Milliseconds Matter: The Business Impact of Data Responsiveness

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We’ve moved fully into a distant, hyper-connected society, where consumers expect services to be digital, instant, and hassle-free. As part of the new rules of this ‘now economy’, customer tolerance for latency is extremely low. Any page that takes longer than usual can lead to lost business.

When approaching applications in a world where milliseconds matter, data – more specifically managing said data efficiently – is the lifeblood of success. Over the decades, digital transformation efforts have provided us with a variety of data management solutions, including a range of different data models and technologies. Today, in order to stay afloat, organizations must prioritize data management to ensure data response is 24/7 and without hitches.

How consumer expectations have changed the way we manage data

High-performance business goals are the driving force behind data infrastructure changes and responsiveness. While IT-related service level concerns, such as security and availability, are certainly factors in a data management scenario, they rarely lead to transformative efforts. Undoubtedly, the biggest leaps in data management for an organization can be seen in projects that positively impact customer and employee relationships.

From a data management perspective, “customer-centricity” is all about delivering lower latency, faster application response times, and access to data in near real-time. Digital transformation is no longer a nice to have. The competitive pressure to continuously deliver the functionality needed faster, better and cheaper has not changed – in fact, it has been the only consistent KPI target for IT departments for decades. And the pandemic showed how weak the digital backbone was for many companies.

We are mainly used to a remote-first world: the days when customers have to do something personal without a digital option are numbered.

The great decoupling: freeing data from silo systems from registration

As enterprises expanded their digital services to remain competitive and relevant in today’s ‘now economy’, IT infrastructure turned into a ‘spaghetti mix’ of applications, APIs and Systems of Record (SoR), all entangled in constraints and dependencies. Adding a new service to this mix requires an ever-expanding patchwork of contingencies and time-consuming integration efforts, preventing companies from quickly responding to changing market needs with new digital services. This is a real barrier to innovation and a challenge that enterprises must overcome to truly realize their digital transformation vision.

One way to untangle this messy mix and simplify the digital offering scaling process is to decouple applications from their respective SoR. Removing this barrier simplifies the process of integrating new digital services into the existing IT architecture, dramatically shortening the launch cycles of new services. This in turn enables enterprises to rapidly introduce new real-time mobile services to their customers, meeting and exceeding their expectations.

Enterprises sit on an untapped gold mine of silo data. Whether it’s customer data or internal operational data, much of it is stored in disparate databases or SoR, either placed on-premises or in the cloud. Each application is constantly fed with data that has its own specific functionalities. As a result, executives lack a unified, holistic view of all their data. In a sense, data is locked within the confines of the applications designed to use it, even though it can be immensely valuable to other systems in the enterprise IT infrastructure.

By decoupling applications from SoR and including a digital integration hub, enterprises can pull their own data from silo databases and get a unified, 360-degree view of their customer, as well as operational and business data. This is the foundation for delivering an omnichannel experience and creating multiple, fully personalized customer touch points.

Data Responsiveness: Preparing for the Next Wave of Data Requirements

The demand for new digital services is expected to increase with the introduction of new protocols such as 5G. This growing demand will increase both data traffic and customer expectations for application performance. The evolution in customer demand will not be limited to mobile as a wave of new IoT devices and sensors will be introduced to the commercial market, both as standalone gadgets and embedded in other devices. This, in turn, will increase the complexity of managing all this data and preventing service outages.

As enterprises look ahead and plan for this anticipated increase in digital demand and data responsiveness, they need to ask themselves some tough questions. Is their current IT architecture prepared to support massive scale-up of digital services? Are they effectively using their development and data architect teams to create innovative new services that create real value for both customers and the business? Or do they spend too much time on repetitive data integration tasks? Finally, are they really using all the data their organization has collected over the years, or is it just sitting in a standalone database?

Adi Paz is the CEO of GigaSpaces.

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