Why MACH® technology is good for business and good for employer branding

How MACH® attracts tech talent and more customers

Profile photo of Piotr Bukala, Principal Solutions Consultant at commercetools
Piotr Bukala
Principal Solutions Consultant, commercetools
Published 03 October 2023
Estimated reading time minutes

Modern technology not only drives business growth, it enables you to attract and retain top tech talent. Explore all the ways MACH® technologies enable developers to enjoy what they do more while helping you exceed customer expectations.

Why MACH® technology is good for business and good for employer branding

Ever since “The Big Quit,” employee retention has been a top priority for businesses. However, long before COVID-19 made everyone rethink what was important to them, technology talent was notoriously hard to attract and retain. In fact, according to a 2022 study, at 13.2%, the tech industry has the highest turnover rate globally. For commerce-driven businesses that rely on technology to generate revenue, this creates a huge problem. With that same study showing that 83% of tech workers quit due to dissatisfaction with their job role while the top reasons they stay include company mission, team and culture, it’s worth considering what you can do to recruit more tech talent and what will keep them there. One plausible answer is to give them technology that’s exciting to work with. In other words, give them MACH®.

For the most part, tech people choose it as a career because they are naturally curious, like to solve problems and find the ever-changing world of technology fascinating and challenging. So, why on Earth would one choose a job where they have to work on old, slow software or spend their time maintaining and upgrading antiquated, monolithic systems?

Imagine telling a marketer they just have to do legacy ads in the Yellow Pages…that’s it. They’d probably move on. The same goes for developers…they don’t want to work with legacy solutions. They want modern stacks.
Chris Bach

Co-founder, Chief Strategy and Creative Officer, Netlify; MACH Alliance board member

The modern school of thought shared by technology experts today is that the future of commerce is composable, which is a modular approach that incorporates three key traits  — component-based, cloud-native and tech-agnostic to deliver flexibility, scalability and performance. It calls for combining microservices, APIs, cloud-native and headless technologies to give businesses the freedom to continuously innovate, thus meeting the demands of their customers as well as evolving business needs and market shifts.

Here, a list of the top four reasons why MACH makes sense for businesses today:

1. Microservices deliver flexibility + freedom

As a business leader, you want to be able to deliver outstanding shopping experiences, and chances are you turn to your tech team to make them possible. Unfortunately, with old systems, which were not designed for multiple channels, touchpoints and experiences, building functionality to meet your vision can be difficult, expensive and, often, risky to ongoing operations. As a result, developers say, “No” more than they say, “Yes.”

With microservices, you flip the equation. Instead of a rigid, tightly connected system, you establish a modular environment based on independent components, assembled using microservices. Developers build and deploy these components individually, so they can add and remove them without risking the operation of others. 

Migrating to a microservices approach involves restructuring your teams; instead of large horizontal teams that focus on a specific of technology expertise, such as database, infrastructure, frontend, backend, etc., you set up small, vertical teams with cross-functional experts who work together to build and manage a specific commerce functionality, such as a shopping cart.

Your developers would rather write code than read code.
Andrea Stubbe

Vice President of Product, commercetools

This approach not only benefits the business by enabling innovation but also appeals to developers as they get to create functionality instead of just keeping things running. They also find the vertical team setup much more motivating and rewarding as it provides more autonomy and, at the same time, enables them to directly see how their contributions are impacting the success of an application.

2. APIs enable agility & speed

MACH architecture employs an API-first approach to enable microservices to communicate with each other. This creates a level of agility that wasn’t possible with traditional systems. With well-defined APIs assigned to facilitate communication between two microservices, developers can work on different components in tandem with each other. Basically, there’s no chance of lines getting crossed, plus this reduces bottlenecks and speeds up the development process across the board.

Additionally, using APIs, developers can quickly and easily make changes to microservices, enabling them to test ideas, gather feedback and iterate rapidly. This iterative process keeps developers more engaged and invested, thus less likely to look elsewhere for a more exciting job.

We were ahead of the curve in using APIs and headless. commercetools has really helped our development team because they can see how we built our APIs, and can then model their own custom APIs off of what commercetools does.
Dave Pattison

CIO and Vice President of Information Technology, Mission Linen Supply

Whereas building an API used to be considered a side project, with the API and application considered two separate channels, MACH has established that a well-built API can be a framework to deliver stronger, more powerful applications. This is where the concept of API-first was born, ultimately making developers a more critical part of the process.

