Manhattan Associates plants a flag on the MACH lawn

I’m at the Manhattan Associates EMEA Exchange conference this week , in still warm and sunny (albeit off-season) Cannes, France.

First half day is “user group” day; I attended the Order Management System (Manhattan Active Omni) user group.

Significant discussion on Manhattan’s “Digital Self Service”, which is an out of the box, configurable, customer facing post order experience (and also a “pay by link” experience, to finalise a customer contact centre interaction pre-order, or post order for an exchange which increases order value/return experience if a fee is payable up front).

Manhattan Associates is not a member of the MACH alliance. But Manhattan Active Omni is MACH like in spirit; with Digital Self Service, Manhattan is branding this as MACHS (S for seamless, in terms of a out of the box user experience). The option is to either deliver a customer self service experience in your own web platform using published APIs (which does require some significant exception handling, to address race conditions around order status change) or let Manhattan provide a UI with limited configurability to “brand” the UI (mix and match is possible–e.g. some pre/post order implemented using API with some in out of the box UI).

Ongoing functional improvements in next 3-6 months as part of a steady delivery of improvements.

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Most enterprise solutions will want to be part of the MACH ecosystem. The challenge will be how they make the grade as MACH is quite descriptive on membership criteria.

Delivering the principles is ultimately the more important part for the customer…


I’m in the photo, and the sweat top is actually off the shelf from my company (New Look), not made special, just fortuitous…

Could be an interesting topic for the MACHites in the room @KellyGoetsch @aaronsheehan

What do you think? Not touching this topic with a ten foot pole, or … Manhattan is MACH in most than just spirit.

From my current experience, I would call the Manhattan Active series of products “partial MACH”. Pretty close for most practical considerations, and would “play nicely” with other MACH solutions and within MACH principles as a whole.

The “Active” part is the tech platform (SaaS running in Google cloud), which will be used to host most of their products in the future. OMS, POS, SIM, CRM, and their “top line” WMS are there, other products (TMS, retail store Allocations, mid-market WMS-SCALE) are works in progress.

Specifically for “Omni” product line (OMS, POS, CRM, SIM/SOF), most can be decoupled and run standalone (composable), but some have pre-reqs, e.g. the “order brokering/optimisation” capability can’t run without “inventory service”, as the platform has limited ability to “call out” to external services in real time (without a significant custom extension, and a very long discussions about impact to SLA). A contrary example is it is possible to run the store handheld applications (inventory management, order fulfilment including pickup/returns) standalone from core OMS, and POS, CRM can also be standalone.

Putting it more technically, the Active platform does not natively support a “web hook” callout capability for generalist use, Active platform will not originate an API call. The plugins for payments (Cybersource, Adyen) will do API calls to the peer endpoint (they have to!), but Manhattan want to operate the code which makes outbound calls and underwrite the SLA to protect the overall SLA of the platform.

Headless for any of their solutions? Sure, the RestFUL APIs are there to do all the operations that their own UI’s do (except certain config/admin tasks). I would say a reasonable score on the Microservices nature of the APIs as well, which are all dynamically scalable.

Multitenant in the cloud? No, and Yes. Every customer gets their own private instance of Active platform in Google cloud. Additional instances can be spun up in a few days, but there is a minimum “keep” time, and a fixed price list (cost per month). The app licenses have business metrics, not CPU/storage metrics.

But, the apps in the platform are effectively multitenant, so you can carve up an instance for your own needs (deploy/test lifecycle, or different lines of business, or different WMS facilities)

Been a while since I looked at Manhattan in any depth, so nothing I say should be considered an opinion about their current architecture but everyone and their dog is claiming to be built on “MACH” principles now. A couple of notes on that from my vantage:

  • The MACH Alliance membership criteria is more than just a technical purity test. If (for instance) SAP moved all of their products to microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless but they all had to be licensed together or there were technical dependencies on proprietary SAP services such that you couldn’t effectively replace one part of the stack with a 3P vendor…that’s not going to cut it. My hot take is that the value proposition of composability is not in the engineering itself (SOA has been around a while y’all), but in the business agility that it enables.

  • MACH-principles and composability aren’t especially new. Every piece of tech now including good old Magento has REST & GQL APIs, can be deployed into the cloud via container/PaaS, and as a result, can be bent into supporting a headless implementation. The amount of folding, spindling, and mutilating (a reference the kids today won’t get!) required to get to that point is what’s at question. Right now the market is placing a premium on software that integrates well other software because software has eaten the world and SaaS has commoditized business operations that were previously offline or closed off in on-premise DBs so it’s in everyone’s interest to “MACH-ify” their marketing. If Manhattan can deliver interoperabilty at that level in a sustainable way, regardless of the technical purity or the acronym chosen- that’s a win for their customers and the larger ecosystem.

tl;dr - I see the MACH Alliance as vetting for scalable interoperability between cloud products, and that this is a Good Thing.


Manhattan is a solid company with Enterprise level technology. One of the better performing companies in the last 20 years. Over the past 8 years their entire stack has been rewritten for the cloud, APIs etc. Headless is less of an interesting term on the supply chain space overall. So call it MAC.

But what’s an OMS if not a headless infrastructure to distribute orders? Manhattan customers give their tech solid marks.