High-frequency trading (HFT) has become an interesting and controversial topic of discussion. And it’s a great example of how speed and agility are required for a competitive advantage in today’s digital economy.
High-frequency trading is reliant entirely on computing speed with millions of dollars of daily revenue dependent on microseconds (a microsecond is 1/1,000,000 of a second) of computing speed and the ability to quickly adjust to changes in market conditions. That microsecond advantage determines who intercepts an electronic trade and wins the chance to quickly buy or sell stock shares. This is a win/loss proposition. Either you are first or you are not in the game at all.
Along with being dependent on sophisticated software algorithms, HFT is also highly dependent on computing resources—such as network and compute speed as well as their physical placement. The performance of the software, hardware, network, and other compute resources must be optimized at all times, or millions of dollars of business is lost in moments.
High-frequency trading may be an extreme example of the need for speed, but it is representative of the competitive nature of digital services and the use of speed and agility as a differentiator. We, as consumers of digital services, are willing to wait only 2 seconds (an eternity compared to HFT) before choosing another provider. While the acceptable latency period may differ between these examples, the requirement for speed and the potential loss of revenue are the same.
Organizations instrumenting for digital services are increasingly investing in new environments, like big data and cloud computing, to equip them to identify and deploy digital services faster. Investing in application performance and infrastructure monitoring have become commonplace. However, many organizations still overlook the importance of automating the management of their IT infrastructure resources, like planning, utilization, and service placement.
According to Gartner, “Through 2018, more than 30% of enterprises will use IT infrastructure capacity management tools for their critical infrastructures to gain competitive advantage, up from less than 5% in 2014.”
You may not be in the high-frequency trading business, but IT Infrastructure capacity management plays an important role in the performance and on-time delivery of any digital service. Without having the right IT infrastructure aligned with services, or knowing if those resources are sufficient to handle the workload, your digital services can be at risk.
The need for speed is real; it’s what customers expect and they won’t stick around if your services come up short.
The question is: Are you going to be part of the 30% and have that advantage of speed and agility for your digital services or are you going to continue to rely on manual efforts (or just plain guessing) and pay the consequences of lost revenue and customers?