***Note that the following content has been adapted from Sana Remekie’s LinkedIn Post***
Composable, Headless, MACH, oh my!
I have had a few conversations this week about Composable/Headless/MACH architecture and how organizations are aligning to this trend.
If you’re building a ‘composable’ digital tech stack with best of breed applications like a CMS, Commerce Engine, Search and CDP, you need orchestration, more specifically Experience Orchestration.
However, everyone seems to have a slightly different definition of what that is. I’m going to take a stab at describing some of the use cases that orchestration platforms should address, and more importantly, describe what it is not. This space is new, so I won’t take offence to anyone disagreeing with me – feel free to share your thoughts.
Orchestrating experiences involves connecting the dots between multiple backend systems to create a unified and personalized experience across all channels. Here are the use cases that ‘orchestration’ platforms should address:
1. Personalize content sitting in a CMS/Commerce/Search platform by using real-time intelligence from another system. For instance, content residing in Contentful and customer profile in Segment
2. Connect to one or more back-end systems and expose the full functionality provided by their APIs to consuming applications and front-ends
3. Provide a centralized view of all connections to backend systems including performance statistics, availability, etc.
4. Unify, enrich and optimize content from one or more legacy systems for front-end consumption
5. Reshape the API response from backend systems to fit the needs of the front-end (only if needed).
6. Act as an Experience Gateway by providing a unified Experience API to multiple back-end systems so that the front-end does not have to concern itself with connecting to multiple APIs
7. Create a single view of the customer by tracking and aggregating real-time interaction data from omnichannel touchpoints
Decomposing the front-end (built using a very specific technology such as Next.js, Vue.js, React.js or another frontend framework) into multiple visual components that each connect to a single backend. The front-end must be decoupled from the back-end in a composable architecture. Orchestration must be headless or it defeats the purpose of enablement a headless/ decoupled architecture.
In a Composable stack, there is absolutely a very well-defined place for a ‘Visual Layer’. For instance, our partner Builder.io very clearly positions itself as the Visual Layer for headless backends, but let’s not confuse that with orchestration