Uniform executives sound off at NRF’s MACH HAUS
4 min read
MACH, which stands for Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless, is a technology model whereby modular, self-contained, and independent technology components can be integrated to work together—as opposed to running one legacy system that handles everything.
As an advocate for open technology systems and a member of the MACH Alliance since 2021, Uniform was proud to be invited by the alliance to participate in three thought-provoking panels that took place during NRF 2023 last month.
Darren Guarnaccia and Adam Conn, president and cofounder of Uniform, respectively, appeared before a live audience in podcast sessions held inside the MACH HAUS, a dedicated space at Glasshouse Chelsea. The executives shared their insights on how to adopt a MACH architecture and why monolithic, digital-experience platforms are doomed. They also explained why a composable framework matters and why a digital experience composition platform (DXCP) is crucial for building fast, open, and captivating digital experiences.
Below are the highlights from the sessions.
Writing the DXP obituary
In a panel provocatively titled The Death of DXP, Stepping Off the Monolith Bit by Bit, Guarnaccia was joined by John Torris, head of sales at Bold Commerce; Karen Light, director of platform strategy at Valtech; and Chris Bach, cofounder of Netlify. Sara Remekie, CEO and cofounder of Conscia.ai, moderated.
The session reiterated that even though the digital experience for consumers is alive and well, the legacy-based digital platforms for managing the related assets are dying. That's because even though retailers and brands can reach omnichannel shoppers through the older DXPs by means of AI, VR, and the metaverse, everything takes too long and costs too much. Such a scenario, which kills businesses, is what's killing the monolithic approach.
Guarnaccia pointed out that brands are tired of and frustrated about “the merry-go-round of upgrades,” which older technologies—many born pre-SaaS days—require. “It costs a lot of money … and just takes a long time to get anything done,” he added. “Devs are weary of being handcuffed by the very restrictive ways those old technologies make them work. In contrast, the new world of MACH offers choice and flexibility.”
According to the panel, a remarkable part of the flexibility is how companies can gradually migrate to a composable architecture, keeping legacy-system elements running and adding functionalities as needed.
In addition, Guarnaccia emphasized that a lot of what’s burying DXP is a rise in omnichannel shopping, and that retailers and brands are clearly seeing that older platforms are ineffective at managing a digital-first strategy, now driven by a mobile experience with a web experience as the backup. It used to be the opposite.
Watch the session below:
Understanding digital experiences
Moderated by Bach of Netlify, a panel titled DXP vs. DXC vs. Headless was led by Conn; Dom Selvon, CTO at E2X, an Apply Digital Company; Julia Shkrabova, head of partnerships at Builder.io; and Jerry Roper, principal, Deloitte Digital.
To begin with, Conn clarified the evolution of the digital experience platform, a journey that occurred between the 2000s and 2010s, when, in addition to running a webpage, businesses desired to execute a multichannel strategy based on personalization and analytics.
“The industry today needs a platform that integrates components like content management, personalization, A/B testing, analytics, and other tasks,” Conn said, adding that being able to track and understand who’s engaging with your brand and how they’re doing it [is important].”
The panel also discussed the definitions of MACH and composability. (MACH refers to the more technical elements of the architecture; composability, the business drivers.)
In conclusion, Conn likened the evolution of the digital experience composition platform (DXCP) to a model that balances workflows among marketers, merchandisers, designers, developers, architects, etc., encompassing business teams and tech teams, all orchestrated along a composable framework.
Watch the session below:
Guarnaccia also led a panel titled Steps to Adopting and Composing MACH Architectures along with Remekie of Conscia.ai; Shkrabova of Builder.io; Ronak Shah, director of architecture, e-commerce, and omnichannel at AWS; and Eberhardt Weber, CEO of Emporix. Casper Rasmussen, president of the MACH Alliance and group SVP of technology at Valtech, moderated.
Guarnaccia described how platforms like Uniform can support a business transition to a MACH architecture from a legacy, web-centric ecosystem, offering two important tips:
- Be smart about how you compose the architecture. “We’ve heard many times that companies can get themselves into trouble when they start gluing stuff,” he said. “Those beautiful Lego blocks get glued together with superglue, and all of a sudden it’s not so composable anymore.”
- Do not always start with a CMS. Companies can layer that in later and rapidly prototype, iterate, and try different content solutions before settling on one.
On top of that, Guarnaccia urged companies that are considering to adopt MACH technology start with identifying their pain points and determining where they can improve faster. “It’s really an optimization game, and a lot of what MACH lets you do is optimize very precisely,” he asserted. “Where are my big bangs for the least amount of effort and risk? You prioritize those things, and that builds your roadmap.”
Watch the session below:
Enhanced workflows due to Uniform
Uniform DXC Platform (DXCP) brings together headless and composable technologies, alleviating work for business professionals like marketers and technology experts like developers. The platform impressively improves how teams work together, innovate, and create.
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