3. Cloud-native drives confidence & creativity

Hosting all your applications and services in the cloud, not just on the cloud, is a key element of the MACH architecture philosophy, and the business benefits of migrating to a cloud-native solution are indisputable. With instant access to every aspect of your commerce system to limitless scalability, enhanced resiliency and cost savings, a business can shift its focus to innovation and growth. 

What you might not realize, is that the benefits it delivers to your technology team are just as relevant. First, it eliminates an incredible amount of pressure. With servers, developers have to deal with constant capacity concerns. They are the ones working overtime to prepare for big sales and holiday events, and the ones that are on-call 24/7 to monitor these occasions. Second, it removes the need to spend time on tedious, repetitive maintenance and upgrade tasks. Without the responsibility of keeping servers up and running and up-to-date, your developers can focus on more meaningful and revenue-generating projects. 

We don’t have to worry about maintenance, upgrades, compatibility. We’re given APIs and SLAs and we just focus on what’s important to us…our secret sauce, if you will, without having to worry about servers and this and that and everything else.
Jozef Stawarz

Head of Engineering Vision Care International, Digital Health

The seamless integration with cloud services simply makes it easier for developers to do their job. Instead of having to worry about infrastructure, availability and uptime, they get to do what they like to do, come up with ideas, experiment with technology and drive innovation.

4. Headless removes risk, inspiring innovation

As much as tech experts love solving problems, they don’t like creating new headaches for themselves. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to make an improvement or a change and discovering it caused a glitch or bug elsewhere in the system. This is just the way par for the course with traditional, tightly coupled legacy technology systems.

By separating backend commerce operations from the frontend user experience,  headless technology has effectively solved this problem for developers. It means they can add new features and functionality to your system and make changes to applications in the background without shutting operations down — or even worrying about it impacting your commerce experience in any way.

As a result, you can go to your tech team and ask them to add capabilities and functionalities, yet not have to wait weeks for confirmation — yes, it's actually possible! You can have a big idea in the morning and have it implemented in the afternoon. In short, you can innovate on the fly.

Headless is not just running the eCommerce website, it’s also about digital experiences. There’s potential to expand into voice, IoT, apps...there is so much technology coming in the next 2 to 5 years that this enables. That’s an important point.
Michael Ewald Hansen

eCommerce Director, Lakrids by Bülow

Headless is really at the core of MACH architecture, allowing businesses to fully leverage all the benefits of microservices, APIs and cloud-native technologies. Without the risk of breaking something, developers are free to explore new tools, frameworks or approaches that can benefit your business. This creates a culture of optimism and positivity, which ultimately enhances job satisfaction.

MACH: Synonymous with modern commerce

Of course, MACH makes sense right now for businesses for many more reasons than those presented above. In addition to helping you attract and retain employees, it also makes it easier to find employees, which is huge when you consider the current tech talent shortage. Because MACH is tech-agnostic, you don’t have to restrict your hiring to candidates who have experience programming in a specific language or working with a particular vendor. Nor does it require a steep learning curve. All of these technologies are open and easy to adopt, and there’s a plethora of training and courses available online thanks to cloud providers (AWS, GCP, Azure).

Since entering the lexicon of "technology speak" back in 2019, MACH has inspired the saying, “Build fast, fail fast.” This is quite simply the power MACH gives to your tech talent. Basically, instead of handing them a fragile glass box and saying, “Break only in an emergency,” you are giving them a limitless number of sturdy LEGO® bricks and saying, “Go ahead, have some fun.”

To get a deep dive perspective on the power MACH technologies are delivering to commerce-driven organizations, download, “Making the Switch to MACH: Why microservices, APIs, cloud and headless are disrupting commerce platforms” a white paper produced by commercetools in partnership with Google Cloud.

Profile photo of Piotr Bukala, Principal Solutions Consultant at commercetools
Piotr Bukala
Principal Solutions Consultant, commercetools

With a diverse background that encompasses technical acumen, international exposure and a commitment to staying at the forefront of the industry, Piotr is a go-to expert in the world of eCommerce and digital transformation. At commercetools, he focuses on helping prospects understand how composable commerce and MACH technologies can future-proof business success.

Related Blog Posts