Organizations combining API management with microservices will have competitive advantage, say 93% of global IT leaders

While most enterprises have adopted API management, microservices and integration solutions, respondents see importance of a unified approach

Reston, VA – Software AG (Frankfurt MDAX: SOW) today announced new research revealing that 97% of IT leaders believe it would be beneficial to combine the utilization of APIs, microservices and integration, while only 1% say that they do so already. Conducted by Vanson Bourne, the survey of 950 global IT leaders examined the state of APIs, microservices and integration, uncovering trends in adoption, challenges and opportunities for further improvement in helping organizations become truly connected enterprises.

For modern organizations, having a highly connected IT environment is essential. The need for fast and efficient integration – between different systems, applications, departments and individuals – in enterprise organizations has never been greater, according to 92% of survey respondents. This need will only continue to grow, especially considering IDC’s prediction that over 500 million digital apps and services will be developed and deployed using cloud-native approaches by 2023.

Suraj Kumar, GM of API, Integration and Microservices Business Unit, Software AG, commented: “The ability to liberate and integrate all data across applications, devices and partners is a mandate for digital business excellence. However, this survey demonstrates that while businesses recognize this, they’re currently having difficulty achieving it. We understand this challenge and built a unified platform that connects microservices, integration and APIs, helping them to build a truly connected enterprise. With this platform in place, they are free to innovate and differentiate themselves in the eyes of their customers. This is true digital transformation.”

IT leaders agree on the benefits of APIs, microservices and integration
The overwhelming majority of IT leaders surveyed by Software AG recognize the benefits of APIs, microservices and integration solutions – and have already implemented them within their organizations, specifically:


  • 98% of respondents believe that APIs are or would be extremely or very important to their organizations’ operations.
  • More than eight of 10 (86%) IT leaders believe their organizations would be working in silos without the use of APIs.
  • Nearly just as many (79%) said they utilize APIs for digital transformation projects.


  • Most (81%) IT leaders currently utilize microservices within their organization to some extent and almost a fifth (18%) don’t use microservices currently, but plan to in the future.
  • 95% believe that microservices are or would be extremely or very important to their organization’s operations.
  • More than half (54%) plan to implement the use of microservices within the next year.


  • Integration solutions are now commonplace in organizations, with 99% using one.
  • Organizations are most likely to be running some form of hybrid integration solution, both on-premises and in the cloud (64%), versus cloud-only (23%) and on-premises only (12%).
  • Nearly all (99.9%) respondents identify at least one benefit that is experienced in their organization as a result of using integration apps or systems, with the top three reported as: improved productivity/time savings (54%); greater visibility across the organization (47%); ability to manage information better (47%).

Challenges persist, limiting further success
Despite widespread adoption, barriers remain that limit APIs, microservices and integration systems from being maximized. Notably, concerns around lacking the needed skillset exists across all areas. The top three challenges faced when utilizing APIs include: ensuring API security (48%); limited staff skillset to utilize APIs (41%); risk to scalability and quality of service (40%).

When it comes to microservices, the following pitfalls were noted: limited budget to invest in this (48); limited staff skillset to utilize microservices (47%); difficult to manage the entire IT environment (45%); complexity (45%); integration of different apps/services is more difficult (45%).

Lastly, the top challenge when utilizing integration applications and systems relates to ensuring security from external threats (47%). Internal organizational barriers such as limited budget (40%), staff skillset (40%) and resistance to change (40%) also come into play.

The opportunity for a holistic approach
As integration demands continue to grow and organizations seek more sophisticated solutions, looking at APIs, microservices and integration solutions as separate parts is no longer enough. The future for organizations is a bundled solution that incorporates all of these together. Most IT leaders (97%) believe this approach offers benefits, which could include: boosted productivity and time savings (51%); higher customer satisfaction (49%); the ability to gain better customer insights (49%); faster time to market (45%); long term-cost savings (44%). A vast majority (93%) of respondents also believe that organizations that can integrate API management with their use of microservices will have a distinct advantage over their competitors.

To learn more about this research, download Software AG’s Annual APIs and Integration Report.

About the Survey
Commissioned by Software AG and conducted by Vanson Bourne, this quantitative study surveyed 950 IT decision makers from organizations with at least 1,000 employees. All interviews were conducted between December 2020 and January 2021 using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate. Respondents were surveyed globally and across sectors, with representation from the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Middle East and the Nordics.

About Software AG
Software AG is the software pioneer of a truly connected world. Since 1969, it has helped 10,000+ organizations use software to connect people, departments, systems and devices. Software AG empowers truly connected enterprises using integration & APIs, IoT & analytics and business & IT transformation. Software AG’s products establish a fluid flow of data that allows everything and everyone to work together. The company has more than 4,700 employees across more than 70 countries and annual revenue of over €800m, with the aim of exceeding €1bn by 2023.

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