Reading Time: 9 minutes

Technology leaders struggling to persuade and motivate their business counterparts and technology teams alike can leverage MuleSoft’s integration value framework to keep the workforce moving toward common, business-impacting goals.

Many IT leaders struggle to clearly articulate the full breadth of integration and its value for their organization. The inability to communicate the impact of integration causes two problems: lack of business and IT alignment and a set of demotivated developers. A recent survey of 650 IT leaders, found alignment between business and IT leadership is growing year over year, but only 15% of organizations reported having a leadership-mandated API-led strategy, suggesting the majority of organizations’ leaders have not yet bought into the value integration initiatives could bring to the organization.

latest report
Learn why we are the Leaders in API management and iPaaS

Even when there is executive buy-in to adopt a new or different approach to integration, technology teams often lack a view of the business value their projects are driving. This results in low adoption among developers, and in some cases, they see it as yet another chore on their growing list of projects.

This makes the job twice as hard for technology leaders struggling to persuade and motivate their business counterparts and technology teams alike. Let’s dig into the top organizational blockers they face.

1. Business executives don’t understand integration value

According to Gartner’s latest CIO agenda, a CIO’s role is becoming more business-focused. Eighty-three percent are now part of the leadership team and spend more time than ever with non-technical colleagues. They are charged with shifting their business colleagues’ perception of IT’s role as a “keeping the lights on” function to instead seeing IT as an enabler of business value and innovation. A crucial part of making that shift is the ability to clearly draw the connection between IT investments and business outcomes. If IT executives aren’t able to speak about integration in value-terms, they will fail to convince non-IT executives and risk missing out on this lucrative investment.

2. IT teams ignore business outcomes

In addition to aligning with and convincing business executives, it’s important to articulate value to integration project teams. Recent figures estimate 15-25% of IT projects fail. One major reason for this is a lack of alignment between IT projects and business outcomes. Without a clear definition of the business value an integration project is helping to create, a number of problems can occur. Examples include:

  • Projects stray from their intended impact.Problems arise during all IT projects; it’s inevitable. However, without a definition of business value to refer back to, project teams risk responding to these problems with a solution that is not in line with the C-level’s needs.
  • Developer motivation decreases and project quality suffers. Without any value metrics to track against, the impact of a project can not be measured. This, in turn, can have an effect on the motivation of the project teams and lead to poor quality of work over time.

Articulating integration value at the project level ultimately helps bridge the gap between executives and the IT community as it keeps the workforce moving toward common, business-impacting goals.

3. IT leaders struggle to communicate integration value

Despite the importance of articulating the business value of integration, organizations typically do not do it very well. Deloitte’s 2018 survey of 1,400 global executives found areas for improvement during both the initial investment phase and on an ongoing basis. Why is this the case? There are two primary reasons: lack of practice and absence of widely accepted integration value framework.

Lack of practice

The interaction between IT and business has evolved significantly. IT used to be seen as a “keep the lights on” function, so IT leaders didn’t get much practice articulating the full value of their IT investments to their business counterparts during investment cycles. Instead, they typically focused on how their proposed investment could meet business requirements at lower cost, rather than its potential to generate multiple sources of business value outside of its initial use case.  

Absence of a value framework

Many IT organizations are getting better at talking about the value of their business applications, but given the complexity of integration itself, there is no widely accepted framework to articulate value. There are many factors at play. Take the comparison of current custom-code integration approaches with a potentially new API-based alternative: APIs can help improve productivity through reuse, and, in turn, can help bring in more revenue or cut costs quicker. They improve security and can also be monetized as an organization charges users for access to data. The list goes on.

MuleSoft developed a set of tools to help you overcome these challenges. Starting with our online Value Calculator, you can gauge 5 years of integration impact for your organization in just 5 minutes. We also created a framework to then help you clearly articulate the sources of value created through integration. To access examples of it in practice, and suggestions on when to apply it, download How to articulate the value of integration.