Architectural principles define the guidelines and general rules for the use and deployment of IT resources across the business. They affect the process, development and maintenance of the enterprise and form the basis for making future IT decisions.
An organization using IT systems based on a variety of data structures, coding languages, supporting arrangements and integration requirements might end up with a complex network of technologies. Each individual application may be fit for purpose, but it would make the architecture difficult to adapt and integrate and complicates the process of understanding the changes on business performance.
Modular infrastructure, on the other hand, is able to support an agile strategy that is responsive to market changes and adapts to changing circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic which saw a huge shift to digital-native offerings. With a composable architecture, companies can work with interoperable components that seamlessly interact together thanks to their API-centric nature. Businesses should consider whether their all-in-one legacy system provides all of the required features without hindering business growth.
Modern architectural principles, such as MACH, utilize the benefits of the cloud through an SaaS model which allows organizations to benefit from the scalability and reliability of cloud-native architecture. Additional principles such as the headless approach, API-centric design and the combination of independent microservices provide businesses with the agility to build an infrastructure that can change in the future.
How can you integrate these architectural principles into the business?
In order to truly embrace a more modern approach to architectural principles, organizational transformation needs to be part of that journey. Businesses need to change their thinking and focus on strategic functionality. Here’s some advice on how to make the transition and ensure it’s the right decision for the business.
1. Identify the organizational needs
Generally, a business needs three common drivers: speed, higher quality outcomes and better processes. Modern architectural principles, such as MACH, could be the solution to better business agility and futureproofing your strategy, but in order to determine whether it’s the right move, organizations need to assess whether their current legacy system is a hindrance. Try answering these questions:
- Where does it hurt?
- Where can it benefit?
- What can we take from the monolith?
- Can we take parts out?
2. Define a target architecture
Businesses using old legacy architecture will want to increase speed and flexibility, while a digitally-native company will be seeking to improve the process quality or boost capabilities. In both cases, embracing MACH architecture might be the right solution. Therefore, it’s important that ambitions and architecture should reflect each other to maximize investment.
3. Seek engagement and commitment
Businesses need to be engaged and committed when it comes to transforming their architecture, because it calls for as much organizational change as it does technical architectural change. Such a shift requires a committed, tech-savvy and business-oriented team who can make decisions at a senior level.
4. Evaluate the existing platform
For technical implementation, organizations need to evaluate its existing architecture. See if the existing architecture can break into smaller parts, and whether those parts mirror the organizational domains. It’s also important to see if the original architecture is decoupled or tightly connected.
Implementation becomes complex with more integration points, and it usually takes longer to untangle the dependencies of an older solution. Thus, organizations should have a clear understanding of their existing architecture.
5. Build quick prototypes and take small steps
To capture insights early and make better decisions moving forward, build prototypes and take small, iterative steps. The team you use to do this should include a range of competencies. If they start testing early, they can then become superusers from the start.
What architectural principles should you consider?
Companies need to evolve their business models to composable architectural principles as their customers are relying on both online and offline multichannel touchpoints. MACH architecture enables organizations to build an infrastructure that can change in the future and grow as the businesses strategy and priorities change to meet customer expectations. Is MACH the right choice for you?
MACH (microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless) architecture combines four principles to deliver a best-of-breed solution for organizations that have outgrown their monolithic legacy systems:
- Microservices provide modularity that allows breaking down of an application in independent business capabilities.
- API-first approach accelerates time-to-market with new business models and better integration, improving the speed at which developers can deploy new applications.
- Cloud-native provides elastic scalability, robust security and high availability, helping you to avoid the need of whole suite deployment and making easy use of on-demand capabilities.
- Headless approach which enables continuous delivery of customer interactions across multiple touchpoint, enabling new business models to drive sales and revenue growth.
Your business can embrace agility, scale to meet demand and pivot responsively in changing markets if it’s underpinned by the right modern architectural principles. This type of transformation could really change how organizations grow, and will pave the way for a truly future proof business strategy.