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While the 2024 MuleSoft Connectivity Benchmark Report paints a global picture of the integration and API adoption across industries, a closer look at the public sector reveals its own story – one filled with both obstacles and potential.

Integration: A universal struggle with a Public Sector twist

The report paints a stark picture: with over 900 applications in the average enterprise, only 28% are integrated. This struggle is even more pronounced in the public sector, where fragmented systems and siloed operations hinder progress. While 65% of public sector respondents boast some form of API strategy, many lack a centralized approach, leaving integration efforts vulnerable to project-by-project inconsistencies and costly duplications of effort.

Recommendations: Establish a clear, agency-wide API strategy to ensure consistency, improve reusability, and prevent redundant efforts. Utilize a unified solution like MuleSoft Anypoint Platform to effectively develop, deploy, secure, and manage APIs and integrations effectively.

Digital transformation is hitting a wall in PubSec

The report reveals a concerning truth: 81% of respondents see integration challenges as roadblocks to digital transformation. This number jumps to 86% for public sector respondents, highlighting the urgency of addressing integration woes. Budgetary constraints further complicate matters, with 19% of public sector respondents anticipating budget cuts in 2024 compared to just 6% overall.

Recommendations: Bridge departmental divides by integrating systems and data, facilitating collaboration and information sharing. Prioritize integration projects with the highest impact and measurable ROI.

The PubSec challenge of delivering more with less

The public sector faces a double whammy: on one hand, project demands are on the rise (42% of public sector respondents), and on the other, delivery rates fall short (only 29% of public sector respondents delivered on all projects, compared to 47% overall). Timeliness also suffers, with 39% of public sector projects delayed compared to 26% overall.

Recommendations: Develop reusable API building blocks and shift the application development responsibility and opportunity from solely pro-code development teams to business teams using no-code and low-code tools like Salesforce Flow and MuleSoft Composer.

A shared solution: Reuse + microservices

Despite the challenges, there are bright spots. Both public sector and overall respondents see the value of reusable software components (40%/46%) and microservices (44%/45%) in streamlining application development. However, public sector respondents lag behind in leveraging APIs (35% vs 46%) and event-driven APIs (31% vs. 45%). This gap suggests an opportunity: a robust, agency-wide API strategy could boost reuse and efficiency, addressing both workload increases and on-time delivery challenges.

Recommendations: Develop an agency-wide API strategy that encourages reuse by default. Bring your API reuse strategy to life with an API portal powered by Anypoint Experience Hub.

AI: A glimpse into the future – with nuances for the Public Sector

While the report highlights the transformative potential of AI, public sector respondents are cautiously optimistic. Limited availability of government-certified AI services might explain their slightly lower expectations. However, this shouldn’t be a deterrent. By embracing proper API management and governance, public sector agencies can experiment today with non-sensitive data, laying the groundwork for seamless integration of sensitive data with certified AI providers in the future.

Recommendations: Future-proof the AI choices you make today with API-led connectivity. By insulating developers from underlying AI resources, applications can embrace the best government-certified AI models today and embrace even better ones quickly in the future.

Integration and automation: A shared imperative for Public Sector success

Regardless of industry, one thing is clear: integration and automation are critical for success (87% for public sector and 92% for overall respondents). This extends beyond IT, encompassing functions like engineering, customer support, data science, and finance. The public sector, in particular, must prioritize these areas to bridge the gap between its aspirations and reality.

Recommendations: Provide training and certification programs to equip staff with the necessary skills for API development, integration, and automation. Invest in an agency-wide Center for Enablement (C4E) to share best practices and foster a culture of cross-agency reuse.

Partnering for progress

The 2024 MuleSoft Connectivity Benchmark Report reveals a public sector on the cusp of transformation. While challenges abound, the potential for progress is undeniable. By addressing integration gaps, embracing a centralized API strategy, and experimenting with AI responsibly, the public sector can unlock its full potential and deliver the services its citizens deserve.

Ready to chart your course? Reach out to your MuleSoft team today. We’re here to help you navigate the evolving integration landscape and unlock the power of public sector digital transformation.

Remember, the public sector’s story is still being written. Let’s write it together.