New data shows that business application volumes within Australian organisations have increased nearly 10% in the past year, surpassing 1,000 on average. 
However, just one-third (32%) are integrated, creating data silos that lead to rising costs, duplicated work, productivity bottlenecks, and disconnected experiences.
MuleSoft's annual Connectivity Benchmark Report surveyed 100 CIOs and IT decision-makers in Australia to better understand these challenges and what organisations can do to succeed amid economic uncertainty.
Integration challenges slowing digital transformation efforts
Despite digital transformation advancements, 84% of respondents say integration challenges slow their efforts causing infrastructure issues and major risks as IT budgets come under new scrutiny.
The good news? New technology is solving these problems and making integration easier. Some of the world's biggest companies are using real-time data technologies to integrate, ingest, and store real-time data streams at scale, with built-in connectors that bring in data from every channel (mobile, web, APIs), legacy data through, and historical data from proprietary data lakes.
"We have seen significant investment and dedication from businesses looking to digitally transform. Even amid uncertain economic conditions, digital transformation efforts are well underway and even speeding up in some cases," says Matt McLarty, CTO, MuleSoft.
"However, integration efforts are lagging, and without this, businesses cannot realise the full value of their data and application capabilities," he says. 
"Integration tools and automation help close that gap, enabling productivity, efficiency, and innovation gains that will allow businesses to achieve innovation gains that will propel businesses forward."
API-led connectivity helps businesses integrate apps and data
As organisations in Australia become more digitally- and cost-centred, they are using APIs to integrate apps and data to create exceptional customer experiences and generate revenue.
Empowering non-technical business users accelerates transformation: Fifty-one per cent have a mature strategy to empower non-technical users to easily integrate applications and data sources using APIs, demonstrating that low-code tools can improve business agility.
APIs drive revenue as top-down API integration strategies increase: On average, organisations in Australia are generating 42% of revenue from APIs. Further, 77% of organisations now have a top-down API integration strategy.
With rising demands, IT looks to automation to support non-tech workflows
IT teams that manage an organisations tech operations are increasingly looking to automation for efficiency and organisation-wide productivity solutions. RPA which enables teams to automate business processes and tasks with bots is one automation technology seeing rapid adoption across enterprises, with 25% per cent of organisations investing in the technology.
Companies report broad automation, and integration needs: Ninety-eight per cent of organisations in Australia said at least one department within their company requires both integration and automation.
IT continues to own automation amid digital disruption: Developers (76%), IT operations (60%), and application administrators (51%) are most likely to be responsible for automating business processes.
Non-tech roles eager for automation: Data science (60%), product (62%), business analysts (63%), customer support (58%), finance (47%), marketing (66%), engineering (48%), and HR (50%) report a need for automation in their departments.
Reusable integrations offer cost-saving opportunities: On average, 48% of organisations internal software assets and components are available to developers for reuse, an opportunity for greater integration efficiency.
Businesses have saved up to 109 billion hours monthly using automation tools that enable employees to focus on higher-value work. By taking a unified approach to integration, API management, and automation, businesses are able to drive efficiency, agility, and continuous innovation.
As digital transformation moves ahead, the cost of failure rises
Despite an increase in IT project volume (44% growth year over year), most (77%) organisations in Australia are ahead of schedule on digital transformation progress due, in part, to infrastructure improvement. However, the cost of failure to complete projects has risen, adding risk to business bottom lines.
The IT delivery gap: Thirty-nine per cent of teams say they completed all of the IT projects asked of them last year. In addition, 36% of projects werent delivered on time.
Cost of failed digital transformation spikes: The average cost of failing to complete digital transformation initiatives now sits at $9.3 million annually.