Dancing Partners: Transitioning to MACH
The new dance craze: what is MACH?
MACH is a new strategy for technology evolution, procurement and implementation built on four key principles: Microservices, APIs, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless.
Developed in response to decades of under-performance that have arisen from businesses being encouraged to opt for suites of applications from ‘one-size-fits-all’, suites-based vendors, MACH enables enterprises to leverage composable technologies to build continually evolving digital experiences with remarkable speed and scale.
The approach has a compelling business case:
· Microservices can help reduce development lead times by 75%.
· Robust APIs quickly integrate technologies with any new tools (like personalization engines) or new channels such as augmented reality.
· As it is cloud-based, MACH technology is continually updated, eliminating costly upgrade cycles and helping to deliver three times the ROI of an on-premise deployment.
This approach received a huge boost in June 2020 with the creation of the MACH Alliance - a non-profit organisation to introduce a new, open, and best-of-breed enterprise technology ecosystem. Counting 15 members at launch, the MACH Alliance helps enterprise organisations navigate this complex modern technology landscape.
Choosing the right dance partner for MACH
Chasing these benefits by moving to MACH architecture requires specific expertise both for the initial shift as well as the ongoing, business-wide transformation that switching to MACH can incite. While many digital transformation projects can be begun ‘in-house’ and then made more successful with the support of a qualified implementation partner, it is almost essential for businesses that want to pursue a MACH architecture to start with a mindset of collaboration.
The right partner will be based in a heritage of systems integration, but also offer the full services normally found within an agency. This will be demonstrated in not only having the right staff available to get the implementation off the ground but also key value-added services to help design and implement a solid foundation for the future of the business and provide ongoing guidance.
So, with such a prize on offer and a clear need for partners, how can a business make the right decision?
Putting skin in the game
Successful MACH implementations are highly idiosyncratic to the company undertaking them. One-size-fits-all demos of specific individual MACH solutions will not give a full picture of how an organisation-wide implementation will progress. Size matters and simply talking to an agency or watching their pitch will not be the same as working with them at scale and to deadline.
Enterprises should consider a small, paid proof-of-concept project. The monetary investment enforces discipline and makes the pilot a much more accurate reflection of the actual project. It does this by making sure stakeholders are engaged as everyone knows real results (and funds) are at stake.
As a bonus, this investment need not be a loss leader. There is no reason that the enterprise cannot emerge with a useful chunk of code or even a start to a product that can be developed for customer use.
And this pilot need not be arduous. MACH projects can be created and underway in weeks. Take advantage of the speed and agility that cloud affords.
Go beyond just the tech
A successful MACH implementation demands more than just technology. There is a host of additional skills a partner should also have to make the transformation a success - businesses should consider especially the areas of content management, customer experience strategy and data science.
By their very nature, MACH projects are strategic and agile, so they need to fit with the rest of the processes and underpinning technology within a business. This demands an implementation specialist that is aware of these impacts. The partner must be able to support digital transformation through the less technical tasks just as much as issues of software.
Make sure your partner is on the same page
MACH projects often necessitate a lot of change beyond the IT team. It is vital to work with an implementation partner that aligns well with the culture throughout the entire enterprise.
A good place to start is to ensure all partners, including the vendor of the MACH technology that is to be implemented, make the end-user experience a top priority. This needs to be more than mere lip-service – there needs to be clear and specific understanding around the customer experience and how changes to the end-user will be measured.
Elsewhere, cultural alignment should be built on a commitment to pushing boundaries and prioritising innovation (and thus accepting there may be some disruption). This soon moves the partnership away from a focus on the specific features or solutions a potential partner is currently working with and instead assesses if partners have the same vision.
This cannot be understated. MACH technology is ever-evolving and ever-improving. Businesses and implementation specialists that are not comfortable with trying new things or putting innovation at the heart of strategy will never make it in a MACH future. Both parties must be sure they are willing to go on a journey of continuous innovation, not just a one-time dance.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.