Unlocking real-time efficiency: how event streaming transforms shipment monitoring
Event streaming means analyzing streams of information the moment they are created. This technology opens up many business use cases, from simple alerts to advanced machine learning scenarios. Let’s have a look at one of them: event streaming used for real-time shipment monitoring.
- Hi, I have your parcel, are you at home?
- Oh shoot, I’m at work now, I was expecting you tomorrow. On your website it still says that my order is being processed…
Sounds like a pet peeve, but on a larger scale these situations cost time, money and reputation. The delivery service will need to drive back and forth with the parcel, while the customer is not getting the best experience. The data did not refresh in time and as a result it did not reflect the reality – that the package was already on its way.
Event streaming offers (almost) limitless use cases
For organizations, having real-time data is key to streamlining their work and services they deliver to their customers. The answer to this is event streaming – collecting, analyzing and managing streams of information the moment they are created. Streaming architecture can power anything from simple event notifications – e.g. sending an alert when the temperature rises to a dangerous level – to real-time machine learning models that detect fraudulent activities. Modern stream processing systems are also a source of truth for the business.
If businesses are exactly that – thousands of microevents happening round the clock – shouldn’t your applications reflect that?
Organizations are already starting to think in terms of events and adopt event streaming into their application design. This approach has gained popularity in a wide range of industries due to its ability to handle complex, dynamic, and real-time data flows. It allows them to take data analytics to the next level, deliver excellent customer experience, build intuitive interfaces, develop machine learning scenarios and future-proof their business.
Use case: monitoring shipments in real-time through mobile push notifications
SNP prototyped a solution for a major construction company who planned to stream shipment events from SAP to the native Azure cloud services. The goal was to enable employees to monitor the status of a shipment through mobile push notifications. In simple words, they would get a message on their phones the second the status of the shipment changed. To implement this type of event streaming, they needed a tool for real-time application integration.
For this event streaming scenario, we used SNP Glue - a strong solution for a tight, native SAP data integration with data lakes running on big data platforms. It is already used by many customers to replicate meaningful SAP business objects in real-time to modern cloud data storages like Azure Data Lake Gen2. This enables them to analyze their SAP data and get insights using modern and powerful analytics services of Microsoft Azure.
Deploying event-driven architecture with (just) a lightweight plugin
In the said scenario, event streaming technology was needed for several reasons. Firstly, SAP data had to be adjusted and combined with IoT sensor data. Secondly, fetching SAP data through SAP gateway put a strain on the productive system which was already under high load. Thirdly, the latency requirements (the time delay between a change of shipment status and getting a notification) were set to a challenging 4 to 6 seconds globally.
In this specific use case, we recommended leveraging tools like Azure Event Hubs, Azure Cosmos DB, and Microsoft Azure functions to orchestrate a cloud native architecture designed for the ingestion and processing of high throughput of small batches of data such as SAP transactions events.
To integrate Microsoft Azure with SAP, we used SNP Glue – a solution for deploying SAP data on a platform of choice. With the recent enhancements, SNP Glue has the unique capability to directly integrate SAP with Azure Event Hubs. When the streaming mode is activated, an optimized process is triggered and replications are executed in real-time as soon as the business event and corresponding data are generated in the system. So much for the theory. But when we put it to a test, we were not disappointed – the system successfully generated push notifications the moment an event occurred.
While this new innovative integration scenario was facilitated with just a lightweight SAP plugin, there are still plenty of other use cases possible. Event streaming creates ample opportunities for organizations, and the existing technologies are ready to tap into them. From simple alerts to sophisticated machine learning applications, event streaming offers a versatile approach to handling information as it's generated. As demonstrated by the use case of real-time shipment monitoring, organizations can ensure efficient operations and exceptional customer experiences by integrating event streaming into their workflows. This technology enables businesses to keep pace with the dynamic nature of their operations and make informed decisions based on up-to-the-moment insights.