The integration value framework: platform benefits and business outcomes

integration network

Although different, platform benefits and business outcomes are ultimately connected. Each can be used to inform business cases, convince non-technical stakeholders, and motivate entire IT organizations to build projects of the highest quality.

Platform benefits are fundamentally different from business outcomes. One shows direct value and the other shows where integration fits into wider objectives or indirect value. They serve different purposes but must be brought together to provide a full picture of the value of integration.

Take, for example, any platform benefit that reduces the hours during the build and run phase of an integration project (e.g. fewer development hours due to reuse). Any organization experiencing this benefit due to their integration approach can receive it in two ways:

1. They use the saved hours to deliver the IT initiative quicker, deliver the business objective quicker and therefore receive the business value sooner. The value, in this case, is both a) the monetary cost associated with the hours saved (platform benefit) +  b) the value of achieving the associated outcome, for example, one month earlier and in a different fiscal year (e.g. one month’s revenue in 2019 instead of 2020).

OR

2. They redeploy the saved hours into other integration or technology projects. Rather than speed up the delivery of the overall business objective (as in point 1), they use them to add extra features. The benefit in this instance is received by increasing the size of the end business outcomes value. To extend the example used in point 1, the value is not pulling in the revenue one month earlier, but increasing the revenue due to better features or functions.

Other platform benefits, such as those that sit on the risk category (including increased security, scalability, reliability, and availability), can be reconciled against outcomes too. They don’t necessarily free up hours for redeployment, but they do contribute to reducing revenue loss for example or regulatory fines.

Although different, platform benefits and business outcomes are ultimately connected. Each can be used to inform business cases, convince non-technical stakeholders, and motivate entire IT organizations to build projects of the highest quality. Let’s look at an example of how MuleSoft’s customers bring these concepts together in the following case study.

How one manufacturing company calculated direct and indirect value of integration

A $1 billion U.S. manufacturing company had been a MuleSoft customer for two years. The CIO wanted to obtain board approval for additional investment in Anypoint Platform, so she requested that the enterprise IT team put together an analysis of the value achieved with MuleSoft to date and the value that could be achieved going forward.

Together, MuleSoft and the customer interviewed key stakeholders and held workshops to uncover a number of qualitative and quantitative data points. They used MuleSoft’s framework to first calculate platform benefits, and then create a series of business outcomes trees. They put these two elements together in an executive presentation and presented back to executives from IT and the business. Here are the results:

Platform benefits

The analysis identified over $1 million in value achieved to date attributed to leveraging Anypoint Platform and adopting an API-led integration approach, and a further conservative estimate of $16 million in value projected over the next five years. The platform benefits that predominantly drove these savings were fewer hours spent on development and fewer hours spent on maintenance.

Business outcomes

The analysis showed the customer had built 52 reusable integration assets – including APIs, patterns, templates, and frameworks – on Anypoint Platform. These assets drove a number of core technology initiatives linked to board level business objectives.

Business outcomes realized to date

Going forward, the U.S. manufacturer plans to build an additional 400 APIs to scale their order management process globally, drive sales productivity, and build a scalable IT foundation to support aggressive global expansion,  directly aligning to and impacting their business outcomes.

Business outcomes going forward

As a result of the findings of both the value realized and the value opportunities going forward, the enterprise IT team was able to provide the CIO with the data she needed to secure the additional investment in Anypoint Platform. Using MuleSoft’s framework, she was able to clearly show board members:

  1. Context and alignment (business outcomes): Where integration using MuleSoft fits into the organization’s strategic objectives. Through the business outcomes framework, the CIO demonstrated the value these integrations have enabled and will enable going forward.
  2. Direct monetary impact (platform benefits): How delivering these integrations using MuleSoft instead of an alternative has benefited, and will continue to benefit, the company going forward. Using the platform benefits framework, the CIO showcased monetary benefits that could be weighed against investment costs to show the return on investment (ROI) to date and the return in the future on the budget she was asking for.
  3. Structure for measuring value going forward: The CIO was able to reassure the board that the success of their investment would continue to be tracked using a proven framework. This would be done regularly and socialized among executive peers and employees alike to keep all aligned, motivated, and ensured that integration keeps serving as a key driver of business value.

How to get started

In order for IT leaders to articulate the value of their teams’ integration work, they must first translate their impact into measures that the business cares about. To help, MuleSoft developed a set of tools to help you measure and convey the value of integration to the broader business, starting with our online Value Calculator. In just 5 minutes, you can gauge 5 years of integration impact.

To help articulate those measures, MuleSoft developed a framework based on insights from more than 1,600 customers, which you can download here. You can also contact Catalyst Mobilize to understand and communicate the value that integration and APIs can deliver for your business.



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