Convincing the naysayers: proving the business value of streaming analytics technology

5 min read

By: Preetam Kumar

Convincing the naysayers: proving the business value of streaming analytics technology

There’s a lot of hype around the possibilities of stream computing. It seems like everywhere you look, more and more organizations are touting the benefits of capturing and analyzing large volumes of data at high velocity—and increasing numbers of streaming analytics solutions, both commercial and open source, are flooding the market.

Say you’ve done your due diligence, explored the available options, weighed the pros and cons, and built up a valid use case for streaming analytics—how do you take the next step and convince the people holding the purse strings that stream computing is worth the investment?

Slick product marketing materials can be persuasive, but at the end of the day, senior-level management is looking for cold, hard figures: How much is this going to cost us? When can we expect a return on investment (ROI)? Is this going to help us make money or cut costs in the long term?

Measuring the total economic impact

There’s no escaping the fact that economic benefits matter. That’s why IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study and examine the potential ROI enterprises may realize by deploying IBM® Streams®.

In the study, Forrester interviewed a large, global transportation provider headquartered in North America, who has been using Streams for several years as part of a real-time analytics strategy to improve operational decision making and optimize resource planning.

The interview and subsequent financial analysis found that the organization experienced present value (PV) benefits of $8.6 million over three years, versus PV costs of $3.4 million, adding up to a net present value (NPV) of $5.2 million and an ROI of 150%.

Measuring the total economic impact

Source: “The Total Economic Impact™ Of IBM Streams,” Forrester, October 2017.

Impressive stuff, right? Let’s take a closer look at the customer journey, and learn more about how investing in IBM Streams has transformed the organization’s operations.

Life before Streams

Previously, the organization was using several bespoke solutions to help plan and respond to so-called “adverse incidents” – situations where the transportation network was affected by factors beyond the organization’s control, such as bad weather and traffic delays.

As the organization’s environment grew in complexity and size, the lack of real-time analytics made it increasingly difficult for teams to smooth out operations when things went wrong. Unfortunately, this meant service delays, and all the costs and grumbling customers that come with that.

 Moving to real-time analytics

After reviewing proposals from several vendors, there was only one choice for the organization: IBM Streams. Over the course of 24 months, the organization gradually migrated 25 existing point solutions to the new IBM platform.

Streams provides an event-driven streaming analytics platform, which allows the organization to pull together data from dozens of disparate internal and external sources in a single location, and analyze the information in real time.

Over three years, the organization expects risk-adjusted total costs for Streams to amount to a massive PV of more than $3.4 million. This figure represents savings in three core cost areas: licensing and maintenance, implementation and ongoing administration.

Slashing infrastructure costs

And the savings don’t stop there. By embracing Streams, the organization was able to avoid a costly build-out of its existing database infrastructure. Forrester estimates that the cost of Streams was 15 percent lower than the cost of building out an alternative streaming analytics platform.

What’s more, by consolidating many of its internally built applications to the new platform, the organization reduced annual run and maintenance costs by 30 percent on average.

Reacting faster when things go wrong

Streams is also helping the organization to react faster to the unexpected. In the past, when adverse incidents occurred, teams had to wait for data to be analyzed—slowing response and remediation efforts.

Now, with Streams, teams can analyze data related to abnormal incidents in real-time, allowing them to leap into action and get things back to normal fast. In fact, Forrester calculates that the organization has achieved a 60 percent improvement in the time between data analysis and making a decision that affects operations.

Considering that every minute of interruption to its transportation operations can incur thousands of dollars in losses, speedier time-to-resolution helps the organization to avoid considerable costs. Based on Forrester’s estimates, faster response times translate to a risk-adjusted total PV of $6.6 million.

Reaping the rewards

Taking into consideration the improved operational efficiencies, reduced infrastructure costs and faster time-to-response following adverse incidents, Forrester calculates that, in total, the organization has achieved a risk-adjusted PV of more than $8.6 million over three years. And when you weigh these economic benefits against the investment in Streams, it works out to an ROI of 150%, according to Forrester.

All of these numbers add up to a compelling value proposition for IBM Streams. And while this study highlights the results that just one customer has achieved with IBM, we hope it can help you win over the skeptics, and show how stream computing could help your organization unlock new efficiencies and economic benefits of its own.

Find out more

Take a look at the full Forrester study: The Total Economic Impact Of IBM Streams.

Register for the webinar ‘The ROI of implementing IBM Streams’, which will be held at 1:00pm Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday 6th December. In it, Jon Erickson, Vice President and Director from Forrester Consulting’s Total Economic Impact practice will explain the study.

Register today

To learn more about IBM Streams and examine the evidence in greater detail, read the IBM eBook, “Transform your business insights with streaming analytics”, or to take a deeper dive into tutorials and documentation, visit our the IBM Streams Github page.

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