Accelerated Business Continuity – Are Real-Time Analytics the Future?

How do you view Business Continuity? Is it all about avoiding business outages for a given speed of business, or should it also contribute to increasing that speed? After all, if business continuity is designed to move an enterprise away from slowdowns, then logically it should be moving the enterprise towards picking up the pace of planning, forecasting, deciding and executing on those decisions. Whether or not you consider that business continuity should lead the way in accelerating business, sooner or later BC will be involved; if only because competitors will also have speeded up in the meantime.

As an example, increasing the speed of business is one of possibilities with the HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance) technology from software vendor SAP. HANA’s other name is ‘in-memory computing’. The idea is to eliminate the transfers of data between the computer processor and the hard disk during calculations, and to use only main memory. Data warehousing operations are among those that stand to gain the most computing advantage, and with them business analytics to let companies assess situations in real time.

An example of such real-time analytics in action concerns a Japanese electronics retailer. The firm used to spend three days each month calculating incentive payments to its five million loyalty-club members. SAP claims HANA has reduced the time required to two seconds, while the customer is still in the retailer’s shop and at the point of sale. Rewards are then delivered to the customer immediately and the retailer can also see what further offers might interest that customer. As SAP puts it, the retailer can move at the speed of its customers, instead of the speed of its systems. Given the critical importance of retaining loyal customers for many businesses, it looks like business continuity may have a vested interest in real-time analytics too.