Mainframes

What’s driving investment in engaging experiences?

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Many enterprise leaders are focused on providing a more engaging experience for customers. Consumer expectations have evolved over the past few years, both in terms of how accessible services should be for users, and the personalization of their experiences. Consumers have a vast amount of information available on alternative options using marketplaces, comparison sites and switching services. There is also increasing desire to get the best deal. For example, research suggests that 8 out of 10 millennials would switch accounts for better rewards[1]. As the costs of switching decrease, companies must become more customer-centric or risk losing out to their competitors.

How do event-driven approaches help?

The event-driven approach helps companies to build more personalized, engaging experiences. This is done by making use of all the data from interactions with each consumer in a more meaningful way.

In every business, there is a constant stream of events occurring unnoticed. An event can be a transaction, an update to an account, someone clicking a webpage link, an IOT device emitting a piece of data from a retail store, or someone tweeting. The information in this constant steam of events can be of enormous value to many kinds of business decisions, such as marketing offers, customer support, fraud detection or resource scheduling. Businesses that can leverage the massive volume of information from these hidden events can respond in real time, or use them to tailor offers, build more intelligent applications, make smarter business decisions and offer more engaging client experiences. Event-driven architectures are the digital central nervous system for businesses, enabling them to sense and respond to events appropriately.

Does IBM have a solution in this space?

Event Streams, (Software Announcement 218-357, July 24, 2018) is a high-throughput, fault-tolerant, event-streaming platform for building event-driven applications. It builds on the popular, open source Apache Kafka technology and is available for both public and private cloud deployments. IBM Event Streams provides Kafka for the enterprise, making it easy to run, manage and consume, reducing skill requirements and increasing speed of deployment for faster time to value. It provides a toolbox of capabilities for developers and operations, with samples, workload generation, simple command-line tools and powerful visualization of event data. It also includes integrated geo-replication for disaster recovery.

What’s this got to do with IBM MQ, and in particular, IBM MQ for z/OS?

IBM MQ is the connectivity fabric that underpins many of the top companies in all industries and across all geographies. MQ provides targeted and reliable delivery of messages that represent changes to the state of the applications, systems and services that it connects.

Many of the interesting events discussed above occur within systems of record (SOR). For example: within a transaction-processing system, a customer database or an application server platform. These disparate systems are often connected by MQ, which is therefore ideally positioned to communicate with event-streaming platforms on which event-driven applications are built.

For business-critical operations, IBM Z is often the platform of choice to provide the necessary performance, resilience and scalability.  Therefore, IBM MQ for z/OS is a key data source for event-driven approaches.

Integrating IBM MQ for z/OS with IBM Event Streams

So how do you get the most out of events? By integrating event processing with your existing enterprise IT infrastructure, you can unlock their value and use them where they are most useful in your business. IBM brings together IBM MQ and IBM Event Streams to create an end-to-end messaging solution, available on IBM Z and distributed platforms. Using fully supported bi-directional connectors between the two products, you can send MQ messages as events to Kafka topics, or send messages from Kafka applications into the MQ network. This capability enables IBM MQ for z/OS customers to take control of and accelerate event-driven adoption, making near real-time business-critical data on the mainframe available to the next generation of event-driven applications.

Interested in more details? Find out more at IBM MQ for z/OS and IBM Event Streams, or get started here.

[1] Kasana (c) March 2017 The Financial Brand

Senior Offering Manager, IBM MQ for z/OS and zGuild Lead, IBM Hybrid Cloud

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