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3 ways to derive operational intelligence from event-driven architecture

Event-driven architecture lets you create real-time applications that empower the business to make the right decisions at the right time.

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"EDA provides the information your company needs to make the right decision at the right time, about the right thing, and in the right order."

—Chris Carlson, technology domain expert, Complex Event Processing, at Informatica

It's time to rethink how we approach events. Instead of thinking of them as mere database operations or transactions, think of them in context. How do they affect customers, suppliers, and users? What is the fallout if events fail? Operational intelligence from events directly correlates with agility. The more accurate real-time insight you provide to business leaders, the more business value you provide.

Event-driven architecture (EDA) helps real-time applications that empower the business and augment your existing business intelligence (BI) solutions. "An event-driven architecture can give you early indications on how your business and operations are going," says Chris Carlson, technology domain expert, Complex Event Processing, at Informatica.

When you implement EDA, you need to change your thinking in three key ways:

  1. Information and data architecture: Shift to modeling events as enterprise assets. Events become priorities alongside applications, databases, and so on. "If a shipment is late, EDA tells you. If a part is about to fail, it tells you. With EDA, when something happens that you care about, you can react to it because you're in real-time mode, not batch mode," says Carlson.
  2. Application architecture and development: Develop self-service capabilities in your applications. More enterprises are deploying services as value-added offerings, either externally to their customers or internally to their business users. It is, therefore, important that the business logic be abstracted from the application architecture. "This way, IT can be more agile by managing business logic separately from how it integrates data and event sources," says Carlson.
  3. Infrastructure architecture: Shift from centralized, database-centric client-server applications to systems that distribute events. Real-time data integration technologies take a data-centric vs. an application-centric perspective of integration. You can transparently add events to your applications by choosing data based on its change date from underlying operational databases. You can also combine real-time and batch data and connect to legacy applications that run on mainframes. You do not have to change applications or add in costly messaging interfaces, although you can take advantage of any existing implementations.

EDA builds on traditional BI implementations to add real-time operational intelligence. You still get the data you're collecting through BI, but you can also take action right away. Actions become proactive instead of reactive, and users are pushed the information they need when they need it. Also, the end user is enabled to define the conditions and rules of the information they need. "EDA provides the information your company needs to make the right decision at the right time, about the right thing, and in the right order," says Carlson.

For more on the agility advantages of EDA, read John Schmidt and David Lyle's book Lean Integration; An Integration Factory Approach to Business Agility (Addison Wesley, 2010).

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