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How to Drive an Action-Oriented Event-Driven Architecture

How to Drive an Action-Oriented Event-Driven Architecture

April 07, 2021

Recently Gartner issued a newly updated version of its foundational research report, Maturity Model For Event-Driven Architecture (EDA). We believe it is required reading for leaders of any real-time-sensitive digital business. The report presents the business benefits modern EDA provides beyond what is possible using connected APIs, as well as enables readers to assess where their organization’s current EDA stands within Gartner’s maturity model.

Of course, the team here at VoltDB strongly concurs with Gartner’s report; in fact, we would encourage application leaders to strategically assess their event-driven architecture in three key areas to extend Gartner’s essential maturity model even further:

1. Step Up from Event Awareness to Event-Driven ACTION

Per our understanding, Gartner accurately presents “Initial Occurrences of EDA” as the initial stage of EDA maturity, in which certain low-hanging fruit of EDA benefits are realized, such as change data capture (CDC), a non-invasive method of adding some business situational awareness between applications. That’s certainly a good start.

As organizational business units begin to appreciate event-driven thinking, they will start actively investing in brokered use of EDA (stage 2 on the Gartner maturity model), followed by more organization-wide, centralized use of event broker technology (stage 3).

Here’s where things start to get interesting. Events are now being generated and consumed, with brokers mediating the messaging architecture and providing new value above and beyond just being a pipeline broker. However, it is critical to note at this point that such brokering event data exchange is only the beginning of well thought out EDA.

It’s not enough just to move or enrich the data, but rather use the data and enrich it in ways that specifically enable the organization to make intelligent, time-sensitive decisions. You must now move beyond awareness of events to decisions and actions based on those events.

2. Adopt a “Low-Latency First” EDA Strategy

This brings us to the next vital EDA capability: How fast you can act on those events. Successful, intelligence-based action that enables consistently informed decision making has to be exceptionally fast — with predictably low latency — given the explosive data velocity now possible and driven by 5G and machine-type communications. For this reason, a “low-latency first” strategy is critical to realize continuous improvement and true business agility with your EDA.

For example, low-latency decisions and alerts/signals become very important for effective microservices interaction and orchestration. The key metric of agility to focus on here is the time from event awareness (brokering) to decisioning based on that event.

3. Gain Competitive Advantage with Real-Time Analytics at True Massive Scale and Speed

Based on our understanding, Level 4 of the Gartner maturity model is where an organization’s EDA really hits its stride, bringing together ML and decision intelligence. At VoltDB, we call this adaptive decision-intelligence, where the decisions are not made on a static set of rules and instead an evolving set of rules based on machine learning iterations.

It is at this level and beyond where VoltDB’s unique capabilities translate to lasting competitive advantage for your organization. A truly mature organization requires VoltDB’s real-time analytics — leveraging near-past contextual data, at massive scale and predictably low latency — to realize the most informed, time-sensitive decision making and best user experiences possible.

Additionally, these two key attributes of an advanced EDA noted by Gartner particularly stand out:

“Stream analytics applications no longer mostly store their findings or signal alerts in dashboards, but distribute the complex events to multiple applications for appropriate action or further analysis in near real time.”

“Near-real-time context awareness — delivered by a combination of EDA, API, AI (artificial intelligence), CEP (complex event processing) and IoT (Internet of things) capabilities — supports empathetic user experiences and well-prepared decisions.”

VoltDB provides its customers with these critical capabilities, by bringing together stream processing and data storage for cognitive decisions that drive intelligent action, as well as ensuring these capabilities are closely coupled together. It is essential to bring this entire stack of capabilities into one unit and bring it as close as possible to the event source (think on-premise edge or network edge computing to satisfy these requirements).

The Gartner Maturity Model For Event-Driven Architecture report provides an invaluable maturity model, along with specific recommendations. Organizations are well advised to take Gartner’s recommendations to heart, while also moving even further above and beyond the Gartner model to aggressively pursue a truly strategic EDA that delivers real-time actions driving intelligent decisions at the speed of 5G.

Attribution and disclaimer:

Gartner, Maturity Model For Event-Driven Architecture, Yefim Natis, Massimo Pezzini, Keith Guttridge, W. Roy Schulte, Refreshed 30 November 2020

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