Composable commerce – MACH – is not binary; it is not, for those adopting it, an ‘all or nothing’ doctrine. In fact there are benefits to customers of technology from applying any of its four principles. And, as this report indicates, many organisations choose to adopt only one, two or three of its principles. It’s not something that you have to go “all in” on, in order to benefit from it. But what are those benefits?
If we had to sum up the benefits of composable commerce into a single ‘business benefit’, then this – from the manifesto of the MACH Alliance does it well: it is that composable commerce (MACH) “futureproofs enterprise technology and propels current and future digital experiences”.
But it’s important to acknowledge that this enormous business benefit is the sum of the following technological benefits.

MACH provides ease of development

First, using MACH-compliant technologies mean that each software element of your overall solution can be easily replaced by an alternative that performs the same function (but, say, better, or more quickly, or more accurately, or more cheaply) on what is, effectively, a plug-and-play basis. This degree of modularity enables organisations to construct, maintain, improve, evolve and develop a composable enterprise more easily than using a traditional, monolithic approach.
It's also worth remembering that scalability is unlikely to be a routine reason for replacement: as defined here, each element of a MACH-compliant technology stack must, by definition, be totally scalable.

Avoid upgrades and upgrade costs with MACH

It’s true that most modern software is provided on a SaaS basis. But customers of traditional, on-premises software providers remain required to accept a process of upgrading, according to the schedule of the software provider.
However, such processes involve time during which the customer experience is likely to be sub-optimal, and money in the form of resources to effect the upgrade. It’s also not unusual for customers of on-premises software to have not fully grasped the time, resources or finances associated with such upgrades, resulting in higher-than-expected total cost of ownership for such solutions. Worse still: costs can go even higher if the customer has in any way customised their solution.
The shift to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has largely ended this traditional approach to software upgrades: upgrades to the latest functionality are the responsibility of the vendor and are generally seamless. Nonetheless, they are available to all simultaneously and may, therefore, offer little scope for differentiation.

MACH improves cost control and delivers value for money

Both traditional, on-premises software and monolithic cloud-hosted solutions frequently require significant investment to acquire the necessary software licence, along with annual maintenance and support fees. There may still, also, be volume-based usage fees, especially for cloud-hosted software. This combination has, historically, made for protracted procurement processes, involving as it does both capital and operational expenditure.
The shift to cloud-hosted SaaS services – including MACH-compliant microservices, which must be cloud-native to be MACH-compliant – has triggered the domination of subscription-based licensing models. Yes: there may still be an element of volume-based pricing. But there is no fee associated with infrastructure, set-up or maintenance; instead, this responsibility is borne by each software vendor. Consequently, customers typically pay simply for what they use, for a known fee they understand and have agreed to.
Responsibilities for scalability, reliability, performance and security are also transferred to the software vendor.

MACH enables IT systems to react to business changes

A MACH-compliant, composable commerce architecture enables you to react more quickly to business change of any kind. You’ve found a service that offers a better fit to address a change, or you want to develop or introduce a self-built feature (without changing the rest of the set-up)?. No problem.
In effect, MACH offers organisations a free rein to develop, providing points of differentiation for themselves and ensuring vendors are motivated to continue to innovate. Better still, innovation becomes a baked-in attribute of your overall approach to information technology – simultaneously baking-in an overall business advantage by doing so. After all, those companies that respond most urgently to change are often those that are often, ultimately, the most successful.

MACH offers roadmap independence

Adopting a composable commerce architecture means liberation from the product roadmap of any monolithic solution on which you might, previously, have relied. You’ve found an element of the technology set-up that can be replaced by a different API-based application that does as good as or a better job, or would deliver better value? Swap it in.
Importantly, the consequence of this flexibility is that you can add market value more quickly and/or on your own terms. Independence from large, single-solution vendors frees you up to add points of difference to overall solution and differentiation to your customer experience.

Summary of MACH benefits

One of the common themes in these technological benefits above is flexibility. And, with changes to consumer behaviour and technology coming thick and fast, flexibility has rapidly become a highly prized attribute. It is, perhaps, no wonder that 66% of organisations report adopting two or more principles of composable commerce, and 30% have adopted all four.
For more information of composable commerce (MACH), download and read our report.