Business-People-Around-Computer-1024Being able to react and act fast in today’s digital business environment is an important factor in order to stay competitive and profitable. However, the reaction time has gotten considerably shorter as well, particularly in competitive markets. In fact, speed has become the deciding factor there. Information gathering, data analysis and appropriate response in the form of products, services or business decisions are required in shorter and shorter cycles and are rewarded by the market.

This is specifically apparent in the high frequency trading of the financial sector, where banks, trading and investment houses pay tens of millions of dollars per year for having a competitive information advantage of just a few milliseconds.

All the hassle is for one simple reason: Today it is no longer only the computing power that counts, but also the hardware establishing the connection between two computers, which can limit the speed of information processing, especially since the stock market no longer only earns with transaction fees, but the so-called co-location business, too. Therefore, banks and trading houses take lodgings with their servers directly in centers of the stock exchange to minimize the line route and to guarantee the fastest possible order execution.

Similar patterns are found in other industries, such as telecommunications, IT, and even the retail sector: Whoever anticipates customer needs first makes the business – exclusively! Moreover, all that’s needed to succeed are Big Data applications and real-time analysis tools to be able to detect patterns in customer behavior and to analyze them without delay. Based on these evaluations, corresponding projections or decisions can be made easily.

The value of such real-time analysis tools are highly appreciated in the telecommunications industry and mobile communications respectively, too. Especially, since all market participants are fighting with similar problems: Migration, non-renewal of lucrative multi-year contracts, and a saturation of the market of nearly 100 percent. Increased competition has led further to the situation that offers get more and more tailored to smaller customer segments, with the goal of being able to satisfy every potential customer for specific campaigns and deals and make use of each event possible (Christmas, Mother's Day, start of school, etc.).

However, this strategy leads to a dramatic increase in the number of products and campaigns. Hence, the multitude of types of offers requires a strategic performance management to know as quickly as possible, which products are accepted and which are not. In order to be able to take into account all data from an increasingly fragmented environment (data from IT and accounting systems, ERP and CRM, channel-specific data from an increasing number of customer touch points, social media, etc.), real-time analysis tools are indispensable. Only that way the performance can be monitored, as well as patterns and trends identified early and promptly, and then decisions can be make. Not to mention that mistakes can be avoided, such as campaigns that do not work, can be stopped before they cause excessively high costs and pricing or product presentations can be readjusted in time.

The world is used to getting everything now, as technology is speeding up the ways consumers receive information and interact with their friends. People are getting used to having search delivered in real time, video on demand, news the second it happens or instant updates on their friends’ status. The irrevocable changes in our industry are obvious and marketers have to catch up with the expectations of today’s consumer.

The well-known saying “Time is money!” is more up-to-date than ever, as the attention span in the vast digital universe of information is getting shorter and shorter. It is survival of the fittest, where the best-equipped marketer with the most relevant message wins – hence each second counts to get the attention of the consumer. Being slow to respond or perceived as disconnected from real life can be deadly for marketers, so real-time analytics will definitely grow exponentially in the future.

By Daniela La Marca