New Study Finds More Than 70% of Automation Initiatives are Held Back by Security Concerns and Data Silos

IT and Business collaboration proves key to overcoming security and integration challenges; Almost 9 out of 10 organizations agree that IT and business alignment has improved in the last 12 months driving faster innovation, together

MuleSoft, provider of the world’s #1 integration and API platform, today reported that 70% of automation initiatives are being hindered by security concerns and data silos, as organizations increasingly look to automation to improve efficiency and productivity. However, MuleSoft’s IT and Business Alignment Barometer also revealed opportunities for companies to overcome these challenges and enable faster innovation across their organizations. IT and business teams working closely together can shrink or even eliminate organization silos, significantly reducing time to market. The report shows that almost 9 in 10 (87%) say IT and business alignment has improved over the last 12 months leading to a number of benefits, including improved collaboration (64%), operational efficiency (58%), and better customer experience (54%).

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“IT and business alignment is no longer ‘a nice to have’ – it’s essential to meeting the urgency of today’s digital imperatives,” said Brent Hayward, CEO, MuleSoft. “Delivering innovation fast requires reusable, secure assets the business can self-serve to quickly launch new digital experiences, products and services. As IT and business teams drive automation initiatives forward, empowering more people – developers and non-developers alike – to connect data and apps in a secure, yet frictionless way will be key to organizations’ future success.”

Based on a global study of 2,400 IT decision makers (ITDMs) and business decision makers (BDMs), the MuleSoft IT and Business Alignment Barometer also highlights organizations’ business priorities and challenges over the next 12 months:

Digital imperatives increase automation adoption

In an all-digital, work-from-anywhere world, it’s never been more important to sense and respond to changing market dynamics — and the needs of customers and employees — with speed, agility, and efficiency. Automation has become a rising focus for many organizations to drive convenience, speed, and cost reductions. Organizations report that:

  • Operational efficiency is top of mind for businesses: Improving operational efficiency (54%), creating better connected customer experiences (50%), improving productivity (49%), becoming more agile for change (48%), and becoming more data-driven (45%) are organizations’ top five business priorities.
  • There’s automation everywhere: 95% of organizations have implemented or are in the process of implementing automation initiatives, such as streamlined employee onboarding processes, to improve productivity. 93% see automation as a means to create better connected customer experiences and to improve operational efficiency.
  • IT leads automation initiatives: Just over two-thirds (67%) of organizations say their automation initiatives are IT-led (i.e., driven by the IT department and the technology that is available).

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Security concerns and data silos slow down business priorities

Security and governance, along with data distributed across multiple apps and platforms, continue to pose a challenge to automation initiatives, and hinder innovation.

  • Security concerns slowing down the pace of innovation: The majority (87%) of IT and business leaders say that security and governance concerns are slowing down the pace of innovation.
  • Disparate systems cause security headaches: Almost three quarters (73%) of organizations say the integration of disparate systems has increased their concerns around data security and governance – 31% say it had ‘significantly’ increased concerns.
  • Organizations still wary of empowering non-technical users: Most organizations recognize the need to empower business teams to help take the operational strain off IT. However, the majority remain wary about the security implications; 87% admitted security concerns were holding them back at least to some degree from empowering non-technical users to integrate data sources.

Collaborative innovation model for IT and business drives agility

To overcome integration challenges and become more agile, IT and business teams need to work together to co-create value and keep pace with the speed of digitalization. IT teams can focus on producing secure and governed reusable assets, and empower business teams to integrate and self-serve these IT-approved assets to deliver innovation faster.

  • COVID-19 has sparked a new focus on business agility: More than three quarters (78%) of organizations say improving business agility to remain competitive will be extremely important in the future. This is a notable increase from 68% who said it was a focus pre-pandemic.
  • IT increasingly drives business outcomes: The majority (88%) of business and IT leaders agree that IT has become even more important in driving business outcomes in the last 12 months. Nearly half (48%) say it has become ‘significantly’ more important.
  • Value of integration is recognized by the business: Almost nine in 10 (87%) BDMs feel that improved integration will help them meet their business objectives – 39% say it would help them “a lot.”
  • Drive agility by empowering business users to create connected experiences: The vast majority (86%) of organizations agree business outcomes would improve if business users were able to use low or no code to securely connect apps and data on their own to create connected experiences. This capability would enable organizations to improve productivity (52%), become more data-driven (48%), improve operational efficiency (48%), create better connected customer experiences (46%), and become more agile for change (45%).

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