It was interesting to see at last year’s SAP Sapphire conference such a focus around mobility. To be honest my first impression was, haven’t we had mobility for a long time. The discussion began with the in-memory computing and touting the capability of generating analytics based on real-time transactional data. So I thought about this a bit further. I worked in an environment that was not very mobile in general. The obvious downside is you don’t get out much. But one of the benefits is that, as things happen within your organization you are in the know. You have by nature of being close to one another, the ability to access real-time information. So it began to click for me, why this concept is so strongly related to mobility. If you can have access to real-time information from anywhere you are no longer confounded by the old principles of having all of your work-force together in order to keep real-time communications alive.
Last year Google announced “Caffeine”. This may have been lost on many people, but I have spent a great deal of energy around the subject of search engine optimization. Caffeine is an update to Google’s indexing of all Internet content. Google crawls the Internet looking for keyword relevance and updates in website content. What might have indexed over months is now happening within seconds. It used to be that the fight among search engines was about which search engine database was the largest and most relevant. It’s still about those two items, but now you can add real-time to that list of competitive advantages.
It’s interesting that two industry giants with completely different focuses have arrived at the same conclusion. Then I started to think about what other companies have brought us real-time information. So of course social media was next. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all provide real-time communications. So it’s pretty clear now that the competitive advantage in service delivery is keeping people in the know, in real-time. The pursuit of real-time translates into informational relevance and it becomes the backbone of what mobility is really all about. It has less to do with your laptop or smart phone having access to corporate data. In fact, the device in many ways is irrelevant. It’s the access to real-time information that makes it so significant.
If this is the new benchmark of information management success, there is going to be a much different corporate reality in our near future. Part of what interests me about this notion of real-time information is that we are becoming a transactionally aware culture. We used to mull over historical data, run our analytic tools against them, only to find out our trends to help predict strategic direction. Historically we had no relation to the transactions of our business. We would warehouse this data and then come to learn something about it later.
Today, a new generation has plugged themselves into a set of tools that keeps them up to date in real-time. They are no longer looking at historical data, because they are experiencing for the first time the transactional world. Something those of us who are older have never been able to do. Whether we agree or not, we can see the trend where decisions are being made with the transactional data being gathered in the data warehouse of one’s own mind. It’s the same thing that has killed in-depth journalism in the media. So it’s not outlandish to think that the framework of what we determine as business intelligence will change as well. This should create an even faster changing business landscape. Real-time data, mobility, and transactional awareness become the new reality and we have to find a new way of providing real-time analytics to keep business intelligence relevant.