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Integration remains key in 2022 and businesses ought to know

  • Written by Marc Caltabiano, MuleSoft Vice President - Australia and New Zealand

Businesses are facing a growing number of demands and expectations in 2022.  Connecting applications in a seamless and scalable way will impede progress on the path to successful digital transformation.

Over the past few years, businesses have adapted to a more volatile market, with unpredictability and unforeseen changes becoming the norm rather than the exception. They’ve had to reimagine their customer, employee, partner, and product experiences using data and digital technologies. The workplace has shifted from completely remote to hybrid and back again. Customers demand a flexible omnichannel experience, with retailers embracing e-commerce faster than ever before. As we head into the new year, CIOs are pivoting their focus towards API-led connectivity to manage the increasing digital complexity needed to achieve business success.

Integration is challenging but vital

Businesses have historically struggled with the speed of transformation delivery and data integration. Over the past 12 months, 52% of projects weren’t delivered on time according to MuleSoft’s 2021 Connectivity Benchmark Report. Over half (55%) of organizations say it is difficult to integrate user experiences and an alarming 88% also report that integration challenges are hindering organisation’s digital transformation projects.

The majority of organisations pull the bulk of their data from silos, isolated sources in their company that make it difficult to integrate end-user experiences across all channels, a critical capacity that only 30% of organisations currently have. Reliance on legacy systems and point-to-point integration can further compromise a company’s ability to be technically agile in a crisis or change existing IT infrastructure.

Digital transformation projects are also costly. On average, 85% of IT spend funnels into non-cloud technology and other legacy systems; the average enterprise spends $3.6 million annually on IT labour for custom integration projects. However, if done correctly, integration is the key to unlocking a bevy of operational benefits, including paving the way for automating other business functions.

APIs unlock integration

CIOs are increasingly turning to modern integration and API-led connectivity strategies, leveraging reusable APIs to link data, applications and systems, as well as driving integrated end-to-end user experiences. This approach delivers the speed, scalability and flexibility needed to keep up with accelerated market movements while providing the best possible employee experience.

Research shows that 96% of global organisations currently use public or private APIs – up from 80% last year. That's a significant figure when you consider that the average company today uses over 900 applications, most of which aren't integrated. While APIs reduce the complexity of digital transformation, the introduction of different cloud platforms and vendors can actually make the process more difficult without implementing the right strategy. 

As organisations continue their digital transformation journeys in 2022, the critical question remains: what does successful integration look like? Fundamentally, those organisations that are not solving issues or planning for successful transformations risk falling behind and should begin to leverage integration to solve data silo problems.

What does successful integration look like?

Organisations must establish a digital strategy to align stakeholders, define business outcomes and validate the ecosystem and business models. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to every business, but one piece of advice that extends to every digital transformation project is that you must understand and define the business value of this journey before you start. Organisations must continue to progress by aligning culture, realigning themselves around business capabilities and creating a view of their technology stack. Organisations can then successfully evaluate, build and deploy the supporting technology for their organisation.

Whilst integration may seem like an intimidating process at first, the advantages it offers can’t be ignored. As businesses’ wants and needs continue to evolve, the systems they onboard will grow in complexity, meaning integration will be necessary as long as organisations strive to improve their operations. Hence the use of APIs that will allow organisations to easily control their integration systems to ensure longevity and success with their customers.

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