Craig Conway is betting PeopleSofts future on the real-time enterprise. So, too, is TIBCOs Vivek Ranadive. Microsoft has spent millions establishing its RTE initiative, called Agile Business. Siebel is pushing forward with its impressive RTE offering, called Universal Application Network. Recent advances in real-time analytics from companies such as Teradata are adding fuel to the RTE fire. Leading IT consultancies such as Gartner now track the RTE industry. In January, a Gartner survey found more than 20 percent of CIOs at Global 2000 enterprises cited RTE as one of their top-five investment areas.
Why have global leaders such as Amazon, Cisco, Dell, eBay, Federal Express, General Electric, U.S. Steel and Wal-Mart committed millions of dollars to build RTE capabilities? The RTE value proposition rests on reduced costs, operational excellence, enhanced productivity, better decision making, customer delight and loyalty, and sustainable competitive leadership. Heres an example of the RTE value proposition in action:
PJM Interconnection, a client of my company, ISM, is a regional transmission organization that plays a vital role in the U.S. electric system. PJM ensures the reliability of the largest centrally dispatched control area in North America by coordinating the movement of electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. PJMs members transact much of their business on PJMs Web site. Using online tools that provide real-time data about the electric system, PJM triggers the buying and selling of power among its members, arranges transmission service, schedules contract purchases, carries out business strategies and makes critical business decisions. The RTE business model lets PJM rapidly add new members and provide lower prices to customers.
In an RTE, a companys departments, suppliers, employees, partners and customers are linked via intranet and Internet, letting the companys information systems act like a 24-hour nerve center, instantly reporting key changes.
Improved business process tools have helped companies easily link supply-and-demand RTE processes. New integration tools have also helped.
Finally, there is one more RTE driver: the wireless revolution. With the wireless industry growing at an annual clip of more than 30 percent, it is only a matter of time before companies work in real time over wireless networks.
Barton Goldenberg is president and founder of ISM Inc., a strategic advisement company for customer relationship management and RTE. His book, "Creating the Real-Time Enterprise," will be published early next year. He can be reached at email@example.com. Free Spectrum is a forum for the IT community. Send your comments and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.