RTE's Place in CRM

More than 20 percent of CIO's at Global 2000 enterprises cited RTE as one of the top-five investment areas, according to a new study released by Gartner. However, according to that same study, many company executives still don't have a clear understanding of what RTE is or how to properly implement it.

Gartner's survey was conducted in January 2003 and polled IT managers from 120 middle and large enterprises in North America and Europe. The survey, conducted via phone, attempted to gauge both the level of interest and of understanding as it relates to RTE.

Mark Raskino, research director for Gartner, says that RTE is becoming more and more vital as businesses struggle to retain customers that are demanding more and more, as well as managing responses to "narrowing windows of opportunity." However, Raskino explained that Gartner's survey has shown that the majority of enterprises that are trying to improve business process time don't fully grasp why real-time capabilities are an advantage.

According to Raskino, companies need to understand that the RTE involves many technology platforms and business processes, and IT directors will need to choose wisely when taking on new projects that enable the RTE.

"Competitiveness increasingly depends on the ability to detect critical events sooner and respond to them faster," Raskino adds, "However, a general intent to do everything a bit quicker will not only be a poor substitute, it will be damaging."

Dave Wilson, director of product marketing for NonStop Enterprise for HP, agrees that companies need a clear view of what RTE can do for them. In Wilson's view too many companies are attempting to use RTE as an immediate change than can be made and are not looking at how it can and will affect an enterprise's entire business process.

"RTE is a long-term goal," says Wilson, "You can't have this big-bang approach and expect it to change everything overnight simply by implementing it. You have to look at what are you looking to do today and see what you can improve to move toward true RTE."

Raskino also notes in the study that many managers doubted whether their companies could update into a real-time environment, and also felt that a start-up company in the same industry would be able to go real-time with less difficulty.

"This is a key finding as we believe technology is creating business opportunity gaps and fear of the consequences will overcome uncertainty, compelling companies to take action on renovating their enterprise architecture and process base," Raskino says. Gartner analysts predict that by 2007 the dominant players in every business segment will have achieved leadership or fortified their lead through real-time capabilities.

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