Event-driven processing: the paradigm shift in software development

To meet the ever-growing expectations of customers in an ever more complex world, most of us feel something has to change soon. That ‘something’ could be summarized as becoming an event-driven organization. Those among you who have read the previous parts of this triptych may already have a strong suspicion that this involves the use of business rules in software development. No need to panic though; this can be achieved without turning your entire IT-systems upside-down.

Context-sensitive information

In an event-driven society and in becoming an Act-Now organization ourselves, information has to be highly personalized, individually relevant and increasingly context-sensitive. The use of software that is based on rigid processes rather than flexible business rules will soon reach its limits, if it hasn’t already. We can no longer depend on the sequencing of processes alone. Instead, we should start focusing on the context and criteria of the various events that we are faced with every day.
In this context, two vital questions should be answered in this context:

  1. is how you want to organize your everyday operation,
  2. followed by the question how this can best be supported by IT.

In terms of IT and technology, this calls for a paradigm shift on how you work with your IT-systems without the need to replace them altogether.


The potential of orchestration

In our view you can either add an event or orchestration layer on top of your existing systems, or integrate business rules on a deeper level describing exactly what must happen in case of certain events, regardless of the sequence. Both approaches ultimately meet the same challenge i.e. combining already existing data and information, and in some cases even processes, in such a way that they become relevant information instead of idle data. As such, we prefer to qualify this development as a paradigm shift in software development, rather than a genuine revolution. Looking at the amount of effort and investment needed, it is ‘just’ another step towards a more flexible and agile organization that is ready to take on the next level challenges.


‘IT renovation’

In the logistics industry we have already carried out a whole range of similar ‘IT renovation projects’ by establishing the right mix between existing systems and flexible event processing functionality. Several airports in turn have been able to bring down passenger transfer times as they are now able to detect disruptions at an earlier stage. In the postal business too, several companies are taking serious steps in becoming an Act-Now organization. Event orchestration can give all of us real-time outcomes based on per-defined (business) rules. This is basically what event driven processing is all about. Nothing more and nothing less.

Here, you will find Gartner’s views on event driven business strategy

Curious to find out to what degree your organization is already ‘playing by the (new) rules’? Feel free to contact Hans Canisius any time.


Written by: Hans Canisius

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