Businesses have moved data as bulk transfers for several decades.

Transferring heavy loads, these batch jobs often call on significant network resources. To avoid impact on performance during the workday, IT teams and architects schedule the data transfers at night.

But batch transfers certainly have their limitations. From CIOs to CSRs, personnel want visibility and access to the latest data.

Here are 5 reasons to consider switching from batch transfers to real-time automation, along with examples of businesses using this real-time delivery.

1. Your business is working with inaccurate or incomplete data

The process of batch transfer includes storing data at a source until a scheduled time – and then moving it to the destination all at once. But until that scheduled time, anyone who consult the data at the destination will not have updates, which are still accumulating at the source.

Crossfuze (Virteva, at the time) originally transferred knowledge articles on a nightly basis. As a service provider functioning as a service desk, Crossfuze needed to access these articles from their clients so that Crossfuze could serve their clients’ customers. But sometimes, Crossfuze wasn’t working with the most up-to-date knowledge. And that meant reduced rates of first-call resolution (FCR).

“We found that actually we needed [knowledge sharing] faster than once a day,” says Matt Miller, VP of Delivery. Crossfuze switched to real-time transfer of knowledge articles, increasing FCR rates and serving customers better.

2. You often have to wait for accurate data

If you know that a batch transfer takes place every night, you may need to wait until the following morning to take data-informed action. The same kinds of delays can occur, whether the batch transfer takes place weekly, nightly, or hourly.

At CDW, hourly transfers meant delays. “A ticket that gets updated at 10 minutes after the hour might not make it to its destination for 45 minutes,” says Paul Liesse, Supervisor of Managed Services Applications. So CDW switched to real-time automation.

“You just know that when a record has changed and it’s the kind of record that we want distributed right away that it’s going to get distributed right away,” says Paul. “And people don’t have to worry about knowing about schedules.”

3. Your overnight batch transfer takes too long

As a business scales, the amount of data will too. And the time that it takes to move all that data every night will increase. The pressure to complete the transfer is especially strong if you have international offices.

Intermountain Healthcare used to sync data overnight from a production environment of ServiceNow to a sub-production environment. Seeing that these transfers were lengthy and taking up significant resources, Intermountain switched to a real-time transfer that also avoided performance impacts.

4. You are delivering services across several time zones

The end of the workday in San Francisco is the start of the workday in Tokyo. For many global companies, there is no “night” for overnight transfers.

Fujitsu found that extracting ServiceNow data as batch exports overnight took up too much time – and interfered with their 24-hour global service delivery. So Fujitsu relies on real-time data synchronization.

5. Your customers or business units demand real-time delivery

It’s quite possible that many data jobs don’t actually need to be in real time. Batch is sufficient. But managed service providers have a competitive edge if they can offer real-time delivery.

Accenture saw the value of offering such service. “It seems like anytime anyone comes to you with a reporting requirement, they precede it with ‘real-time’ reporting,” says Jeff Lowenthal, Enterprise Architect at Accenture. “The idea of getting the data out of ServiceNow, into our reporting warehouse somewhat seamlessly . . . that really was a market improvement step and really helped with the messaging around reporting and near real-time reporting.”

But Can Production Environments Handle Real-Time?

Traditionally, a major advantage of batch jobs is their efficiency. If you need to transport 200 people, should you use one airliner or 200 private jets? For the private jet, the departure takes place whenever the passenger is ready. For the airliner, the efficiency benefits are clear, but the 200 people need to wait for the scheduled departure time at the airport.

But what if you could deliver each piece of data whenever it’s “ready” – and with no impact to your environment?

Thanks to a message-bus architecture and a native ServiceNow application, most of the companies described in this article make use of real-time automation of ITSM data without noticeable impacts to their ServiceNow production environments.

When you can benefit from real-time delivery’s advantages – without being affected by the traditional disadvantage of performance impacts – it often makes sense to find an automation solution for real-time delivery.

Want to learn more about real-time automation of ServiceNow data and processes? Let’s talk.

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