Customer Experience, Service & Success

Pressure To Deliver CX Improvements Drives Shift to Best Architectures

best customer service experience

– 82% of IT leaders say infrastructure is keeping up with customer demands. But less than half are satisfied with their ability to deliver CX improvements at speed.

– Despite a clear shift to Best-of-Breed and cloud-native architectures across the board, the cost and time burden of upgrades is still preventing companies from innovating.

– Tech leaders see MACH technologies as the future of architecture with 79% planning to increase investment over the next 12 months and beyond.

– US tech leaders are slower to implement MACH in the front office compared to those in the UK and Germany.

A new report released today by the MACH Alliance, a group of independent tech companies dedicated to advocating for open, best-of-breed technology ecosystems, shows that while intentions to move to MACH architectures are high and progress has been made, companies are dissatisfied with their ability to deliver customer experience (CX) improvements at speed.

The “Enterprise MACHified” 2022 study, conducted by Mel Research and commissioned by the MACH Alliance, polled senior level technology decision makers (CIOs/CTOs, VP/SVP, Senior Manager) in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

MACH technology, which stands for Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, Headless, currently accounts for less than half of front and back-office architectures with the largest companies being the most advanced. However, over the last year, the data shows a 19% increase in companies that have moved away from a monolithic stack to best-of-breed. Just 17% are leaning more towards integrated architectures this year compared to 37% in 2021. Forty-seven percent aspire to be completely best-of-breed compared to 36% last year.

The rate of adoption of MACH technologies in the US versus Europe is interesting. While U.S. tech leaders claim to be as bold in their approach as their European counterparts, MACH is more prevalent in the front office in the UK (53%) and Germany (60%) than the U.S. (34%). This despite 59% of U.S. tech leaders citing a strong intention to increase MACH elements over the last 12 months in the 2021 survey.

What is clear is that the drivers of MACH transition are pull not push. Cycle of release issues and on-premises costs rank lowest among the drivers. Instead, speed, privacy and ever improving customer experience needs come out top. We can also see that MACH intentions are strongly correlated with perceptions of outpacing competitors. Those with the strongest intention to increase MACH elements in the next 12 months are most likely to say they are significantly ahead.

The upgrade burden is preventing companies from innovating
Little has changed over the past 12 months when it comes to time and budget spent on upgrades. On average, companies are spending two fifths (37%) of their IT budget on upgrades (2021: 39%). Those with the strongest intentions to increase MACH elements over the next year are more likely to spend more than 75% of IT budgets on upgrades. With over half of decision makers wanting completely cloud-driven infrastructures in the future (53%), upgrade costs should diminish over time, but the data does not reflect the intentions yet.

Upgrades continue to distract IT teams from innovating, with almost no change year over year. Two fifths of respondents carry out maintenance or upgrades every three weeks, and almost three quarters of those take more than a month, with 25% taking more than three months. On average, IT teams are spending 39% of their time delivering upgrades, with 28% saying more than half of their IT team time is dedicated to this. That represents a huge portion of time that could be focused on innovation and delivering customer experience improvements.

Implementation versus ideology
The majority of decision makers see MACH as the future of architecture, stating they want environments which utilize cloud-native, composable and “best-of-breed” technologies moving forward. Seventy-nine percent expressed a strong intention to increase MACH elements in their architecture in the future (both within and beyond the next 12 months). Twenty-seven percent in the next 12 months.

“There are countless benefits of a MACH architecture when it comes to delivering new features and functionality faster for customers,” said Dylan Valade, Head of Global e-Commerce Technology at PUMA. “I’ve long championed the freedom of a flexible, composable architecture for enterprises. Only through modern software architectures can we adapt our business models and offerings at the speed customers demand today.”

When asked about the main barriers to moving to a MACH-based architecture, a third of decision makers said they are unclear about the trade-off between initial investment and long-term benefits. Two-fifths said resistance to change from their IT/implementation team is their main barrier.

“It’s clear that the majority of IT and business leaders understand the benefits of MACH-based architectures, but the data and our experience shows that fear of change and the practicalities of implementation are slowing them down,” said MACH Alliance President, Sonja Keerl. “It’s also clear that while the MACH movement is growing in the US, Europe is significantly ahead. With IT budgets forecast to grow faster this year than they have in a decade, IT leaders should prioritize investment in technologies that will future-proof and digitally advance their business as the commercial environment remains uncertain.”

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