No matter what your industry, business velocity continues increasing exponentially. Experts estimate that \n\nthe average large enterprise is inundated with as many as one million events per second. To keep pace and \n\nstay ahead of the competition, today's CIO must be able to respond to changing conditions on a dime, even \n\nin the face of today's massive data volumes. Each enterprise must be able to handle high volumes of data \n\nfrom disparate sources\u2014data that arrives in continuous streams, shows complex patterns and demands \n\nimmediate response. \n MORE ON agility\n \n Agility Resources\n \n Is SOA Another Fake Path to IT Agility?\n \n Measure Your IT Agility\n Merely processing this information is insufficient. CIOs must strive to create an instantly responsive \n\nenterprise\u2014one that addresses these huge volumes of information in real time, creating immediate \n\nand valuable insights that can be acted on at a moment's notice. In today's competitive environment, IT \n\nmust rapidly recognize trends and patterns and proactively use the information to deliver strategic \n\nbusiness knowledge and enable real-time decision making. Making this transition requires a new approach. CIOs need event-driven computing capabilities that \n\ninstantaneously filter, aggregate and correlate events. Although event-driven computing does exist in \n\nsome limited niche deployments, it has until recently been unavailable on a broad scale. However, some \n\nvendors are now beginning to bring event-driven computing into mainstream IT environments by embedding \n\ncapabilities into existing service-oriented architecture (SOA) deployments. The result is a new approach called event-driven SOA. Event-driven SOA creates a foundation for \n\napplying processes, patterns and business logic to raw data. It combines the request-and-response \n\nparadigm of SOA with the publish-and-subscribe model of an event-driven architecture. Event-driven SOA \n\nalso allows designers to map application design to the business problem, which typically consists of both \n\nevents and request-response interactions. By combining service orientation and event processing with \n\ntechnologies such as business process management, business activity monitoring and enterprise service \n\nbuses, event-driven SOA creates extreme agility. In fact, in a recent survey of IT decision makers, more than 70 percent of respondents indicated that \n\nthey were already considering event-driven computing in the context of these SOA technologies. Clearly \n\nthese leading IT organizations are looking toward event-driven SOA as the next step in driving their \n\nbusiness at light speed. Creating the Instantly Responsive EnterpriseEvent-driven SOA allows applications to react intelligently to changes in conditions, whether the \n\nchange is the impending failure of a hard drive or a sudden change in stock prices. The degree of access \n\nand visibility that event-driven SOA provides allows companies to anticipate or predict customer needs, \n\nmake faster decisions, and take action that benefits the business and its stakeholders. The fictitious company "Acme Toys" could be used to illustrate an example of how event-driven SOA can \n\nincrease visibility and revenue. As the holidays approached, the company continuously reviewed its \n\ncustomer order data in real time, using data feeds that were generated at point-of-sale retail outlets \n\nand fed into the central business activity monitoring system. On the first day of its holiday sale, Acme \n\nfound that "driving" games were selling poorly and that demand for adventure games was almost double what \n\nhad been predicted. Based on this insight, the retailer alerted its manufacturers, distributors and \n\npoint-of-sale locations. These supply chain partners revised production orders, prepared to ship \n\nincreased volumes of adventure game videos and got ready to stock adventure game videos. As a result, the manufacture of adventure games was increased and production of driving games was \n\ndecreased, making the better-selling games available for sale at the retailer's outlets. The retailer \n\nalso instructed its distributors to discount the price of the driving games, thereby increasing sales of \n\nan otherwise slow-moving product. In reading the signals in real time, Acme Toys was able to clearly \n\nunderstand market demand and respond instantly\u2014maximizing profitability in the bargain. The benefits of an event-driven SOA approach are clear. By enabling the instantly responsive \n\nenterprise, event-driven SOA can help increase revenues by boosting customer satisfaction, managing \n\nexceptions efficiently, enhancing product and service offerings, and improving competitive agility. \n\nOperating costs shrink through increased value chain visibility and reduced customer acquisition costs. \n\nAs a result, market leadership grows through faster time to market and superior support and service. Looking at Event-Driven SOA HolisticallyTo help their enterprises become instantly responsive, CIOs must begin making the transition to \n\nevent-driven computing. The first step is to consider a complete event-driven SOA foundation that not \n\nonly addresses today's business problems but can also be scaled up and out to handle tomorrow's \n\nchallenges. CIOs must build this foundation using a platform approach to event processing. Although point \n\nsolutions can seem cost-effective, they may not scale to handle the increased throughput, responsiveness \n\nand complexity that will surely be required in the future. Only when a CIO creates the appropriate \n\nframework, infrastructure, architecture and data feeds can the IT organization support the enterprise and \n\nits revenue growth without pain. Looking forward, enterprises must be prepared to cope with a rapid proliferation of data sources and \n\nthe increased interconnectedness of these sources. When combined with the ever-tighter turnaround times \n\ndemanded by customers\u2014and often met by competitors\u2014these forces will conspire to render \n\ntraditional application development approaches inadequate and even counterproductive. To prepare for this future, today's CIO must embrace new elements within the enterprise IT \n\ninfrastructure. Critical components include event processing technologies with both the right paradigm \n\nand the necessary performance to effectively model this new reality. Supporting applications that process \n\nmillions of transactions per second will require an IT infrastructure robust enough to provide the higher \n\nlevels of availability, security and throughput needed as business velocity continues to intensify. Taking steps to become an instantly responsive enterprise requires strategic planning and commitment \n\nfrom decision makers. Fortunately, the technology and expertise to expedite this transition is coming to \n\nmarket today. When expertly deployed, these event-driven SOA initiatives can help real-time CIOs truly \n\nenable the business to operate at light speed. Guy Churchward is vice president of engineering at BEA Systems, and oversees product strategy and \n\ndevelopment in the areas of virtualization\/utility computing, and event-driven architecture (EDA), \n\nincluding real-time and complex event processing, portals and Java Virtual Machine technology.