Virtualization Technology News and Information
What is Driving the Instant Economy?

Written by Madhukar Kumar, VP Product Marketing, Redis Labs

We are living in a society that demands instant experiences. Consumers want to make in-store purchases with the tap of a credit card or phone, deposit checks with a picture and order a car with the tap of a finger. They know what they want, and they want it now.

A disruption to that experience can result in customer churn and ultimately lost revenue for the companies that make up this instant economy. When consumers thinks about instant experiences, they probably think about applications. Lyft, Twitter, Snapchat and PayPal all deliver instant services in some fashion, but it's database technology that powers these apps and enables them to respond to customer requests immediately.

But how did we get to expecting instant experiences in the first place? For some, this may be considered a chicken or the egg scenario of what came first. Did developers foresee the capabilities of database technology for enabling instant results, or did consumers drive the creation of a world where products and services must be delivered faster?

The Evolution of the Database Industry

To answer the question of "what is driving the instant economy?" we should look at the evolution of the technology itself.

Initially, databases only served as a place to store data, but a problem rapidly emerged. The sheer volume of data exploded, and traditional, on-premise databases were unable to withstand the amount of data that needed to be stored. When the cloud was introduced with the promise of scalability and cost-savings, it was a revolutionary advancement but also brought with it huge volumes of data.

Along with this large volume of data,the cloud also brought a new obstacle: unstructured data that could not be always be stored in a relational format. Consequently, we saw the rise of NoSQL, which provided an easy, flexible way to store varying data.

But some challenges remain. While many databases can now withstand variety and volume, they are unable to maintain low-latency performance. To put it simply, countless applications still struggle to deliver an uninterrupted experience with zero downtime.

Changing Consumer Demands

Organizations who cannot deliver services in real-time bring almost nothing to the table for their customers. In other words, the faster you can process a large amount of information, the stronger your competitive advantage. So, what does this mean for how database technology is powering the instant experience for consumers?

Two common use-cases are user session stores and high-speed transactions. A user session is typically a collection of user preferences, choices and actions recorded from each time a customer opens or logs into an app and spends time in it. User session stores are where the data on that activity is kept. For example, when a customer logs onto a shopping app and adds products to the cart, those items should be saved, even if the purchase is not yet complete. This data, in turn, allows companies to drive more personalized app experiences.

As the database gets bigger and consumers log in from different devices, processing this information becomes more complex and many applications struggle with latency issues. This can cause disruptions and delays to the user's experience while using the app. Worse, not having a durable or stable session store could lead to experiences where users would have to repeat actions every time they log back into the application, such as having to re-add products to a cart because they were not saved.

A similar concept applies to how high-speed transactions are delivered. Imagine a customer is paying for something through a phone or watch. If that device does not work instantly, the customer will quickly turn to traditional payment methods like cash and cards. Companies require database technology enabled with seamless, automatic scaling for consistent high performance and zero downtime, ensuring an uninterrupted consumer experience on their applications. That technology now exists. Companies can cost-effectively store data in-memory so that it can be processed instantly.

Businesses across all industries need to realize that significant revenue and their brand's reputation is on the line if their apps are not fast enough. Consumers' expectations for app speed are constantly increasing and with countless options of where to spend their money, a slow app is reason enough for a customer to take their business elsewhere.


About the Author


Madhukar is a product strategist with a track record of successfully running product management and product marketing teams for the last 10+ years. He has held several leadership positions in small and large technology companies like Zuora, HP and Oracle where he was responsible for building vision, go to market strategies and opening up new markets for hyper growth. More recently he ran product strategy and product marketing at Oracle for Customer Experience (CX) products portfolio including Marketing, CRM, Commerce and Service. In the last 10 years he has also been writing in technology journals and speaking at several industry events across the globe around disruptive new technologies affecting businesses and the future of customer experience.

Published Thursday, May 30, 2019 9:29 AM by David Marshall
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