Digital Transformation Threatened By Tiring Integration Challenges

Study Reveals Integration Challenges Threaten Digital Transformation, With Organisations Spending on Average £2.5 Million on Custom Integration Labour Costs Globally

Only 31% of U.K. IT teams were able to complete all the projects asked of them last year, and are asked to complete 27% more projects this year

Data silos continue to be a challenge for 89% of U.K. organisations

73% of U.K. organisations recognise the need to empower business users to easily integrate apps and data to deliver connected experiences and drive innovation, faster

SAN FRANCISCO – March 30, 2021MuleSoft, provider of the world’s #1 integration and API platform, today reported that integration challenges continue to be a major roadblock for digital transformation initiatives. MuleSoft’s 2021 Connectivity Benchmark Report found that IT teams globally are spending over a third of their time on integration projects, and custom integrations are costing large enterprises on average £2.5 million* each in annual labour. As digital initiatives accelerate, integration has emerged as a critical factor in determining the success and speed of digital transformation across industries. 

“Organisations across industries have experienced a rapid shift toward interacting with customers and employees through digital channels,” said Brent Hayward, CEO, MuleSoft. “Although most organisations are prioritising digital initiatives, such as launching an e-commerce platform or increasing worker productivity, the research shows that data silos continue to hinder their capabilities to deliver on these key initiatives. Companies that empower their IT and business teams to easily integrate apps and data will be able to unlock the full capacity within their organisation to drive innovation at scale and gain competitive edge.”

Based on the 100 U.K. CIOs and IT decision makers subset of the global survey respondents, the 2021 Connectivity Benchmark Report also highlights new challenges and opportunities for U.K. businesses as they navigate a digital-first world:

Increased demands pressuring businesses to deliver digital faster
The last 12 months have seen a profound shift in the way people work and how organisations operate. Employees and customers alike want seamless digital experiences and expect organisations to deliver on these experiences, faster.

  • New initiatives to enable success from anywhere: This past year, organisations relied on IT to support a rapid shift to remote working and the need for increased productivity and efficiency. Enabling remote working (68%), migrating applications to the cloud (61%), and modernising legacy systems (55%) were cited as the key initiatives that organisations are focusing on for 2021. They were closely followed by using IT to create a safe working environment (45%) and automating business processes (43%).
  • When demand surpasses supply: Demands on IT have increased massively. Organisations asked IT to deliver on average 27% more projects this year. Only 31% of respondents say they were able to deliver all IT projects last year.
  • Go digital or get left behind: Three-quarters (75%) of organisations say a failure to complete digital transformation initiatives will impact revenues over the next year.
  • The cost of “keeping the lights on”: IT is spending two-thirds of their time (66%) on running the business, leaving little time for innovation and development of new projects.  

Integration challenges hold businesses back
Data silos remain a challenge for 89% of organisations (unchanged since last year’s report). And 9 in 10 respondents point to integration challenges as a blocker to delivering on digital transformation. If this trend continues, it risks stalling key business initiatives for many organisations. Integration will continue to be a major area of focus as organisations look to connect and derive more value from their new and existing apps and data.

  • So many applications, so little integration: On average, organisations use 999 individual applications. However, only 29% of these applications are integrated, highlighting huge potential for organisations to drive change and deliver more connected experiences.
  • Connected customer experiences remain a challenge to achieve: Only 13% of organisations integrate end-user experiences across all channels, with almost three-quarters (71%) stating they have found it difficult to do so. However, for those organisations that have successfully integrated end-user experiences, faster delivery of projects to customers (56%), increased customer engagement (55%), and business transformation (54%) have been the major benefits.
  • Business roles have the biggest integration needs: Outside of IT, HR (49%), finance (49%), business analyst (45%) and data science (43%) are the roles with the biggest integration needs.This further highlights how business users and initiatives with a data focus are prime candidates for integration support.

Empowering enterprise-wide innovation
Organisations recognise the strategic importance of integration to help achieve revenue goals and deliver connected experiences faster. To lessen the integration burden on IT and drive innovation and productivity, organisations are looking to drive reuse of existing integrations and empower the wider business to connect apps and data.

  • Integration and API strategy is being led from the top: More than two-thirds (70%) of organisations say they have a top-down approach to integration and API strategy, highlighting the growing importance of integration to achieving business goals. 
  • API reuse is a massive area of opportunity: While most organisations (97%) are using APIs to build integrations and deliver new projects, best practices around API reuse remain an area of improvement. The reuse of code, APIs, and best practice templates has plateaued over the last two years. Organisations have on average 40% of such internal assets and components available for reuse. This is a massive area of opportunity as organisations leveraging APIs experience increased productivity (55%), self-service (49%) and increased innovation (41%).
  • Enabling all business users: Almost three-quarters (73%) of organisations recognise the need to make data and integration accessible to business users to increase productivity, deliver connected experiences and drive innovation. 22% of organisations say they have a mature approach to enabling non-IT users to easily integrate apps and data sources through APIs. Another 51% say they are in the process of developing plans, further highlighting that organisations are looking to empower business users with integration.

Additional information:

  • For deeper insight into how organisations around the world are driving their digital transformation initiatives, download the 2021 Connectivity Benchmark Report.
  • Register to virtually attend MuleSoft CONNECT, the world’s leading integration event, to learn best practices for solving the business challenges and trends that are shaping the future of IT.

For the sixth-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, and to understand IT leaders’ most successful strategies for achieving digital transformation goals. The online survey was conducted between December 2020 and January 2021 across the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. 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.

*Survey respondents stated on average they spent $9,870,901 on IT staff (both on employee salaries and external contractors) over the last 12 months.

Cumulatively survey respondents stated on average their IT teams were spending 35.55% of their time designing, building, and testing custom integrations.

$9,870,901 x 35.55% = $3,509,105.31

About MuleSoft, a Salesforce company 

MuleSoft, provider of the world’s #1 trusted integration and API platform, empowers any company to quickly unlock and integrate their apps and data to create connected experiences, faster. For more information, visit:

About Salesforce
Salesforce, the global CRM leader, empowers companies of every size and industry to digitally transform and create a 360° view of their customers. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit:

MuleSoft is a registered trademark of MuleSoft, Inc., a Salesforce company. All other marks are those of respective owners.

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