In the business world, there’s nothing more frustrating than putting all your efforts—and resources—into implementing a data-backed decision, only to find that in the time it took to analyze the data, a new trend had already emerged. In the fast-paced world of digital transformation, that’s an increasingly common phenomenon—which is why real-time data streaming is such an important development.
How It’s Different
There’s been a lot of talk about big data in the past few years, from structured and unstructured data to batched data and data sets—so it’s important to understand how real-time data streaming fits in the mix. Essentially, real-time data streaming means capturing, analyzing, and in some cases acting upon data as it happens, rather than following the data-related event. You might think of it as “active data” versus “data at rest.” In the first case, the data—and trends associated with it—can change at a moment’s notice. With the latter, you’re looking backward to understand a data trend that may have already passed. The idea of getting data while it’s “fresh” allows for even faster decision-making power, which can mean big savings—or sales—in the digital marketplace.
How It Helps
So why would you want to capture data mid-stream? Aren’t solid trends usually what we’re after? Not always. With real-time data streaming, businesses can trend and make decisions before campaigns, products, or investments go pear-shaped. They can also optimize—and optimize again—as they discover positive feedback.
For instance, automated marketing campaigns can capture real-time data and automatically change aspects to elicit a stronger response. Websites can automatically change the design of their sites for individual users based on their real-time actions. Stock traders can automatically hand off stocks that aren’t performing as well as others—without waiting for the close of the bell. One retailer cut “abandoned” online transactions by 80 percent by applying real-time data analysis. Can you imagine a world where no opportunity is ever “too late” because you’re always in the middle of it? It’s like adding a pinch of magic—powerful magic—to every business decision.
How to Get It
If you understand the sheer power that goes into managing real-time data streaming, then you likely understand that it takes an equally powerful system to run it. For that reason, the best way to take advantage of it is to outsource it as a service. So—we’ve already got data as a service (DaaS). Are we seriously thinking of adding RTDSaaS to the growing aaS mix? Yes—if you know what’s good for you. Real-time data streaming allows you to make actionable insights instantly—taking the value of big data to a whole new level. And using streaming as a service allows you to scale your use or services—also in real time.
What to Keep in Mind
There is no magic bullet that will guarantee success for your business. Just as many companies found that collecting vast amounts of data did no good without a clear strategy for using it, you will find that data-streaming functions in much the same way. That means your company will need to put a lot of thought into which data will provide the insights you’re looking for—and how you plan to make decisions—quickly—to find value in those real-time results. You’ll also want to make sure your company culture and workflows are “real-time friendly.” It makes no sense to invest in real-time data streaming if you know your leadership will only proceed with decisions during monthly meetings or after wide-scale vote.
So, is real-time data streaming here to stay? With the impending growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), which demands the constant processing and automation of mass amounts of data, the answer is most decidedly “yes.” Although your company may be able to survive using resting data in today’s digital market—you likely won’t be able to survive tomorrow’s. And as we all know, any company that fails to think about the future is one that will surely not last.
Additional Resources on This Topic:
How Real-time Stream Processing Changes Everything About Big Data
Are Managers Utilizing the Information Big Data is Providing?
Big Data Integration Mistakes to Avoid
This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit IT Biz Advisor.