The art of real-time business

Agility is a characteristic desired by many organisations but possessed by few. With technology speeding up processes and condensing lag time, it’s a natural progression for organisations to have the ability to respond to external shifts quickly. In other words, operating in the real time is becoming a reality.

In today’s fast-moving world, the term “real-time” has gained significance amongst the business crowd, who think that instant result, feedback, or action, will give them an edge over the competition. In most cases, they are not wrong.

The demand for real-time capabilities often applies to the timeliness of information collection and delivery, as well as the latency between specific triggers and the organisation’s subsequent response. The idea is to make the organisation as agile and well-informed as it can be so as to build resilience and competitiveness.

This seems like a formidable task, but the good news is software advancements in the recent years have made going real-time more possible than ever. From analysing a high throughput of data as it come in to automating immediate responses to the insights obtained, software has truly allowed businesses to react, adapt, and grow at unprecedented levels.

It’s time to take software – and real-time businesses – to the next level  

In August of 2011, Marc Andreessen wrote what has now become one of the most famous quotes in our industry – “Software is eating the world.” For the most part, Andreessen’s prediction has come true.

We now live in a digital world where every company wants to tap on that upside growth potential of offering customers instant results. If there is a need to get tasks done, and done fast, to quote Apple, “there’s an app for that”. In other words, software is a bread-and-butter component of real-time business.

But when software application is ubiquitous, businesses need to push the boundaries of what software can achieve to really stand out from the crowd. The emergence of AIOps – the application of AI to business and management software – is one example where software can fundamentally transform entire business operations by automating tasks and providing real-time insights that would have been humanly impossible to achieve.

A widely known use case of AIOps is chatbots, which can provide humanlike responses to queries, give contextually relevant information 24/7, and free up employees for more complex interpersonal interactions. In other instances, AIOps solutions can predict, identify and develop prescriptive recommended solutions to issues in real time, such as abnormal network activities, through automation.

But incorporating AIOps into the IT workflow is not as easy as flipping a switch. For the integration to be a success, it is important to recognise your organisation’s key requirements and build data analytics capabilities around those..

Knowing what needs to be real-time

But real-time data delivery is not always applicable for everyone. In some cases, it’s simply not necessary. The idea behind the concept of real-time business is to push organisations towards getting from where they are to where they want to be in the shortest time possible. For some, that means seconds; for others, that means hours, or days.

Even within an organisation, executives need to carefully assess which functions need to be taken into the real time, and whether they have the right IT infrastructures and good operational processes to power that reality. To put it simply, it’s about maximising the synergy of human-machine partnerships, and where human abilities are limited, technology must be able to take over.

Network security is one example where real-time visibility and actions will determine the viability of the entire business. IT professionals today can tap on software analytics tools and robotic process automation, such as AIOps solutions, to scan complex environments and detect anomalies in a split second, allowing the IT team to take immediate actions.

Such speed might not be possible in sales and marketing, but that doesn’t mean that businesses shouldn’t strive to shorten their response time to market shifts. The real-time element is especially important when customers are concerned. Streaming data – customer feedback, for instance – just as it comes in, to product managers, software developers, and customer support teams allows for improvements and enhancements at a speed that post-experience customer surveys cannot deliver. Change might not happen instantly, but timely insights and appropriate actions are truly the path to improving performance and customer satisfaction.

Businesses need to understand that obtaining data in milliseconds is only half of the equation. The other half is what they can do about it.

Thanks to software, real-time knowledge and actions have transformed the business landscape, on top of fuelling the fast-moving world we live in today. When customers demand for “right now” and nothing less, companies have little choice but to dynamically adapt, and having strategic real-time capabilities will allow them to rise above the competition.