A central challenge for any digital transformation initiative is dealing with the ever-increasing pace of change – in the marketplace, in the technology environment, and in the world at large. Clearly, as customer expectations accelerate, our technology must keep up. Squeezing every last millisecond of performance leads to the demand for real-time – technology with no delays whatsoever, moving at the speed of thought itself. If we examine this real-time requirement more closely, however, important nuances emerge. First, real-time never actually means instantaneous, as it always takes a certain amount of time for bits to find their way to their destination. But even more important for any digital professional to understand, the concept of real-time has several subtly different meanings – and understanding the differences is critical for making effective technology decisions.