The importance of a “real-time enterprise” discussion is to distinguish between objectives and reality. Few organizations are prepared at the enterprise or technology level to operate in real-time, or close to real-time. Most organizations have latency built into the business caused by internal and external factors. For example, the supply chain, existing processes, employees’ mindset, and policies. Every factor of an organization deserves scrutiny when the goal is to efficiently operate. To become a real-time enterprise takes a great deal of time, resources, and political will to re-engineer an entire organization around a real-time mandate.
Information systems are beginning to deliver on the promise of real-time operations through improvements in the performance of hardware, networks, and software. Further, organizations and individuals investing in mobile communication technology expands opportunities for collaboration in real-time.
Generally, an organization has the hardware and enterprise systems in place to complete tasks. However, gaining competitive advantages is only a result of reducing the time it takes to collect, analyze, and redistribute data. The evolution of the mobile worker is an ideal catalyst for crystallizing performance improvements into true business advantages. So, how do mobile devices help to achieve real-time operations? Real-time operations is not about implementing one more system or one more device.
Adding intelligence and integration to information and systems in which an organization has already invested, and creating channels that allow users to take advantage of available intelligence is the essence of real-time.
Comprehensive information and integration
In today’s data-rich market environment, an organization or an individual making decisions without adequate information operates at a significant disadvantage. Out-of-date information leads to poor decisions and missteps. Not having access to appropriate service interfaces result in critical delays, or incomplete tasks. In many cases, the right information and processes lie beneath layers of software and systems requiring excavation. Comprehensive information and integration should be the norm.
For example, real-time information delivery can provide an actuary claims information from a data center in California, mixed with financial performance benchmark data from New York, and cost of sales information from Boston. Additionally, elements of a transaction interface running on a New York mainframe, can also be included in the actuary’s information set.
Moreover, a mobile-based strategy is the ideal mechanism to deliver heterogeneous electronic assets to users. However, to deliver to mobile users requires enhanced coordination and effort to connect existing systems, transform data types to web-ready, and mobile copy, and manage each transaction until completion. Do not underestimate the complexity of this first requirement, nor the number of systems mobile users need to access daily. Do not forget things change – as soon as one business scenario is worked out, the systems, people, or requirements change.
The nature of today’s business environment is constant change. A sophisticated, well-planned mobile strategy offers the unique ability to access and manage structured or unstructured content, no matter if the content resides in ERP, CRM, HR, documents, or legacy systems.
Ultimately, your organization’s challenge is to establish a flexible strategy that adapts to various formats, standards, protocols, and systems within your organization.