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This post was originally published on ProgrammableWeb. See the full video interview by clicking through to the original post.

Responding to a question regarding their ability to innovate on behalf of the organizations they work for, 69% of IT leaders surveyed said they felt they were working just to keep the lights on versus innovating. This was the answer to one of many questions that MuleSoft posed to over 800 IT leaders, the complete results of which can be found in the 2020 edition of the company’s annual Connectivity Benchmark Report.

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One of the key challenges facing many IT leaders has to do with how the business side of their organizations is asking for more digital innovation without a commensurate increase in budget. With existing budgets largely allocated to activities that “keep the lights on,” there isn’t a lot of funding left to experiment with new approaches, risk entry into new speculative digital channels, or otherwise drive the sort of game-changing innovation that separates market leaders from the also-rans. But for organizations that understand how efficiencies gained through the reusability of holistically conceived APIs, there could also be some budget relief as well. 

That was one of the key summaries of the report put forth by MuleSoft Director of Solutions Engineering Ani Pandit in an interview with ProgrammableWeb. The interview, a ProgrammableWeb Developers Rock Podcast, is available in video, audio-only, and full-text transcript forms. 

“80% of IT decision-makers in this report suggested that integration and API strategies were very key to their transformation success. Well, there are two things that are very critical for this” said Pandit. “One is building a culture of self-service, and building reuse into that strategy. As long as you do those two things, I would definitely see a lot more acceleration in terms of innovation. Because when I see just the organizations that are using these two tenets as key constituents of their API strategy, we are seeing 67% more productivity in these organizations. And that is just the anecdotal data coming out of this benchmark this year.”

In the interview, Pandit refers to the type of singularity in end-to-end customer experiences that all organizations should aspire to across their web, mobile, brick-n-mortar, and other customer touchpoints. To prove his point, he gave an example of a recent purchase he made where that sort of frictionless experience was lacking across all the channels he touched in the course of investigating, purchasing, taking delivery of, and eventually using a tennis ball machine. “[Companies] want to deliver a very linear experience in the sense that the customer doesn’t feel that they are working in isolation, or working in silos with different parts of the business,” Pandit said.

According to Pandit, delivering that optimal experience to the customer depends on how well the individual systems behind those silos can be integrated with one another (the sort of integration where APIs are the key enablers). Furthermore, once great progress is made in terms of integrating those systems, a 360-degree view of the customers will start to take shape, which in turn allows an organization to maintain a much more personal, timely, and ultimately profitable partnership with those customers.

However, another sobering fact revealed by MuleSoft’s report is how, across the organizations surveyed, only 28% of siloed systems have been integrated in some way so far. In other words, there’s a lot of work to do — potentially the other 72% — before many organizations can achieve full digital transformation. In other words, if you understand the need to integrate but feel like you’re running behind, you’re not alone. According to the report, 92% of the respondents understand the urgency and have recognized that digital transformation is now a strategic imperative.

For more on what Pandit had to say about the survey and the progress that organizations are making against their digital transformation objectives, be sure to watch, listen to, or read the interview below.

Download the Connectivity Benchmark Report for more insights.

Disclosure: MuleSoft is the parent company to ProgrammableWeb. ProgrammableWeb is committed to the fair and objective coverage of companies, products, and trends from across the API economy.