Now we are talking about a new type of real-time system that alerts business mangers to critical business events or thresholds so corrective action can be immediately taken. Why is the notion of real-time spreading throughout the enterprise and making its way into the command and control systems of business managers?
The answer lies in the changing nature of business.
One of the most important changes is in the way a business interacts with its customers…Worldwide operations, and multiple points of customer access made possible via the Internet have transformed “regular business hours” into 24×7. Therefore, managing these customer interactions, through multiple channels, has become a 24×7 effort. Real-time access to data is becoming more important to enable access to all relevant customer information, regardless of the system it resides in, to resolve customer inquiries and problems quickly, preferably while the customer is making the inquiry.
Another important business change has been in the production process itself…Competitive advantage belongs to companies that can manufacture to order.
To effectively compete in the changing 24×7 global economy, it is becoming apparent that companies need more real time visibility into their critical business processes and data. And just as real time instruments are deployed to monitor and manage only critical processes and conditions, the same should apply to real-time business processes.
While emerging technology such as Business Process Management (BPM) software is providing the ability for business managers to have real-time visibility into their business processes, the real question is what should they be tracking in real-time? What belongs on that dashboard? This is a question that is more difficult to answer, because the mission critical metrics that a business needs to follow in real-time differ from industry to industry and even among businesses within an industry. This is the area of true competitive advantage.
While RTE is becoming increasingly real, companies should focus on the most critical business processes for real-time monitoring and management. In most cases, batch or almost-real time (fast enough or faster than before) will suffice. In fact, just streamlining business processes may in the short run provide a larger ROI for companies than implementing a costly and complex real-time infrastructure.
We have been working on a number of ideas to enable the intelligent, real-time enterprise – the Digital Dashboard, Event Builder, RSS Aggregators, an integrated eBusiness suite. I’ll write more on these some time soon.