My first job was on a bond trading floor at a Wall Street investment bank. It's impossible to overstate the impact of innovations in computing and telecommunications on the financial markets in the 1980s.
Within a decade finance was transformed from a clubby, old-boys' network to a 24-hour global trading system.
With that revolutionary shift a new currency of success emerged: the ability to gather, interpret, and react to new information in fractions of a second—real time.
Today, no financial professional would ever consider making a transaction without understanding where the markets are trading right now and what’s happening in the news at that precise moment.
It has taken a quarter century. But in fields like marketing and public relations the impact of the real-time revolution in finance is finally beginning to be viable for any organization.
Here is just one aspect -- a data driven real-time website -- of what the instant environment offers:
As a buyer visits your Web site and registers for a webinar, an alert is triggered on the salesperson's real-time dashboard, providing details about the buyer based on the page that person is visiting. The alert notes that the person downloaded a white paper a few days ago.
In fact, the alert is flagged as high priority because that combination of actions (white paper download plus webinar registration) is highly indicative of a propensity to buy.
The alert automatically pulls up information on the buyer's company. Are they already a client? Have others from this company visited the site before? What do third-party information providers say about the company? News stories from Dow Jones or Bloomberg appear along with a company snapshot from an information supplier like Hoovers.
Even the buyer's LinkedIn and Twitter profiles appear. And all this happens in real time.
This is just what happens with a real-time website.
There's similar revolutions happening with real-time product development, real-time media relations, and real-time marketing.
In the emerging real-time business environment, where public discourse is no longer dictated by the mass media, size is no longer a decisive advantage.
Speed and agility win.
But you need an infrastructure much like a Wall Street bond trader to play in this new world.