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Need for Speed: Event-driven Thinking for a Connected India

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Driven partially by the pandemic-induced dependence on digital services and regulatory push under the Digital India scheme, investments in digital spending in India show no signs of slowing down. According to Gartner, all segments of IT spending are projected to have positive growth through 2022.  Coupled with the proliferation of mobile devices, as well as wider adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning in recent years, India’s data explosion is bringing about a new wave of opportunities and demand for real-time responsiveness. The ultimate goal is to raise operational efficiency and productivity, for businesses to make better, informed decisions, and enhance customer experience.

An example of how leveraging digital technologies and real-time data can help meet the demands of urban mobility needs is the Smart City Ahmedabad Development Limited (SCADL) initiative. The transmission of real-time data between sensors and systems within its network of public buses enabled transport operators and authorities to build a safer, more reliable bus system that could scale with the city’s expanding footfall.

Making sense of the need for real-time response

Despite its clear benefits, the digital transformation journey for some businesses has been an uphill battle. For one, the real-time delivery of data is challenging, given the sheer volume and complexity of data that organisations collect. Particularly in industries such as aviation, financial services and telecommunications, where real-time delivery of data is mission critical, it is highly crucial that businesses have the ability to not only notify and communicate with multiple applications, but also take action in real-time. In the foreign exchange market for example, trading systems have to handle massive volumes of FX trading demands while maintaining low latency. Imagine the dire consequences should there be interrupted and inconsistent market data on the trading floor. Time is money; a delay of mere seconds could result in severe financial losses, and this is just referring to data alone.

Understanding and adopting “event-driven thinking”

While the digital transformation initiatives vary widely in terms of purpose, scale, and impact, one thing  they have in common is the massive amount of events and data that will be generated. On a typical day, organisations deal with many digital ‘events’ – business activities – that come from sources like IoT devices or business applications which are triggered by human actions, nature, and software systems or devices. These events occur across multiple lines of business and interact in real-time with a variety of applications in different cloud environments.

With the ubiquity of mobile computing, machine learning and IoT, businesses are collecting information and firing events throughout the enterprise and supply chain, to the customer base and the world at large. This means that adopting “event-driven thinking” is central for businesses to truly be able to respond to events in real-time.

According to Gartner, event-sourced, real-time situational awareness will be a required characteristic for 80 percent of new digital business solutions by 2022. The demand for organisations to operate in real-time means that they must adopt an event-driven strategy rather than only reacting to point needs. Understanding how event-driven architecture can transform the prepaid mobility stack system in India, Airtel overhauled their file-based provisioning system to better respond to events in real-time. They managed to drastically improve customer satisfaction—with 97 percent of customers receiving requested services within seconds—while also distributing resources more efficiently by providing headroom for customer service consultants to focus on more complex support requests.

The way forward for businesses

The increasing sophistication and prevalence of connected devices, industrial control systems and sensor networks is changing the way people live and work. Businesses that wish to thrive in the digital economy need to constantly be a step ahead, anticipating customer needs and responding quickly.

A critical decision for any successful digital transformation initiative is determining how that data will move through an increasingly distributed enterprise, as it has a direct impact on the reliability, scalability, and performance of any application.

After all, the value of data depreciates exponentially with time. Adopting an event-driven architecture as the backbone of their infrastructure will provide businesses with the agility to capitalize on critical business moments necessary for real-time responsiveness. Only businesses that are able to leverage and enable the flow of events will be able to innovate faster and stay ahead of the curve.

(The author is Sumeet Puri, Chief Technology Solutions Officer, Solace and the views expressed in the article are his own)

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