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How Should BI and CEP Work Together?

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This question comes from a Business Intelligence Webinar on ebizQ, and asks simply: How should BI and CEP work together?

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  • There are actually three distinct BI Flavors:
    a. Traditional BI - This is more like a rear-view mirror kind of analysis - what did we sell where to whom, by who? Or what did we earn from what product from what region, etc.

    b. CEP - This is real-time, real-time Business Intelligence. The kind of BI and latency that you need to trigger off SELL or BUY orders on the Stock Market if Stock of Company X goes below $5 or goes above $10. You need to monitor this every micro second or so. The second kind of CEP BI is instant refusal of a credit card approval request if fraud is suspected based on certain patterns.

    c. The third kind is needed for Business Processes which require a combination of Post-Mortem analysis - how much time did a loan processing instance take end to end, how much time did an agent spend on the phone resolving a customer service issue, etc. Here some level of real-time CEP processing and alerting is needed also so that things can be set right before SLAs are breached for example.

  • I've long-believed that the intersection of CEP and BI will mark a bold new beginning in enterprise information systems. A BI dashboard designed to calculate and display key data thresholds could alert a human that attention is needed in a certain area of the business while the event processing system generates automatic downstream system updates that may, for instance, trigger a supply or demand chain change . . . or even modify a business process.

    By marrying changes in data to which humans should attend while simultaneously monitoring data to which other systems should attend will create breakthrough improvements in a wide variety of enterprise information systems.

  • BI and CEP have often been unnaturally linked together through the oxymoronic term: "Real-time BI." The problem is that in addition to the insurmountable number of dimensions that users have to deal with, CEP brings another super-dimension - time. In reality, I believe the hyphen between data analysis and CEP is through the deployment power of Predictive Analytics. The technology can then detect trends, identify key variables and dimensions, and bring powerful sophisticated mathematical techniques to quickly analyze, react to and automatically provide the right insights to optimize business decisions.

    Technology needs to undertake the complex event and data processing analysis that is taking place as events stream through business processes. Then, bring what is relevant to decision-makers (management, business users, call center operators, customer support reps, etc...) at a "moment of truth" while dealing with customers. BI is crucial to understand what happened in the past, but to optimally interact with a customer, at a pivotal moment in time, is why Predictive Analytics and CEP are made for each other.

  • Although this post is a few years old, I stumbled across it as I was reading some other eBizQ articles at an interesting moment - just a few days after we announced our new product from StreamBase called StreamBase LiveView, which is tackles a number of the productization issues that you all have referred to in this discussion from a while back - the marriage of CEP for event processing with the ad-hoc query mechanisms familiar to many in the BI space. Here's the introduction we created for it:


    You've raised a number of interesting questions about how this should all come together that we've tried to tackle, and plan to tackle moving forward, as big data and the continued adoption of CEP push innovation forward in CEP -

    - Mark Palmer, CEO, StreamBase

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