MuleSoft has reported that 70% of organisations struggle to provide completely connected user experiences across all channels. MuleSoft’s 2022 Connectivity Benchmark Report suggests this comes at a time when 72% of organisations’ customer interactions are now digital. Yet, as digitalisation accelerates, organisations could lose on average $7 million revenue if they fail to complete digital transformation initiatives.
“In this all-digital world, customers and employees expect truly connected experiences,” said Brent Hayward, CEO, MuleSoft.
“However, siloed applications and data continue to hinder customer experience and digital transformation. It is now costing businesses millions of dollars per year. Companies need to be able to easily integrate a growing number of apps and data sources to automate their business. In addition to create seamless digital experiences, and drive growth.”
Based on a global survey of 1,050 CIOs and IT decision-makers, the 2022 Connectivity Benchmark Report highlights the challenges and opportunities for organisations as they look to unlock their data to create and automate seamless experiences:
Customers expect seamless user experiences
Applications lie at the centre of digital transformation and efforts to enhance the user experience. On average, organisations are using 976 individual applications (compared to 843 a year ago). 28% of these applications are integrated on average, indicating there is still an enormous opportunity to improve connected user experiences. MuleSoft’s report indicates that:
- Creating connected user experiences has become increasingly difficult: 55% of organisations said they find it difficult to integrate user experiences. This is up from 48% a year ago, showing an increasing complexity for companies to meet their customers’ digital needs.
- Overcoming security and governance challenges is a hurdle: Security and governance (54%) were cited as the biggest challenge to integrating user experiences. Ahead of outdated IT infrastructure (46%) and an inability to keep up with ever-changing processes, tools, and systems (42%).
- Integrating user experience delivers business benefits: Of the organisations that have integrated user experiences, more than half said it had enhanced visibility into operations (54%). In addition to increased customer engagement (54%). Other benefits realised included innovation (50%), improved ROI (48%), and increased automation adoption (45%).
Integration challenges hinder digital experiences
Data silos remain a significant barrier to creating integrated user experiences, with the number of organisations citing silos as a challenge (90%) remaining unchanged from a year ago. The report shows:
- Integration headaches: The biggest challenges to digital transformation are integrating siloed apps and data (38%) and risk management and compliance (37%). 88% of respondents said integration challenges continue to slow digital transformation initiatives.
- Too much is being spent on custom integration: In their efforts to integrate apps and data from across the enterprise, organisations appear to be focusing more resources in the wrong areas, such as custom integration. As a result, they are increasing their technical debt. On average, organisations spent $3.65 million on custom integration labor in the last 12 months, a 4% increase from last year ($3.5 million).
- IT budgets are up, but so is demand: 85% of organisations said IT budgets have increased year-on-year (compared to 77% last year). At the same time, the number of projects IT is asked to deliver increased by 40% on average, a big jump from 30% a year ago. Despite the extra budget, IT is finding it difficult to meet the demands of the business. On average, more than half (52%) of projects weren’t delivered on time over the past 12 months.
Organisations turn to APIs to drive digital transformation and revenue
Despite these integration challenges, the vast majority (98%) of organisations use APIs. By using APIs to connect data and applications, organisations can digitally transform in a more sustainable manner and accelerate business success. The report indicates:
- A top-down integration and API strategy: Most (90%) organisations now have a clear integration and API strategy. 26% said leaders demand that all projects abide by a company-wide API integration strategy, from 15% a year ago.
- Reuse is on the rise: Organisations are increasingly creating and using reusable IT assets and APIs to create new experiences and accelerate projects, rather than building from scratch each time. 46% of organisations’ internal software assets and components are available for developers to reuse. It is an increase from 42% a year ago. Nearly half (48%) of organisations said IT is actively reusing these components, versus 41% in the 2021 report.
- Empowerment of business users: Enabling non-technical users to harness low-code tools to drive automation and digital transformation projects can take pressure off IT teams. 55% of organisations now have a ‘very mature’ or ‘mature’ strategy to empower users to integrate apps and data sources powered by APIs (compared to 36% last year).
- APIs drive revenue: 40% of organisations said they have experienced revenue growth as a direct result of leveraging APIs. (This compared to 28% a year ago).
According to Kurt Anderson, managing director and API transformation leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP, “Digital agility is essential to successful transformation. It allows organisations to drive innovation at scale, deliver new initiatives faster, and create the experiences that customers want.
“A modern strategy that combines integration, API management, and automation is central to achieving digital agility. It enables organisations to connect and integrate data, applications, and devices to create new digital capabilities and drive transformation projects.”
Enterprise Times: What this means for business
To grow in today’s competitive environment, companies need to deliver connected digital experiences — for both customers and employees. They face many challenges in the ever-evolving digital landscape. New innovations are constantly emerging and customer tastes changing. This makes delivering a superior customer experience a major challenge.
Many organisations struggle to keep up due to limitations with their digital architecture and legacy systems. To overcome this agility gap, companies need to adopt a digital ecosystem that allows them to use data effectively and quickly to create powerful customer experiences.
This report provides a useful blueprint for adopting a customer-focused API-led approach. This can enable businesses to thrive in today’s competitive market and beyond. At the core of this approach is the customer experience, which businesses must make centre-stage of their digital infrastructure.