Face it, all business lives in a real-time world. Even the lowest rung, most back-office part of your enterprise is connected (or soon will be) in ways you never imagined a decade ago. Real-time data, streaming data, interconnected business organizations and business partners are building a web that moves at the speed of light. And with this, real-time business connectivity comes the need for visibility into the intangible ebb and flow of information essential to your success.
Some say it’s a case of adapt or die. Agree or disagree with that statement, we should all be able to agree that if real-time visibility is important, then getting it right is even more important. That’s a fact.
Five mistakes in bringing real-time visibility to B2B integration
Here’s another fact: for many businesses, the first step into real-time visibility will be the wrong one. That’s only a problem if it takes too long to recognize and re-align the approach. Save some potential pain and look at the five most common mistakes made in building real-time visibility.
Mistake #1: Monitoring Too Much
The cost of real-time monitoring has gone down substantially in terms of resource consumption and overhead. This can lead to a temptation to pull in as much data as you can access. The thought is that once you have it, you will be able to make sense of it. Right? Wrong.
Too much data only dilutes the value of what it obscures. Start by looking at what is critical to know. You understand your business better than anyone else, so ask yourself which piece of information would save you from your worst headaches. Grab what you need for that first. What is it—warehouse pick-and-pull times or transaction acknowledgments or API latency?
Since you know that data is valuable, seeing it in real-time will be a quick win. Go for that and only that to start.
Mistake #2: Monitoring Too Little
Even though costs have gone down, there still is a cost in setting up real-time monitoring. It would be a shame to waste what you have invested in infrastructure and expertise by not getting a complete picture. Often what will stream into your enterprise will only provide a part of the whole—you may have a customer account or order numbers without the context of names or purchase amounts. Those bits of data may be housed in a corporate database that is nowhere near real-time in nature. But that old, slow-moving data may be the key to context and understanding of the real-time flow.
Don’t be afraid to marry fast data and enterprise storage to drive the value of understanding. Read the 10 reasons to move your EDI/B2B integration to a cloud-managed service [INFOGRAPHIC].
Mistake #3: Beginning without the Ending in Mind
Ramping up a real-time B2B monitoring project wouldn’t be the first corporate effort done as an end in itself. Your analyst firm may have just told you that leaders in your quadrant have all implemented real-time visibility and you didn’t want to be the one left out.
If the first two mistakes were about what to monitor, this mistake is about why to monitor.
The best purpose for monitoring in real-time is to reduce the latency between when a problem starts and when you can take action to correct the situation. What that should tell you is that your monitoring solution needs to focus on action.
Build your solution so that you:
- Identify situations where the action is needed
- Provide enough context to know what action to take, and
- Get the information to the right people at the right time
If you do those things, your implementation will pay for itself. And you will have one less headache.
Mistake #4: Assuming This is an Island
Whatever you build in the area of real-time monitoring will be used by multiple people at multiple levels in multiple organizations. That’s true even if right now you think it is something only you will use.
You know what’s been said before: if you build it, they will come.
If you have built a solution that avoids making those first three mistakes, it will become more widely used than you may anticipate. Take time at the start of your project to consider who those others might be. Investigate what they might appreciate knowing and find ways to blend that into your work.
Democratizing real-time monitoring extends the value of anything you do. That will pay dividends in multiple ways.
Mistake #5: Failing to Proofread Your Work
This one might be more subtle than the others and can be harder to accomplish. Few would ever publish something on a corporate site without making sure that spelling and grammar are safe to share. The same caution should be true of real-time results, whether they are sent as notifications or presented on dashboards. Sadly, this is not always the case.
First, yes, check your spelling. Sounds obvious but you should see some of what is out there.
Second, check your results. Use a critical eye to see if what you are displaying or detecting makes sense. Was there a 4000% increase in activity or was that 40% with a slight error in calculation? One of the most valuable aspects of your real-time monitoring is credibility. That is hard to gain back once lost through a correctable but overlooked mistake.
Mistake #6: Failure to Act.
I know, there were only supposed to be five mistakes. This one’s on me.
The only real mistake you can make is not doing something soon about real-time analytics. The need will not go away. The pressure to know and know now not later will only increase. And, yes, any analyst you talk to will tell you your competitors are taking advantage of the increased visibility and decreased reaction time gained by tapping into the stream of information that takes place in real-time. There is no time like the present to start, and now at least you are prepared to make five fewer mistakes than the other guy.
Read about the B2B shift, it’s not the why but the who.