The new rules of digital Transformation How API Strategies Drive digitalization
Due to the pandemic, the pressure to advance digitalization has increased. APIs not only help accelerate digital initiatives, their reusability also has a lasting impact on IT project management.
Like reusable building blocks, programming interfaces allow IT projects to be advanced quickly and sustainably.
(© Olivier Le Moal – stock.adobe.com)
The Covid-19 pandemic led to a massive slowdown in the global economy. Companies, organizations, and society as a whole were forced to adjust their activities with respect to the lockdown restrictions.
The UN estimates that global economic losses from the pandemic will exceed $ 1 trillion. But despite these high costs, one notable side effect of the pandemic is that a number of digital initiatives have moved up the list of priorities.
More important than digitalization itself is the ability to quickly launch new digital initiatives. Many companies now need to reassess their ability to accelerate digital transformation and innovate faster than ever before.
The dramatic rise in digital demand
Much of this pressure is due to changing habits caused by national lockdowns. According to a representative survey by Postbank, Germans spend eight hours a day on the Internet – and the trend is rising.
The increasing use of apps for video calls and the shift away from traditional television to video streaming platforms has led to a surge in demand for digital services. With the growing demand for these services, the expectation has also increased that these services will provide a challenging, connected experience.
In other words, digital products and services have never been as valued as they are today. Although restrictions on access to digital services are beginning to abate, these patterns in consumer behavior and increasing expectations of digital services are likely to persist. This puts many organizations in a delicate situation.
Inevitably, budgets have been hit hard by the closures: Gartner estimates that IT spending will fall by 8 percent compared to 2019. As the return to” business as usual “is still a long way off, there is increasing pressure on companies to find a solution that maximizes the value of their existing resources and digital capabilities if they want to succeed in the” new normal”.
Even in normal times, IT departments have struggled to achieve their goals of digital Transformation as quickly as necessary. According to research, six out of ten IT directors said they were unable to implement all of their projects last year. Much of this is due to the IT complexity and challenges associated with trying to integrate different data sources, applications and systems in an agile way that supports the goals of transformation.
All too often, organizations rely on the combination of capabilities along with point-to-point integrations that are inflexible and do not live up to the dynamics of modern IT environments. As a result, they find it difficult to quickly bring innovative, customer-oriented products and services to market. This usually fails because many companies fail to bundle their skills in a cost – and time-efficient manner.
At the same time, it is often the case that the digital Transformation is largely left to the IT Department. IT departments, which are already under stress due to their daily maintenance tasks, increasingly have the task of driving the entire organization forward, often receiving little support from other departments.
As a result, the gap between the company’s expectations and what IT can do is widening. If we take into account that IT managers will now have potentially fewer resources available, it is clear that a solution urgently needs to be found.
APIs and the modular enterprise
To overcome their digital transformation headaches, many organizations have considered APIs as a solution. With an API strategy, IT leaders can imagine data and features as a set of reusable building blocks that can be plugged in and out to quickly develop new products and services.
Because these APIs are made available through an integration platform, companies can foster a culture of reuse, so IT departments don’t have to start every digital project from scratch if some of the required features already exist elsewhere. A modular corporate strategy enables a much more agile operation.
At a time when companies need to maximize the value of their existing resources, those who promote a flexible enterprise are being taken as role models. Siemens has also taken advantage of APIs to significantly accelerate the rollout of 60 million smart devices in the UK.
The challenge was to better connect countless partners and all end devices operating in the company network. With MuleSoft’s APIs, it was possible to resolve the grown data silos and make data from existing IBM mainframes usable for your wide network of partners. By throttling and rate limiting using API guidelines, downstream data integrity could also be preserved. Due to the reusability of existing APIs, future projects will also benefit from the results of the developments.
The new rules of digital transformation
The world is in a turbulent phase, marked by crises that leave lasting traces in companies and societies alike. Siemens had to adapt to the new requirements of climate change and was able to achieve enormous efficiency gains through innovations and API-supported flexibility.
Meanwhile, most of the global corporate landscape has to deal with the consequences of a remote workforce, which puts enormous strain on IT departments and general financial planning. The role of the pandemic in accelerating digital transformation is an effect that companies cannot ignore.
Many of them launched digital initiatives long before the crisis and are now trying to accelerate these projects to address the impact of the lockdown on business continuity. All of this has underscored the value of digital transformation and encouraged businesses of all kinds to put their digital homes in order.
Rüdiger Fabian (Picture: Mulesoft)
In the new normal, APIs have proven to be effective catalysts for digital transformation. By freeing up the value of their existing resources, companies can develop the agility needed to meet new digital demands and put themselves in a better, more promising position.
* Rüdiger Fabian is Area Vice President Germany & Austria at MuleSoft.