Research Shows Organizations Increasingly Appreciating the Business Benefits of APIs

For years, proponents of APIs have touted their business benefits including enablement of innovation, helping organizations to scale while being more agile, and maintaining security and control. Now, new research shows that businesses are increasingly heeding that advice as some 96% of organizations currently use public or private APIs — up from 80% last year. This is just one of the findings in MuleSoft’s recently released 2021 Connectivity Benchmark Report based on a global survey of over 800 CIOs and IT decision makers.

For companies looking to digitally transform themselves, the increased usage and awareness of APIs is good news. But the report also shows that organizations still have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to leveraging APIs to their full benefit. While over half (53%) of the businesses that use APIs use them to build integrations only 18% of those surveyed say they’re using APIs to take an integrative approach to building seamless end-user experiences. 

The stakes are well understood as over three-quarters of respondents admitted that their organizations’ revenues will be impacted by failures to complete their Digital Transformation initiatives. Such initiatives are typically underpinned by an API-led approach to application connectivity and in fact, according to the survey’s findings, APIs and related implementations are responsible for 27% of a business’ revenue on average. 

One major obstacle is the growing IT delivery gap. This is the result of increased demands on IT teams without the necessary increase in resources. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 saw a 30% increase in the number of projects IT was asked to deliver over the previous year. Instead of being able to focus efforts on completing these projects, the reality is that more than two-thirds of IT’s time is spent keeping the lights on leaving little time for innovation.

Another challenge comes in the form of data silos. This is when data trapped in legacy systems cannot be accessed across the organization without the type of Integration that is enabled by APIs. 90% of organizations reported issues with data silos occurring within their IT infrastructure. Such challenges make it difficult to offer customers and employees fully integrated experiences.

There are answers to the challenges being faced by IT leaders. By compartmentalizing data silos and business capabilities into API-led building blocks, organizations can achieve more of a composable state -- the “composable enterprise” -- whereby new experiences and 360 degree views of the customer or business can be assembled through the use and reuse of APIs instead of building from scratch. This reusability comes in the form of APIs and connectors that allow legacy systems to communicate with each other, often relying on standardized business logic in a way that it may be used not only by IT, but also by line of business users. By enabling non-IT users to build integrations and drive business innovation (taking over some of the IT backlog), composable enterprises can begin to address the growing IT delivery gap.

While fully integrating using an API-led approach is not easy and the journey can take years, there are a number of benefits to undertaking the effort. Organizations that are able to leverage APIs have reported a significant increase in productivity (59%), self-service (48%), and innovation (46%). 

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.

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