports, the proportion that believe their front-office infrastructure is ahead of the competition has fallen from 75 percent to 68 percent. Organizations with 25,000 or more employees also have the lowest adoption of MACH in their front-end infrastructure – and take a more long-term view on making MACH investments.
“The pace of transformation is relentless, but the cost of not innovating is much higher," said Rasmussen. "While transitioning to MACH is no small undertaking, continuing the status quo is an ongoing, big undertaking, especially for larger organizations, which needs addressing. We’re not going to wipe legacy out of the picture overnight. However, those moving toward MACH are better equipped to mitigate future obstacles.”
What’s ahead and methodology
The report was executed by independent market research leader MEL Research. Respondent titles included CIO, CTO, Vice President, Senior Vice President, and Senior Manager. All represent organizations with at least 5,000 employees and have a revenue of at least $500 million annually.
You can download the full report and review a detailed infographic that covers the findings.
You can also schedule a meeting with MACH Alliance leadership at ShopTalk 2023 in Las Vegas to learn more about the research. The Alliance will be hosting several days of networking, educational sessions, podcasting, and more at the MACH HAUS located in the Delano Hotel, adjacent to Mandalay Bay where ShopTalk will take place.
Email press team member Megan Lampros to arrange a meeting: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the MACH Alliance
The MACH Alliance is a [501(c)(6)] non-profit organization, governed by an independent board and does not endorse specific vendors, members or otherwise. The Alliance was formed in June 2020 to help enterprise organizations navigate the complex modern technology landscape. It aims to guide and show the business advantage of open tech ecosystems that are Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless. All MACH Alliance members meet certification principles that are published on the website.
The MACH Alliance welcomes technology companies and individual industry experts who share the same vision for the future. Learn more at machalliance.org, read here about MACH certification and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.