Out with the slow and in with the fast

2020 Digital Innovation Benchmark report – Innovate fast or die trying

Chris Stewart
digital innovation
© Shutterstock / Jackie Niam

A new report has been published that offers insights into US technology leaders and their thoughts about what digital innovation involves, what the risks are of not innovating and what the risks are of innovating badly. We also get a look at what success looks like and how important open source is for digital innovation.

Open source API gateway provider Kong have released a report they’re calling the 2020 Digital Innovation Benchmark. In it, they attempt to answer such questions as, “What is the current state of IT initiatives and challenges?” and, “How do the IT landscapes of organizations impact their overall ability to innovate?” They have done this by engaging market research firm Vanson Bourne to survey 200 senior technology decision makers in the US across a range of industries divided equally between publicly traded and private companies with 1,000 or more employees.

The result? An 18-page report that offers some insights about the state of digital innovation in the US, as well as offering some food for thought.

Innovate fast or die fast

The report found that 71 percent of the technology leaders they surveyed think that failing to keep pace with innovation in their industry will put companies out of business in six years or less. Public companies seem to be feeling the pressure much more though, as they believe failing to keep up will put them out of business in less than three years.

Speed seems to be of the essence with 47 percent of those surveyed placing ‘improving efficiency’ at the top of their list of priorities. Close second and third places go to ‘reducing cost’ and ‘increasing security’ respectively with 41 and 40 percent. It also emerged that 95 percent see faster development speed, 94 percent see increased collaboration, and 93 percent see reduced deployment risk as the key desired outcomes of adopting new technologies.

So the next logical question is what does digital innovation look like? It seems the answer comes in a very small package: microservices.

Microservices – the big cheese that can cause a stink

To spur innovation, the vast majority of organizations (84 percent) have embraced microservices architectures. Microservices represent a new paradigm for developing applications where smaller, decoupled services are used to provide the functionality needed by an end application. In contrast to monolithic applications where all of the functionality is contained within one large codebase and is tightly coupled together, microservices are fully independent.

SEE ALSO: Microservices: “Service landscapes are of great benefit to business agility but require very fast remediation cycles”

With these new and innovative microservices come many new challenges, such as securing, scaling and ensuring API performance when connecting services together. A massive 180 of the 200 surveyed agree that ensuring these connections are secure and keeping up performance at scale are some of the biggest technical challenges this century.

All this innovation can be a double-edged blade – microservices are necessary to ensure your company’s future success, but the report also found that 74 percent of the technology leaders were in agreement that a failed digital transformation could result in missing a promotion, losing a bonus or even losing their job. So no pressure.

Open source paves the way to digital innovation

Open source projects seem to be the stepping stones into the maze of microservices, with databases, like MongoDB, proving to be the most popular open source technology used among the respondents. Containers and API gateways placed in second and third place. Interestingly, the level of open source adoption is so high that a mere 8 percent of the 200 respondents do not use open source and are not planning to adopt it in the next 12 months.

SEE ALSO: No more n+1 problems with FaunaDB’s GraphQL API

It would be interesting to see this data for a bigger sample in the US, as well as to see how it compares with other places in the world. You can download the Kong 2020 Digital Innovation Benchmark report here for the price of your name, company and email address.

Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart is an Online Editor for He studied French at Somerville College, Oxford before moving to Germany in 2011. He speaks too many languages, writes a blog, and dabbles in card tricks.

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