In the nearly two years I have worked for Solace, I have closely watched how Gartner, the world’s most influential IT industry analyst firm, has been advising clients about event-driven architecture (EDA) within their research.

The concept of event-driven and event streaming for continuous intelligence has been covered for many years by venerable Gartner analyst W. Roy Schulte. Today, EDA’s biggest proponent at Gartner is Yefim Natis, who challenges the status quo and advises clients to consider EDA at every opportunity. His August 2017 report, Business Event, Business Moments and Event Thinking in Digital Business, was a turning point for me, highlighting the idea of a smart event broker.

In 2018, EDA seemed to have a bit of a breakthrough, as witnessed when Gartner cited the event-driven model as one of the top technology trends for 2018. That report made some bold predictions:

  • By 2022, event notifications will form part of over 60% of new digital business solutions.
  • By 2022, over 50% of business organizations will participate in event-driven digital business ecosystems.
  • By 2022, 50% of organizations managing APIs will incorporate mediation of event notifications into their operations.
  • By 2022, most leading providers of application platforms will include high-productivity tools for event-driven design.

Despite being noted as a highly beneficial architectural pattern for digital business, there are still challenges. Limited tools, limited skills, and – more importantly – a suite of existing RESTful patterns that industries have been using for years are some of the things we need to overcome when building web-based applications.

Since that time, Gartner has been more measured and balanced in their guidance toward use of event-driven architecture. As with many foundational technologies, its value is in delivering tangible outcomes across broad business initiatives and underpinning newer trends in digital transformation.

Throughout 2019, we have seen ever-increasing references of “event-driven” start to permeate more mainstream technology guidance from Gartner, including on more popular topics of APIs, IoT, and customer experience. EDA is now seen as one of the foundational elements in Gartner’s IoT Reference Architecture and one of the 5 top emerging technologies impacting customer experience. Couple that with event-brokering being noted as a core technology within the Hybrid Integration Platform (HIP), the Mesh Application and Service Architecture (MASA), and the overarching Digital Business Platform, and it becomes pretty clear that EDA is on its way to being a critical part of the fabric of digital business.

Gartner’s guidance is making its way to customers in a big way. Consider that:

Event-driven architecture is clearly underpinning trends that will move organizations into the next decade of digital transformation. As presented at recent Gartner IT Symposiums, the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020, a few of these key trends – like hyperautomation and multiexperience – have event-driven architectures as the supporting technology. See my previous post for more information on that.

Today, Gartner still advises clients to become more real-time and responsive, and to architect systems for better agility going forward. One of my favorite pieces of research on this topic is The 5 Steps Toward Pervasive Event-Driven Architecture. This research presents a valuable maturity model to gauge one’s path toward EDA adoption along with recommendations on how to move along the maturity curve.

But the challenges of skills and tools noted by Gartner back in 2018 are still issues the industry has to contend with today; we have not advanced as an industry as far as we should have.

Fortunately, Solace has been working to chip away at these challenges and advance the adoption of EDA for all. The launch of educational and community hubs—Event Academy and the Solace Developer Community—aim to increase the dialog about EDA and arm people with thought leadership and tangible advice on how to become an event-driven enterprise.

As for lack of tooling, one development that really helped move the API-driven world forward was the emergence of API management and API portal tools, making APIs more accessible to developers and governable by IT or the business. Solace is following a similar path in bringing to market an Event Portal as part of the broader PubSub+ event streaming and management platform – allowing events to be more discoverable, manageable, and IT-governed. The Event Portal will also infuse best-practice design principles into EDA applications.

So with Gartner continuing to trumpet the benefits of being event-driven, and promoting event-driven architecture as a foundation for digital business, along with Solace bringing to market advanced tooling and educational resources, we hope more enterprises will wake up to the benefits of being an event-driven enterprise.

Roger Sabourin

Roger Sabourin is Solace's analyst relations leader.

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