Paul Crerand at MuleSoft explains how hyperautomation, composable enterprise and the ‘business technologist’ are shaping IT priorities
Last year saw digital transformation continue to accelerate in the wake of the pandemic. Organisations worked tirelessly to launch new services and platforms faster, and deliver improved user experiences at speed.
However, all this innovation has increased the demands on already stretched IT teams, who are struggling to keep up. Several key trends emerging as organisations seek to tackle these challenges and empower their teams to drive long-term success through transformation.
The rise of ‘business technologists’
With IT teams’ workloads growing beyond their capacity, organisations are increasingly looking to empower employees outside the IT department to deliver their own digital innovation. They can make this possible by adopting low or no-code approaches, as well as taking advantage of AI-assisted development tools.
These new approaches will enable ‘business technologists’ to create seamless digital experiences, without specialist code-writing skills – using ‘drag and drop’ style interfaces. We’re already seeing this in action: 80% of organisations have plans to, or have already, enabled business users to integrate apps and data sources with APIs.
This year, we’ll see this momentum grow as business teams continue to work more closely alongside IT. Organisations that collaborate successfully will innovate faster, with both business and IT teams delivering greater value across the enterprise.
Organisations become more composable
The past year saw the speed of the ‘always on’ digital economy accelerate even further. As such, there will be increasing pressure for organisations to improve end-user experiences through faster digital innovation. To enable this, more organisations are looking to become a “composable” or modular business.
With this strategy, digital services no longer need to be built from scratch, but can be created from existing capabilities unlocked by reusable APIs. In this way, capabilities and data become secure and discoverable building blocks, from which business users and IT teams alike can create new solutions.
As they make this shift, organisations will need to reconsider their reliance on RESTful APIs. They will need to bolster their integration strategy with event-driven AsyncAPIs and data-driven GraphQL APIs. Regardless of the API specification they must be usable, flexible and extensible, which only comes about through an outside-in design-first approach. This means they support the fluid and real-time digital experiences that today’s consumers expect.
As organisations move towards becoming more composable, digital innovation are picking up speed. This is a fundamental driving factor for success, but may also bring increased cyber-security risks. If these risks aren’t managed effectively, organisations and their customers could be exposed to financial and reputational damage.
One of the key considerations for organisations must be how to keep their APIs secure. While APIs present a number of advantages for digital businesses, they have also become a more frequent threat vector.
To defend themselves, the platforms used by organisations to support and manage APIs will become critical. Security-by-default will no longer be a ‘nice-to-have’. It will be a ‘must-have’. In cases where there are a range of available configuration options, the most secure option will now be offered by default. If users do proactively decide against the most secure option, secure-by-default platforms will notify them of risks as they go, offering pop-up prompts and tips.
Automation will be replaced by hyperautomation
Although organisations are increasingly implementing automation initiatives to reduce manual workloads, many have failed to take advantage of its full potential, only deploying it in small, isolated pockets. However, most are now starting to recognise automation as a key driving force for the modern digital enterprise. This will lead to automation being scaled much further and evolving into ‘hyperautomation’, as organisations begin to automate as many processes as possible.
However, hyperautomation requires a smart approach to integration. The inherent complexity behind all the systems and data that organisations now have at their disposal is making it harder to achieve the level of automation they’re striving towards.
To overcome this, IT leaders need to find a way to securely integrate, automate, and manage workflows at scale. The simplest approach is to harness a combination of integration, API management, and automation, enabling organisations to increase the speed of innovation through hyperautomation.
A growing need to tackle cloud complexity
Hybrid and multi-cloud ecosystems have given many organisations the flexibility they needed to survive the pandemic. However, these environments have made modern digital ecosystems more complex than ever, and organisations now need to manage this complexity more effectively and efficiently.
There is an increasing demand for platforms that allow organisations to manage their APIs from any location, with whatever standards they are governed by, and whatever gateways they have. With these types of platforms, organisations will be able to run and catalogue their APIs more easily, enabling them to uncover issues and enforce security policies, regardless of the underlying environment or cloud platform.
As a result, universal API management, in which developers can design, build, deploy, operate and discover all of their APIs in one place, is rising to the top of the agenda for many organisations.
Organisations are looking to empower business users to reduce IT workloads and accelerate transformation, by enabling teams across the organisation to make their own tangible contribution towards digital transformation. The shift towards the composable enterprise, and increased use of hyperautomation, powered by universal API management will be at the heart of this drive.
Organisations that embrace these changes will lead the way in their industries, and put themselves in good stead for the years to come.
Paul Crerand isField CTO EMEA at MuleSoft
Main image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com