(image credit/Pixabay/Gerd Altmann)MuleSoft has announced the findings of the 2020 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the state of IT and digital transformation. The survey revealed 59% of organisations were unable to deliver on all projects last year, creating a backlog for 2020. In the UK, the backlog is even greater, with 76% of organisations unable to deliver all their projects.

Innovating with fewer resources

• IT departments are having to innovate faster but with fewer resources. Half of respondents say their IT budgets will increase by less than 10% this year. Despite their project workloads skyrocketing by 40% (up from 33% last year).
• IT faces the constant balancing act of keeping the lights on and innovating. Nearly 70% of IT’s time is spent running the business, instead of focusing on innovation and development.
• Organisations struggle to maintain the pace of our digital world. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of ITDMs find it difficult to introduce new technologies because of their IT infrastructures.

(Image credit/LinkedIn/Ian Fairclough)
Ian Fairclough, Vice-President of Services, EMEA at MuleSoft

According to Ian Fairclough, Vice-President of Services, EMEA at MuleSoft, “Businesses are under increasing pressure to digitally transform. Failure to do so risks negatively impacting revenues. However, traditional IT operating models are broken, forcing organisations to find new ways of accelerating project delivery and reusing integrations.

“For organisations with hundreds of different applications, integration remains a significant challenge. Businesses wanting to deliver the connected experiences customers strive for this. The report highlights that while ITDMs recognise the value of APIs, many organisations have yet to fully realise their potential.

Failing to capture the full value of APIs

Businesses are failing to capture the full value of APIs without a company-wide strategy. The vast majority of organisations understand the power and potential of APIs – 80% currently use public or private APIs. However, very few have developed a strategic approach to enabling API usage across the business.

  • Company-wide API strategies are necessary to drive true value and reuse. Only 12% of organisations (9% in the UK) are mandated by leadership to abide by a company-wide API integration strategy. Fifty-four percent implement APIs on a project-by-project basis or use a strategy that’s siloed to certain parts of the business.
  • Businesses don’t have an easy way to share APIs. Forty-two percent of internal software assets and components (e.g. code, APIs and best practice templates) are available for developers to reuse. This figure falls to just over a third (34%) in the UK. Most organisations (80%) also don’t have an effective way to share APIs or integrations. In the UK this figure rises to 96%.
  • Citizen integrators lack critical internal resources. Seventy percent of ITDMs say they have a good strategy in place to enable non-technical business users to easily integrate apps and data sources with APIs. Despite this level of confidence, 67% don’t have a team that’s dedicated to driving the sharing and reuse of APIs. In the UK only half of organisations have a dedicated team.
  • New business users are emerging, amplifying the need for reuse. Outside of IT, the top business roles with integration needs include business analysts (40%), data scientists (38%), customer support (38%).

Creating API strategies

API reuse is directly linked to speed of innovation, operational efficiency and revenue.
By establishing API strategies that promote self-service and reuse, businesses put themselves in a better position to innovate at speed. Other efficiencies expected include increased productivity and the opening up of new revenue streams. However, 42% of ITDMs (30% in the UK) are leveraging APIs to increase the efficiency of their application development processes.

  • Most organisations are making integration harder on themselves by not designing APIs for reuse. Among organisations that leverage APIs, 52% use them as part of the development process for new projects. Fifty-two percent use them to build integrations. However, 46% say their APIs are reusable, highlighting outsize opportunity for IT to be more effective in the delivery process.
  • Organisations aren’t activating API ecosystems. Only 26% of organisations are driving innovation with partner and external developer ecosystems by exposing APIs to third parties.
  • When designed with intent, APIs drive business outcomes. Organisations using APIs benefit from operational improvements such as increased productivity (54%). Increased innovation (47%) and greater cross-team agility for self-serve IT (46%) were also cited.
  • APIs are the new revenue stream. On average, nearly a third (31%) of businesses’ revenue is being generated by APIs or by API-related implementations.

Digital transformation: report’s approach

For the fifth-annual Connectivity Benchmark Report, MuleSoft, in partnership with Vanson Bourne, surveyed 800 IT leaders from global enterprises. The goal was to uncover how much value businesses actually gain from digital transformation. The research sought to understand IT leaders’ most successful strategies for achieving digital transformation goals. The online survey was conducted between October and November 2019 across the US, the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business?

Digital transformation remains top of mind for IT leaders as they struggle to meet customer expectations. Data silos and increasing pressures on IT are among the top challenges slowing transformation initiatives. In addition, integration challenges continue to slow down digital transformation initiatives, as many organisations don’t have company-wide API strategy. CIOs are best placed to lead their organisation’s digital transformation. IT leaders across all industries should be focused on creating a new operating model that supports delivery, increases organisational agility and delivers innovation at scale. With an API-led approach, CIOs can change the clock speed of their business and emerge as the steward of a composable enterprise to democratise access to existing assets and new capabilities.


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