To me, thinking and bleeding “real time” is the core of the term “digitalization” (which I am so sick of hearing, but that is another topic). And it is mind-boggling how many businesses do not consider themselves “real-time”. Interestingly this applies to both established as well as new business and basically across all industries. Simply because you are selling something physical or not time critical does not mean you can ignore it.
Your (potential or actual) customer has her demand / interest/ engagement right now. NOW. Not in 5 minutes, not tomorrow. And you better be prepared for that moment having processed all the available and relevant information of the past and be able to fulfill the need as fast as possible. Some applies to internal stuff, why limit yourself to some snapshot of the past? The past just concluded and simplifying your approach by just processing the data of the last month or yesterday simply is not enough, you will never be able to react to the latest events (a value from a sensor, the click of a consumer, the change in your inventory system, …) which in many cases will make all the difference.
Everybody understands the need towards real-time with alerting systems (there is little outage in seeing in yesterdays data that there is the threat of a malfunction at 4:15pm … yesterday). Why stop there and not apply this way of thinking to basically ALL functions?
Thus one of the most crucial challenges for most -old and new- businesses will be to establish a technical foundation to process data in real-time across various domains. There is little to no value in just collecting data (well, besides telling everybody you are doing some Big Data stuff now), you HAVE TO start processing it in real time and get your hands dirty trying to get value out of it. Get a feel for real-time data, get a feel for what data you need and learn. And by the way, it is also the fundamental requirement of this ML and AI stuff everybody is talking about. So better forget about that stuff if you have not solved the fundamentals…