Real-Time Data Streaming Delivers, and the Data Finally Shows It


Harnessing the full power of real-time data streams delivers great value, but is difficult for many organizations. The top hurdle is integrating multiple data sources.

Real-time data streams have been moving into enterprises for some time now, and finally, there is data that shows it is delivering business growth and customer satisfaction. However, data integration is a hurdle to realizing its full benefits.

That’s the word from a recent survey of 1,950 technology executives, conducted by Lawless Research and underwritten by Confluent, which finds that 97% of organizations are actively tapping into real-time data streams. More than 80% of organizations report real-time data streams are critical to building responsive business processes and rich customer experiences.

The results are compelling. A majority of companies with widespread access to real-time data, 56%,  report higher revenue growth than competitors. At least 63% saw annual revenue growth of 10% or more during the most recent fiscal year.

“Real-time data streams are becoming core to how we serve customers and run our business,” says Yael Gomez, VP, Global IT, Integration and Intelligent Automation, Walgreens Boots Alliance, quoted in the study. “We can manage customer engagement. Ensure vaccine and testing accessibility for patients, and enable a differentiated online retail proposition. An organization-wide IT modernization effort has led to an increasingly seamless omnichannel experience wherever customers choose to interact with us, across our pharmacies, retail stores, or online and mobile properties.”

See also: How Events and APIs Enable Modern Real-Time Applications

However, for many companies, there is still a lot of work to be done before the value of real-time data streaming is fully realized. The survey finds harnessing the full power of real-time data streams is difficult for many organizations. Sixty percent say difficulties integrating multiple data sources are the biggest hurdle to accessing more real-time data. In addition, only 39% of respondents say they’re “completely prepared” to operate in a hybrid cloud environment, where some of their data is in the cloud, and some are still on-premises.

The survey identified three key trends:

Data in motion boosts customer engagement and the bottom line. “A majority of IT and engineering leaders have access to real-time data streams and are realizing the value of this information in creating rich experiences for their customers. 56%with widespread access to real-time data streams report revenue growth higher, or much higher, than their competitors.

More than three-fourths of organizations, 76%, say they would “lose customers without access to the insights they glean from real-time data streams today, with retailers being the most likely to suffer. Even more – 8 in 10 – say that real-time data streams are very, or extremely important when it comes to building rich customer experiences.”

Real-time data streaming is essential but challenging. Seventy-six percent of executives say that timely integration of real-time data from different applications is very or extremely important for mission-critical processes within their organizations. But 40% report difficulty integrating data in a timely way. “Many businesses lack the architecture to integrate and take advantage of information that flows from so many disparate sources – data that ideally would be within easy reach of any user. 60% say difficulties integrating multiple data sources is the top hurdle to accessing more real-time data.”

Success in the cloud demands real-time data streaming. “Most organizations are moving their historically on-premises data to the cloud – making the data even more difficult to access, synchronize and govern; 68% of IT leaders say real-time data synchronization between data environments is very, or extremely, critical to their revenue goals” for this year.


About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor and industry analyst focusing on artificial intelligence, digital, cloud and Big Data topics. His work also appears in Forbes an Harvard Business Review. Over the last three years, he served as co-chair for the AI Summit in New York, as well as on the organizing committee for IEEE's International Conferences on Edge Computing. (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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