Whether your organization needs simple pub/sub messaging, real-time data analytics, or a complete digital transformation, event streaming technology brings a myriad of benefits for the new era of big data.
How much value can your organization expect from adopting an event streaming platform? The answer is, “It depends.” It depends on how far your business progresses along the path from early, small-scale projects to a full-on enterprise-wide event-driven architecture. Those early use cases will almost always provide some value, but they will ultimately pale in comparison to the transformational value realized by organizations that have more fully matured in their use of event streaming.
Recently, Enterprise Management Associates® (EMA™) released a new e-book titled Recognizing the Full Value of Event Streaming: Beyond Messaging to Meaning. In a section on the power of systematic thinking, the e-book touches upon the progression that most organizations make on their event streaming journey, often beginning with a single point-to-point use case, evolving to multiple streams, and from there to a connected ecosystem that spans most, if not all areas, of the business. This concept is reflected in the maturity model that we at Confluent use to describe and convey the added value that organizations realize as they mature in their use of event streaming with Confluent Platform or Confluent Cloud.
When an organization is just starting out with event streaming, the initial focus is typically on single solutions. Here, in the first two stages of maturity, simple pub/sub use cases are common as developers learn about event streams and complete early experiments with Apache Kafka®. These experiments lead to early pilot projects, for example, data pipelines to address specific production use cases.
As the organization progresses, it begins to reuse data streams across clusters of applications, powering real-time data analytics and other mission-critical use cases. At this point, the perception of event streaming within the organization begins to shift. Instead of thinking in terms of individual projects for which event streaming is a good fit, teams begin to adopt a broader perspective, in which the event streaming platform comes into view.
As the business begins relying on the event streaming platform for the majority of mission-critical use cases across connected lines of business, platform effects begin amplifying the value of event streaming. The organization sees massive reuse of data as efficiencies of scale kick in. Companies that have reached this level of maturity are in position to reap the benefits of an even greater jump in value brought on by the network effect.
In the final stage of maturity, all data in the organization flows through a single, unified streaming platform that acts as a central nervous system for the business. The difference between an organization operating at this level and one that is operating relatively straightforward production data pipelines or mission-critical use cases is not just quantitative, it is qualitative. It’s a new paradigm, an entirely different kind of value proposition. Companies at this level are reshaping their business and quite likely ready to disrupt the category they operate in. Each system they bring onto the event streaming platform multiplies its value. New producers feed data to existing consumers ready to integrate that data in new ways to drive downstream analytics, machine learning, real-time decision-making, or customer-centric improvements.
Meanwhile, new consumers inevitably spring up to take advantage of the available data, and bring with them demand for new sources of information that come on to the platform, re-enforcing the cycle and driving exponential growth in the value of the event streaming platform across the entire organization.
To learn more about how event streaming can provide value to your business while helping you deliver it to your customers, be sure to check out the Recognizing the Full Value of Event Streaming: Beyond Messaging to Meaning e-book.
As the name suggests, the e-book offers an in-depth look at the value proposition of event streaming and event-driven architectures. It explores the value of customer events and operational events, and how the economic climate today has amplified the importance of reacting to these events in near real time as companies continue to navigate the changes brought on by the pandemic.
The e-book also makes the case for immediacy, reliability, accuracy, and intelligence as driving forces behind the move to modern event streaming platforms, whether they are operated on premises, as fully managed cloud services, or in a hybrid environment.
Mark Sakurada is a customer solutions director at Confluent. He has worked professionally as a developer, engineer, and consultant in information technology since 1997, focusing on the implementation of open source software solutions for the last 13 years. Prior to joining Confluent, Mark worked in tech startups as a technical team lead and senior technical solutions manager. He also ran his own consulting firm and computer support business. At Confluent, Mark has worked with some of Confluent’s largest enterprise clients to deliver modern, robust platforms and event streaming solutions. In addition, he served for over 20 years in the U.S. Army in both Active and Reserve capacities. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and has served in other contingency and humanitarian relief operations.