Today is all about real-time. Winning enterprises take data, process it, and use it to deliver an instantaneous experience to the customer.
Think about an organization where, at each moment, a recommendation engine is talking to every part of the business – sharing immediate data on live sales and inventory, the purchasing pipeline, and all the context that impacts the business (market conditions, supply chain issues, even weather). This is nirvana.
Enterprises that rely on processing data in batches and depend on analysts to review dashboards cannot deliver data-driven actions when it matters most – and they will be left behind.
The great news is that today we have the right technology to enable every app to meet every customer with a smart, real-time action. Let’s take a look at what real-time data can do and how to activate it in every app, for all your customers.
Where real-time data is today
Consumers love apps that meet them at the speed of life. Take Starbucks as an example. The Seattle-based coffee company’s app, with 31 million users, is the second most popular point-of-sale app, behind Apple Pay.
When a customer orders a drink via the Starbucks app, they expect it to be ready within minutes. They also expect real-time updates throughout the ordering process. And when a customer comes into a store, they get real-time recommendations, based on ordering preferences, past purchases, and even the season. Behind the scenes, Starbucks needs to ensure it has all the right ingredients, someone there to make the drink, an estimate of when the order will be ready for pickup, and the technology to communicate when the order is ready. All of this needs to happen in real-time.
It isn’t just consumer apps that have evolved. John Deere has built a tractor that’s fully autonomous, can be monitored and controlled by a smartphone, detects obstacles in milliseconds, and continuously checks and corrects its position with an accuracy of less than an inch.
Starbucks, John Deere, and so many other enterprises can’t deliver these experiences — or reap the rewards they offer — without the right tech stack.
The open data stack
The term ‘real-time’ has been around for a long time. ‘Reactive apps’ were promoted as the next big thing in the early 2000s. But the technology wasn’t there yet.
Today we have the right tech stack to enable every app to meet every customer with a real-time action. It’s not magic anymore. So, what do you need?
First of all, it’s critical to have a data store that’s optimized for customer context and instant access. It’s how you take advantage of your real-time data ‘at rest.’
NoSQL databases are optimized for modern data applications that require large data volume, low latency, and flexible data models. Apache Cassandra® is an obvious choice, with its high throughput and ability to support apps that are globally distributed and always-on.
Secondly, customer behaviors and actions need to become visible and available to all applications across an organization. This is where streaming comes in. A best-of-breed streaming system should not only pass events along from one service to another, but store them in a way that keeps their value for future usage. The system also needs to scale to manage tons of data and millions of messages per second – the kind of performance that real-time apps demand.
Apache Pulsar™ is an advanced, open-source streaming and messaging technology that’s ideal for handling real-time data. It was built for the high throughput and scalability that many data-driven applications require.
And finally, you need a way to empower your developers to make the most of real-time data. You need an API layer that lets them build apps with freedom of choice and without operational distractions. Stargate, for example, is an open source data API layer that sits between applications and the database, and offers a variety of endpoints for developers to build with.
We’ve thought a lot about these components at DataStax as we’ve built the real-time open data stack that just works. When enterprises can activate data in real-time, customers keep coming back, the experience keeps improving, and more value is delivered, faster.
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.