Mulesoft Research (credit image/Pixabay/Gerd Altmann)A new study from Mulesoft and Vanson Bourne reveals business demand for automation has surged over the last few years. It now spans multiple departments in a bid to accelerate efficiency and productivity due to macroeconomic uncertainty. However, existing technology architectures are slowing progress. 80% of organisations are concerned supporting automation is likely to compound technical debt. Automation done right can fuel efficient growth. By tapping into the combination of integration and API management, companies are successfully scaling automation and reaping the benefits.

With macroeconomic uncertainty — across markets, hiring, costs, and more — now firmly top of mind. Increasingly, CEOs and leaders across the business are focused on efficient growth, cost savings, and increased productivity. As a result, companies are turning to automation more than ever to drive value across all parts of the business. This ranges from technical to non-technical departments like sales, customer service, marketing and commerce.

To understand how IT is approaching these demands and some of the challenges they face, Salesforce commissioned a global survey of 600 CIOs and IT decision-makers.

Automation, yes (but not at any cost)

91% of respondents report that demand for automation from business teams has increased over the last two years. Looking in more detail, the highest demand for automation came from four departments:

  • Research and development (39%)
  • Administrative/operations (38%)
  • Customer service (33%)
  • Marketing (26%)

The survey also reveals that existing technology stacks are impacting the speed at which IT teams are able to meet automation demands from the business.
Nearly all (96%) respondents said that modifying and rebuilding automations is a challenge as systems and business requirements change. 4 in 5 respondents said restructuring existing application and data landscapes to support automation would compound their organisation’s technical debt.

(credit image/LinkedIn/Matt McLarty)
Matt McLarty, Global Field CTO & VP of the Digital Transformation Office, MuleSoft.

Organisations across every industry want to automate processes and customer experiences as quickly as possible. However, if they try to go fast with the wrong tools and techniques, they’ll actually impede true innovation,” said Matt McLarty, Global Field CTO & VP of the Digital Transformation Office, MuleSoft. “It’s vital that organisations become more adaptable to technological change. This enables them to build automations and connect data and applications in a holistic manner. Without taking a more composable approach, organisations risk compounding rather than reducing their technical debt.

Automation done right fuels efficient growth

As organisations attempt to unlock the full potential of automation to not only fuel growth but create efficient growth in a quicker and less disruptive way. Nearly half (44%) are now using integration and API management capabilities to fully support their business process automation efforts. A further 53% stated they were using integration and API management capabilities to “some extent.” This indicates that there is an opportunity to more efficiently automate workflows at scale and deliver connected customer experiences faster.

This comes as more organisations seek to orchestrate their use of multiple technologies, tools, and platforms to automate business and IT processes in a hyperautomation strategy.
Are organisations using integration and API management capabilities to support their efforts to automate business process?

The survey reveals that 80% of organisations will have hyperautomation on their technology roadmap within the next 24 months. This means that they need the right tools and capabilities to build and modify automations.

Organisations should never just think that once a process is automated the job is done,” said McLarty. “If we’ve learned anything through this volatile period, is that we need a new mentality when it comes to business.” With a new, more composable mentality, McLarty says that any organisation can thrive.

The organisations that thrive in the digital economy are the ones that adapt to changes the fastest,” continued McLarty. “For established companies, that means focusing on three things. Growth with efficiency and sustainability, agility with safety at scale, and continuous innovation.

Research methodology

Salesforce, in partnership with Vanson Bourne, surveyed 600 IT leaders from global enterprises. The online survey was conducted in February 2022 across the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia. Only suitable candidates participated in the survey and were verified by using a rigorous, multi-level screening process. All respondents work at an enterprise organisation in the public or private sector with at least 1,000 employees and hold a managerial position or above in an IT department.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business.

Many organisations are just scratching the surface when it comes to automating their business. They may test automation in particularly admin-heavy departments. However, the attitude appears to be more sporadic and piecemeal. Mulesoft suggests the real opportunity for change will come as automation scales across the entire company. This can be done by re-using processes and deploying multiple, integrated technology capabilities. This may include low-code platforms, machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA). By taking a more unified approach to integration, API management, and automation, companies should have a more resilient, secure, and flexible foundation to automate business processes in the future. Therefore not surprised by the increased interest in automation by businesses. Many enterprises will need to embrace it, to ensure their survival in the future.

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