By Chet Kapoor, Chairman and CEO, DataStax
There is no doubt that this decade will see more data produced than ever before.
But what’s truly going to transform our lives, define the trajectory of each of our organizations, and reshape industries is not the massive volume of data. It’s the unmatched degree to which this data can now be activated in applications that drive action in real time: minute by minute (or even second by second), across work, play, and commerce. Where technology might have been a constraint in the past, it’s now an enabler.
Here, we’ll take a look at why real-time apps are no longer just the domain of internet giants and discuss three ways that your organization can move toward delivering real-time data.
The future is here
IDC predicts that by next year there will be more than 500 million new cloud native digital apps and services – more than the total created over the past 40 years.
We’re already living in this future. We get turn-by-turn driving directions while listening to an AI-recommended playlist, and then arrive at the exact time our e-commerce order is brought to us curbside – along with a cup of hot coffee.
The real-time data powering apps that change industries is no longer just offered by a Google or a Spotify.
Companies like Target excel at it. The retailer delights customers with an app that shows users what they most want to see, ensures no one ever misses a deal, has a near-perfect record of intelligent substitutions for out-of-stock items, and gets users their orders on their terms (and it might just include a drink from Starbucks, another enterprise that is a real-time app powerhouse).
Smaller businesses are making real-time data core to their offerings, too. Ryzeo offers a marketing platform that leverages real-time data generated by events on its clients’ e-commerce websites. An item that a shopper views or searches for instantly results in an AI-driven recommendation through its “suggested items.” Real-time data – and the technology that supports it – is how Ryzeo makes this happen.
Inaction isn’t an option
The door is open to you and your organization, too.
The best-of-breed technologies that power winning real-time apps are open source and available as a service, on demand to all. There are tons of proven use cases across industries. When you leverage these use cases and technologies, there’s a big payoff – you increase your organization’s ability to innovate and turn data into delightful customer experiences.
This will not only transform how your business grows, but how your business works.
As consumers, we never want to go back to dumb apps that evolve slowly, don’t know our context, and fail to act intelligently on our behalf. In fact, we desire the opposite.
When you put the customer’s digital experience at the center of agile workflows, make fast decisions, and rapidly iterate, you create a powerful feedback loop. Every win shows the power of a new and more fulfilling way of working. So does every failure – by providing valuable learnings.
The one thing you can count on is that inaction is not an option. And at this moment in time, why would we want to wait?
There is no doubt that real time data can reduce waste, increase safety, help the environment, make people happier and healthier. And we’re only just getting started.
So how do you get started? You can make three important choices right now to set your organization on a path to excel at delivering real-time data.
Step 1: Pick up the right tools
The technology to deliver outstanding, data-powered, real-time experiences has arrived – and we’ve got it in spades. The best of breed tools are open source. They grew out of the “best of the internet” to solve novel problems about scale and data velocity. Apache Cassandra®, for example, was developed at Facebook to manage massive amounts of messaging data.
Joining the open source ecosystem means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This is important because what sets your organization’s real-time data experiences apart won’t be the infrastructure. It’ll be how you put your domain knowledge to use in new ways that delight your users.
Most of these technologies are available on demand as-a-service to everyone. If you didn’t add them to your data infrastructure yesterday, do it today.
Step 2: Assemble the right teams
When every company is a software company, every executive must also be a software executive. This includes your line of business owners, general managers, and functional leaders.
Winning companies reorganize team structures and accountability to match. The days of data scientists experimenting alone in an ivory tower and developers working under requirements that were “thrown over the wall” to IT are over. “The business” can no longer think of data and technology as “IT’s problem.”
All of your employees need to be trained to identify and capitalize on opportunities for using data and technology to drive business results. Your line of business owners must be held accountable for making it happen.
To empower them, assign your developers, data scientists, and technical product managers to cross-functional teams working side-by-side with their business domain colleagues that own customer experiences. This is a ticket out of “pilot purgatory” and a key to democratizing innovation across your company.
Step 3: Ask the right questions
As you advance on your journey, more and more smart systems will be working every minute of every day to answer your industry’s key questions, like “what’s the most compelling personalized offer for this customer?” or “what’s the optimal inventory for each store location?”
What those systems can’t do is ask questions that only humans can, such as “how do we want to evolve our relationship with our customers?” Or “how can we deploy our digital capabilities in ways that differentiate us from our competitors?”
No algorithm is going to kick out the brilliant and empathetic idea to “Show Us Your Tarzhay,” which turned what might have otherwise been the unfortunate necessity of having to shop on a limited budget into the opportunity to celebrate and share a distinctive personal style. Similarly, it took human creativity to expand the concept from clothing into a new category (groceries).
If you take the first two steps listed above, you will start to free up your people’s time to ask creative questions and improve their ability to deliver on the answers using best-of-breed technology. Equip, challenge, and inspire them to think big about where you want to take your customers next, and you’ll get your organization moving in the right direction to provide the benefits of real-time data to your customers.
Learn more about DataStax here.
About Chet Kapoor:
Chet is Chairman and CEO of DataStax. He is a proven leader and innovator in the tech industry with more than 20 years in leadership at innovative software and cloud companies, including Google, IBM, BEA Systems, WebMethods, and NeXT. As Chairman and CEO of Apigee, he led company-wide initiatives to build Apigee into a leading technology provider for digital business. Google (Apigee) is the cross-cloud API management platform that operates in a multi- and hybrid-cloud world. Chet successfully took Apigee public before the company was acquired by Google in 2016. Chet earned his B.S. in engineering from Arizona State University.