Automation initiatives are held back by security concerns and data silos

Brent Hayward, CEO at MuleSoft, a Salesforce Company

MuleSoft an integration and API platform, has reported that more than 70% of automation initiatives are being hindered by security concerns and data silos, as organisations increasingly look to automation to improve efficiency and productivity.

MuleSoft’s IT and Business Alignment Barometer also revealed opportunities for companies to overcome these challenges and enable faster innovation across their organisations.

IT and business teams working closely together can shrink or even eliminate organisation silos, significantly reducing time to market.

The report shows that 9 out of 10 organisations say IT and business alignment has improved over the last 12 months leading to a number of benefits, including improved operational efficiency (66%), collaboration (62%), and better customer experience (58%).

“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 organisations’ 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 organisations’ business priorities and challenges over the next 12 months:

Digital imperatives increase automation adoption

In a digital work world, it’s important to sense and respond to changing market dynamics and the needs of customers and employees with speed, agility, and efficiency.

Automation is a rising focus for businesses to drive convenience, speed, and cost reductions.

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 organisations’ top five business priorities globally.

There’s automation everywhere

95% of organisations have implemented or are in the process of implementing automation initiatives, such as streamlined employee onboarding processes, to improve productivity.

96% see automation as a means to create better connected customer experiences, and 94% to improve operational efficiency.

IT leads automation initiatives

Almost two-thirds (64%) of organisations say their automation initiatives are IT-led i.e., driven by the IT department and the technology that is available.

Security concerns and data silos slow down 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 (88%) of IT and business leaders say that security and governance concerns are slowing down the pace of innovation.

Disparate systems cause security headaches

66% of organisations say the integration of disparate systems has increased their concerns around data security and governance 39% say it had ‘significantly’ increased concerns.

Organisations still wary of empowering non-technical users

Recognise the need to empower business teams takes the operational strain off IT.

Many are wary about the security implications. 85% admitted security concerns were holding them back from empowering non-technical users to integrate data sources.

Collaborative innovation model for IT 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 digitalisation.

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

78% of organisations say improving business agility to remain competitive will be extremely important in the future. This is an increase from 70% who said it was a focus pre-pandemic.

IT increasingly drives business outcomes

88% of business and IT leaders agree that IT has become even more important in driving business outcomes last year. 43% say it has become ‘significantly’ more important.

Value of integration is recognised by the business

Almost all (99%) BDMs feel that improved integration will help them meet their business objectives – 51% say it would help them “a lot.”

Drive agility with users creating connected experiences

85% agree that 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 organisations globally 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%).