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April 29, 2013

Is Real-Time Processing Better
than Batch Processing?

Author Vishnu
Category Blog | Integration |

In the business world, especially when it comes to commerce, entering information into a system is a critical aspect of the job. Payments must be processed, customer information needs to be input and orders are placed. There are two basic ways this information can be entered into the system: by batch and in real-time. Evaluating the differences between the two and how each one works will help you make the right choice for your business needs.

Batch vs. Real-Time

The first step in the decision process is understanding the difference between these two methods of data entry. Batch processing means your sales team or other employees would gather information throughout the day or a specified period of time and all that information would be entered into the system all at once. This process works for payment processing and printing shipping labels and packing slips. However, this method also means waiting to do everything at once and relying on the ability of your system to handle it all.

Real-time processing, on the other hand, processes each of the transactions and enters the information into your system immediately. This means your salespeople and other employees must be connected at all times to ensure all information is integrated and synced at the exact time it is entered.

Why Is The Processing Method a Concern?

Consider this: A customer comes to your eCommerce Store and places items into the shopping cart. If they encounter a problem with their payment processing or find out the item is out of stock at a late point in the process, you increase the chances of an abandoned shopping cart. In many cases, these customers will not return to order from you in the future. With the help of the right method of processing, you can decrease the risks and increase the chances of closing on sales through your website. Because the real-time processing is more beneficial for businesses, more of them are changing over from the batch processing to real-time systems, helping business owners see what is going on with their business at all times.

Batch Processing Disadvantages

If you are currently using batch processing, you understand that you need to run the process at a time when your systems aren’t as busy with other functions, especially if you have large amounts of data to process and enter. This often means completing the processing overnight when your business is closed. However, batch processing requires some level of supervision to ensure it is running correctly, as well as an increased risk of creating downtime for your business. If a problem arises and no one is monitoring the process, your business will experience costly delays that can negatively impact the customer experience and your ability to make money. You also can’t access the data until the following day after it has been processed. This can cause problems if customers are requesting information about an order they placed that day.

Real-Time Processing Advantages

Making the switch to real-time processing can provide your business with a number of advantages. Real-time processing means the data will be available to everyone in real-time, your business will require fewer resources to sync the system, reduce the amount of paper used and improve the amount of uptime for your system. Because all the data enters into the system immediately, you will be able to monitor what is happening within your business instead of waiting until the following day to discover a problem that could have been an easy fix if it had been identified immediately. Your team will be able to see errors as they happen and take care of them right away to improve the customer experience with immediate billing and help your business run more smoothly by increasing productivity and keeping closer track of inventory.

Which Data Requires Real-Time Processing

While there is some data that can still use the batch processing, much of the data your business uses can benefit from real-time processing instead. Any data that is valuable to your business’s operations should be updated in real-time so it is always available when anyone needs it. This allows businesses to function more effectively. For instance, you can monitor a sales promotion as it is happening and make adjustments based on the trends you identify through your monitoring. This will increase the level of customer satisfaction your business can provide. With the increase in the use of eCommerce, customers expect this type of real-time interaction with online retailers. They don’t want to wait until the next day to see these transactions appear on their bank or credit card statements. They want confirmation the purchase was completed right away.

eCommerce has become important for all businesses today because of the urgency many consumers now feel. With the use of real-time processing for your systems, you will be able to increase the level of customer satisfaction and give your customers what they expect from an online shopping experience. Your business will be able to remain competitive, as well as offer your customers new features and experiences you wouldn’t otherwise be able to offer with batch processing. In the right situation, real-time processing gives your customers exactly what they desire.

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