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For the fifth annual Connectivity benchmark report, MuleSoft, in partnership with Vanson Bourne, surveyed 800 IT leaders from global enterprises — from the US and the UK to Germany and Japan — on the state of digital transformation and connectivity.

Here are the top key takeaways from the 2020 connectivity benchmark report

1. Data silos are hindering digital transformation

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Organizations across industries — from financial services to retail — face increasing pressure to meet the demand for connected experiences. Today, over half of IT leaders report it is difficult for their organization to deliver connected experiences. As a result, 98% of organizations are currently undertaking digital transformation initiatives or plan to in the next year. 

While almost every organization (98%) is undertaking digital transformation, integration challenges are slowing digital transformation initiatives for 85% of IT organizations. Data silos and IT-business misalignment are among the top challenges slowing transformation initiatives. 89% of IT leaders say data silos are an obstacle to digital transformation. In fact, the average organization has 900 applications and only 28% are currently integrated.

2. Organizations are reaping the benefits of APIs

To turn digital transformation into reality, IT leaders are turning to APIs as the tissue that integrates their applications, systems, and data. 80% of IT leaders say their organization uses public and/or private APIs. Over half of IT leaders stated that their teams leverage APIs as part of the development process for new projects (52%) or to build new integrations (52%).

Organizations that leverage APIs report increased productivity (54%) and innovation (47%). IT teams that leverage APIs are also more likely (81%) to report completing all or nearly all projects, compared to those that do not use APIs (64%). Additionally, teams that leverage APIs are 69% less likely to report significant integration challenges. APIs also represent a key revenue channel for organizations. IT leaders report that an average of 31% of their company’s revenue is generated from APIs. 

3. IT teams with an API strategy drive greater business outcomes

An estimated 80% of organizations that have APIs also have some form of strategy in place. Organizations that adopt any form of API strategy — whether it is project-by-project or mandated by leadership — achieve better business outcomes. 

They experience 17.5% higher productivity, compared to those without a strategy. They also report increased productivity (54%), and greater agility across teams to self-serve IT (46%). Overall, the survey data points to one main insight: any form of API strategy yields far better business results than no strategy at all. 

4. Top-down API strategies are the most effective 

One API strategy approach leads to greater business value: a leadership-mandated strategy. Although only 12% of organizations have a leadership-mandated strategy, they are 36% more productive than those that adopt other API strategies and complete 67% more projects than those with a bottom-up strategy. 

Additionally, 56% percent of IT teams with a leadership-mandated API strategy reported an increase in employee collaboration and engagement, compared to only 37% of those with a bottom-up strategy. 

One surprising benefit of leadership-mandated API strategies is the ability to expand integration skills to teams outside of IT, thereby enabling non-technical “citizen” integrators across the organization. Forty-two percent of organizations with leadership-mandated strategies rated non-technical teams’ integration skills as “very good,” compared to only 9% of organizations with a bottom-up strategy. 

Interested in getting more insights? Download the 2020 connectivity benchmark report.