The world really is event-driven. Big cloud providers and tech analysts agree, including Amazon’s CTO, Dr Werner Vogels, who made the point in his “The world is event-driven” keynote speech at AWS re:Invent in December 2022. Groundbreaking new research from IDC shows that 90% of the world’s largest companies will use real-time intelligence by 2025, powered by event-streaming technologies.
In the aftermath of recent global and geopolitical events, more and more businesses – from retail and financial services to manufacturing and energy and resources – understand the need to identify and react in real time to key issues across all their product lines, supply chains, and geographies. The word is out: EDA is now “crossing the chasm” and going mainstream.
Five steps on the journey to EDA success
Many companies are well on their EDA journey, while others are just starting out. Their collective experience is vital for building a roadmap to reap the benefits of event-streaming technologies. A recent IDC Infobrief surveyed over 300 enterprise IT professionals in Asia, North America, and Europe. All the respondents work for large companies that are implementing or considering EDA. The results are quite telling: An overwhelming 93% of respondents at companies that have deployed EDA across multiple use cases said EDA has either met or exceeded their expectations. In addition to technical advantages from EDA, most businesses also see clear business benefits: 23% of respondents reported increased productivity, 22% cited better customer acquisition, and 18% saw revenues increase as a result of their EDA efforts.
This rings true in Singapore as well. About 65% of respondents in the city-state have reported that the return on investment received from deploying EDA has either met or exceeded their expectations. Business benefits such as increased productivity (17.4%), improved customer acquisition (17.5%), and increased revenue (17.4%) were experienced as part of their EDA adoption.
But what’s the secret behind such success? What are the things to do and things to avoid? Survey respondents graciously stepped up, providing five key considerations for delivering EDA success, based on their own experiences of adopting and implementing the technology.
- Securing support from the C-suite, lines of business, and IT departments is critical, particularly during the initial stages
Expanding the footprint of EDA across the enterprise is a journey. Every journey starts by assembling those who are critical to its overall success. Business sponsorship and engaging key stakeholders are vital, especially in the early days of EDA adoption. In this phase, 56% of respondents considered this a priority when ROI and business benefits may not be immediately clear.
Thankfully, as maturity increases and both business impact and use cases become more apparent, the need for explicit business support becomes less critical. Around 35% of respondents at an advanced stage of EDA rollout felt C-level support was critical.
The impact of well-aligned C-suite, operational, and technical teams reflects business-level digital maturity as well. Respondents with higher levels of EDA maturity also demonstrate higher levels of overall digital maturity, including the digital strategy and change management support necessary to sustain digital business initiatives.
- IT support is also key to directly address technical complexity and prepare for its increase
As EDA becomes more pervasive across an organisation, the associated demands on IT become more sophisticated. This requires a deepening of EDA skills within the IT organisation, particularly among developers and architects. 36.1% of respondents indicated that a lack of skills to implement EDA is a hurdle to adoption. Logging methods, governance approaches, and oversight (cited by 30.7% of respondents) can also become increasingly challenging and must be thoughtfully planned.
This is where EDA providers themselves need to step up and provide sufficient training, as well as a certification path for architects and developers aiming to acquire the fundamental skills and knowledge to design and implement event-driven systems. Such training should encompass technical details, such as understanding various design patterns for EDA, the difference between microservices choreography and orchestration, the saga pattern, and RESTful microservices. The education provided should also clearly outline and demonstrate crucial concepts and tools for successful EDA implementation, such as the event portal, best practices for topic hierarchy, and event mesh.
- Communication is key: communicate benefits of EDA across the organisation to create alignment between IT and business
Taking the company along for the entire journey is essential. The research highlights various challenges at different stages of EDA maturity. In the early stages, a lack of understanding of EDA benefits and inconsistent buy-in are the most frequently cited organisational challenges, at 38%. As organisations progress to a centralised EDA status, cost concerns (42%) and identifying the right use cases (36%) can hamper success. In more advanced stages, lack of understanding of EDA benefits (45%) and cost concerns (39%) remain, but resistance to change (38%) emerges as a major hurdle.
A continuous focus on change management and communication of business benefits is vital to overcoming these challenges. The core group of invested stakeholders who initiated the journey must collaborate to clearly and consistently demonstrate the value of EDA to other business areas on a regular basis.
- The yardstick of EDA success changes and adoption grows; adapt accordingly
The metrics for gauging EDA success differ as adoption matures over time.
In the initial stages, less EDA-mature organisations prioritise “cost reduction” (23%) and “number of projects completed” (31%) as their leading indicators of success. In the medium term, after the implementation of two or three use cases, the focus generally shifts to “operational stability” and “number of projects” as key performance metrics. Upon broader adoption, “increased revenue” (43%), “operational stability” (32%), and “level of resiliency” (30%) emerge as more critical criteria.
This changing set of performance metrics mirrors the maturity curve of EDA adoption across a business’s diverse applications. When a business deploys EDA across its key customer, employee, and supplier-facing units, it operates in real time. This is where high revenue is generated across the organisation. As such, stability and resilience become pivotal for maintaining seamless operations, often on a global scale spanning hundreds of locations or product lines.
- Drive EDA success with partner support: It’s all about effective change management, and not going soft in the middle
To accelerate business and technical benefits and reduce the impact of challenges, survey respondents cited “finding a supportive partner to assist with the implementation of EDA” (37.7%) as a critical consideration. Partnerships and product integrations with the providers of preferred business software and SaaS services can make it easy to event-enable an organisation. Given the amount of new technical skills and learning previously cited, this can provide peace of mind for organisations taking their first steps on the journey to EDA.
EDA isn’t just a change in IT architecture, it’s a mindset that applies to modern business leadership organisation wide. To keep the momentum during the journey, respondents also noted the use of a robust change management plan that “ensures coordinated middle-management support” (35.1%), as they are typically accountable for getting work delivered and reporting across the organisation.
Respondents cited that top-down or bottom-up change management sometimes misses the tactical needs of middle managers. As a result, management needs to integrate its people and digital systems to join together in shared decision making.
The march to EDA is on
The findings of this InfoBrief demonstrate that event-driven architecture is now the standard approach through which businesses achieve real-time capabilities. By understanding these five key requirements as they deploy their EDA journey, organisations across a range of industries can unlock the full potential of real-time movement of their critical business data.