Aside from incurring heavy asset write downs, failure in digitalization indicates siloed mindsets and flawed methodologies overwhelming the underlying benefits.

In the latest annual survey of IT leaders from global enterprises for a ‘Connectivity Benchmark’ report, 1,050 respondents from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan highlighted persistent challenges that IT teams faced in the course of rapid digital transformation.

The Oct to Nov 2021 survey of public or private sector enterprise IT leaders (manager or above) with at least 1,000 employers also comprised 400 CIOs and IT decision makers from Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and Japan. According to data around APAC respondents, as digitalization accelerates, their organizations could lose on average more than US$6m digital transformation initiatives fall through.

Also, APAC respondents indicated that more than 70% of customer interactions were now digital, but only 30% had managed to provide a fully integrated end-user experience across various channels and touchpoints.

On average, APAC respondents were found to be using 1,020 individual applications such as marketing, finance, and cloud—higher than that in the US and Europe regions. Additionally, 28% of these applications are integrated on average, indicating room for more connected user experiences.

Other APAC findings

Other challenges of digital transformation cited by APAC respondents:

  • 54% indicated that they found it difficult to integrate user experiences, highlighting the complexity for companies to meet their customers’ digital needs.
  • 50% cited security and governance as the biggest challenge to integrating user experiences, while 48% cited an inability to keep up with ever-changing processes, tools, and systems. Finally, 47% cited lack of internal knowledge.
  • Of the APAC organizations that had integrated user experiences, 55% indicated increased customer engagement. Other benefits cited included greater ROI (54%), improved innovation (53%), and better visibility into operations (52%).
  • Data silos remained a significant barrier to creating integrated user experiences, with 94% of APAC organizations citing such silos as a challenge:
    • 92% of respondents indicated that the following integration challenges continued to slow digital transformation initiatives: integrating siloed apps and data (48%); business and IT misalignment (41%); and risk management, compliance and/or legal implications (40%).
    • In their efforts to integrate apps and data from across the enterprise, APAC respondents appeared to be focusing more resources in the wrong areas, such as custom integration. As a result, they were increasing their technical debt. On average, the APAC respondents spent US$3.69m on custom integration labor in the last 12 months—39% of their total IT labor resources.
    • 84% of respondents indicated that IT budgets had increased year-on-year, while the number of projects IT was asked to deliver had increased by 42% on average. Despite the extra budget, respondents were finding it difficult to meet the demands of the business. On average, 45% of projects were not delivered on time over the past 12 months.
  • 99% of respondents used APIs to digitally transform in a more sustainable manner and accelerate business success.
    • 93% now had a clear integration and API strategy. Additionally, 25% indicated leaders mandated that all projects abide by a company-wide API integration strategy.
    • 48% on average were increasingly creating and using reusable IT assets and APIs to create new experiences and accelerate projects, rather than building from scratch each time.Further, 52% now indicated they had a “very mature” or “mature” strategy to empower users to integrate apps and data sources powered by APIs.
    • 38% indicated said they had experienced revenue growth as a direct result of leveraging APIs.

According to Brian Kealey, Area Vice President (Asia), MuleSoft, which commissioned the survey: “Siloed applications and data continue to hinder customer experience and digital transformation, and it is now costing businesses millions of dollars per year. This issue is particularly important in APAC, where respondents reported that they used more applications than any other region surveyed. To continue driving growth in the post-pandemic digital economy, (they) need to be integrate a growing number of apps and data sources to automate their business and create seamless digital experiences for their customers.”