The real-time data disconnect: A survey of reality vs. perception

While most CXOs can agree that real-time streaming data analysis has a positive impact and that their companies can perform it, the reality is that most of them cannot. There's a disconnect somewhere. Finding out the true state of your company's real-time analytic capability will surprise you.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

Data-centric is a term that can be used to describe today's business climate. Businesses use data from a variety of sources: social media, news, financial markets, business trends, system usage statistics, and from a gaggle of connected "things". The problem with all this data is that businesses either don't know how to use it or that it's stored and used in an ad hoc manner.

There is a perception disconnect in that a majority of business leaders believe that the data their businesses collect has real-time analytic associated with it, but the reality is that it does not. The results of this 2015 Real-time Data Report survey, commissioned by VoltDB, collected from more than 150 respondents (CIOs, IT managers, and developers), shows a significant disconnect between what business leaders believe about their data analytic capabilities and their actual capabilities.

Survey highlights

CIOs, IT managers, and developers who believe that real-time data analysis can have a positive impact on a business' bottom line - 91 percent

CIOs who believe that their companies can analyze data in real time - 84 percent

Developers who confirm that their companies can analyze data in real time - 42 percent

Number of respondents who believe that real-time data applications have different requirements than Big Data applications - 56 percent

CIOs, IT managers, and developers who think that real-time applications meet business needs less than half the time - 66 percent

The survey highlights mean that there is ample opportunity for companies to step up and provide real-time streaming data applications that deliver required speed and analytics to solve business problems.


The underlying theme in these results is the apparent lack of communication between management and development. If management knew what development knows, then there would be less of a gap between the numbers. The assumption is that management believes it has enough budget and not enough expertise, but developers believe that they have a small budget, but are long enough on know how. The numbers reveal the fundamental flaw in business, which is communication. This disconnect also explains why salespeople and managers sell capabilities that do not yet exist.


The other primary disconnect between business leaders and developers is that developers do not understand business and business leaders do not communicate business principles to the developers.

For those of you who believe that this disconnect is make believe or that I'm exaggerating it, the respondents couldn't even agree on the meaning of the term, real time. Only 35 percent defined real time as occurring in less than a second or in milliseconds, while 32 percent defined it in minutes or a lack of a real-time standard altogether. Real time or real-time traditionally means that queried data produces a response within a few seconds or milliseconds, which is near instantaneous.

The conclusions from the data are rather obvious: There is a disconnect between perception and reality of business' real-time data analytic capability. Business leaders believe that they are in tune with analytic needs, while developers know the sad truth of the situation, which is that real-time data analytics either do not exist or are not up to expected standards. The solution is clear communications between the two groups. Business leaders need to train IT developers and IT staff to understand business needs and IT people need to fully communicate reality. Both parties need to come to terms with budget requirements.

What do you think? Is your organization experiencing this same data disconnect? How did you resolve it? Talk back and let us know.

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