How Event-Driven Architectures Drive Real-Time Operations

People, events, the human brain—in fact, the whole world operate in real-time, but businesses have struggled to keep up. With the help of event-driven architecture (EDA) and the Open API economy, businesses can now do the same. The power of an event-driven world means that, after years of geopolitical events affecting how businesses operate, many businesses are starting to uncover real value by truly being able to operate in real-time.

Whether it be retail and manufacturing or energy and resources and financial services, locating and responding to vital issues within a company’s supply chains or product lines in real-time, is key to success.

Amazon’s CTO, Dr. Werner Vogels, said that “the world is event driven” in his keynote speech at AWS re:Invent in December 2022. Now, new IDC research unveils that nine out of 10 of the world’s largest companies will deploy real-time intelligence driven by event-streaming technologies by 2025.

But What’s the Secret Behind Such Success?

A recent IDC Infobrief, sponsored by Solace, surveyed over 300 enterprise IT professionals in North America, Asia and Europe, all of whom work for large companies implementing or considering EDA. The results are quite telling–an overwhelming 93% of respondents at companies that have deployed EDA across multiple use cases said EDA has either met or exceeded their expectations. In addition to technical advantages from EDA, most businesses also see clear business benefits: A full 23% of respondents reported increasing productivity; 22% said better customer acquisition and 18% saw revenues increase as a result of EDA efforts.

1. Get Support From the Top to Ensure Alignment Throughout

Expanding the footprint of EDA across the enterprise is a journey, and every journey starts by assembling those that are critical to its overall success. Business sponsorship and engaging key stakeholders is vital, especially in the early days of EDA adoption – 56% of respondents in the early EDA stages cited this as a priority when ROI and business benefits may not be immediately clear.

The impact of well-aligned C-suite, operational and technical teams is reflective of business-level digital maturity, too. As 35% of respondents at an advanced stage of EDA rollout felt C-level support was critical, it comes as no surprise that respondents with higher levels of EDA maturity also have higher levels of overall digital maturity, including digital strategy and change management support.

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2. Tackle Complexities Head-On With the Backing of IT

As EDA becomes more pervasive across an organization, demands on IT become more sophisticated, requiring a deepening of EDA skills in the IT organization, notably with DevOps teams, developers and architects. More than one-third (36.1%) of respondents cited the lack of skills to execute EDA as a hurdle to adoption. Approaches to logging, governance and oversight (30.7%) can also become increasingly challenging and must be thought through carefully.

This is where EDA providers themselves need to step up and provide adequate training and a certification path for architects DevOps and developers looking to gain the fundamental knowledge and skills to design and implement event-driven systems. This should include technical details such as understanding various design patterns for EDA, microservices choreography versus orchestration, the saga pattern and RESTful microservices. Education should also clearly define and demonstrate key concepts and tools for EDA success, such as event portal, topic hierarchy best practices and event mesh.

3. The Benchmark for Success Chops and Changes: Businesses Need to Go With the Flow

The right measures of EDA success in the early days of adoption are not the same measures as EDA adoption grows over time.

Fewer EDA-mature organizations cited “cost reduction” (23%) and “number of projects completed” (31%) as top measures of success. In the medium term, after two or three use cases, most organizations saw “operational stability” along with “number of projects” to measure success. Further, after broad adoption, “increased revenue” (43%), “operational stability” (32%) and “amount of resiliency” (30%) become more important measures.

This changing set of measures is reflective of the maturity curve of EDA adoption across multiple applications within a business’s ecosystem. A business is truly operating in real-time when deploying EDA across key customer-facing, employee-facing and supplier-facing organizations. This is where revenue is being generated in high volumes, organization-wide – hence stability and resilience become key to ensuring things continue to run smoothly on what can often be a global scale.

4. Keep Everyone in the Loop

It is essential to take the company with you along the entire journey. The research showed the bumps in the roadmap. In the early stages of EDA maturity, lack of understanding of EDA benefits and inconsistent buy-in are the most frequently cited organizational challenges (38%). As organizations progress to a centralized EDA status, cost concerns (42%) and finding the right use cases (36%) can hamper success. More advanced stages of EDA also cite a lack of understanding of EDA benefits (45%), and cost concerns (39%) but change resistance (38%) becomes a major hurdle.

Continuous focus on change management and communicating business benefits is vital. The core group of invested stakeholders who began the journey must band together to demonstrate the value of EDA clearly and consistently to other areas of the business on a regular basis.

5. Recognize the Benefits That Partners Bring to the Table

To accelerate business and technical benefits and reduce the impact of challenges, survey respondents cited “finding a supportive partner to assist with the implementation of EDA” (37.7%) as a critical consideration. Partnerships and product integrations with the providers of preferred business software and SaaS services can make it easy to event-enable an organization. Given the amount of new technical skills and learning previously cited, this can provide peace of mind for organizations taking their first steps on the journey to EDA.

EDA isn’t just a change in IT architecture, it’s a mindset that applies to modern business leadership organization-wide. To keep the momentum during the journey, respondents also noted the use of a robust change management plan that “ensures coordinated middle management support” (35.1%), as they are typically accountable for getting work delivered and reporting across the organization.

EDA Becomes the Norm

The InfoBrief results speak for themselves – EDA is quickly becoming the “normal” process for businesses looking to operate in real-time. As more and more companies recognize the business benefits at stake, understanding these five requirements will be a necessity for successful EDA deployment.