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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Keynote: A Mnemonic That Helps Clarify Event Processing

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Complex event processing need not be so complex. In fact, over the next few years, systems that sense and respond to events will be as commonplace as business intelligence systems are today.

The grand finale for latest SOA in Action conference was a joint presentation by the dynamic team of Roy Schulte (Gartner), Dr. Mani Chandy (CalTech), and Frank Chisolm (IBM). The three made the case for event processing as an important initiative for businesses seeking to remain competitive in the years ahead.

Mani Chandy and Roy Schulte have just puiblished a new book on the subject, entitled "Event Processing - Designing IT Systems for Agile Companies."

Mani laid out the case for event processing as a mnemonic -- A, E, I, O, U (but not sometimes Y):

A -- Adaptability: "The event pattern has two advantages, one is loose coupling for application integration, and the other is sense and response," Mani said. "App integration because producers and consumers are coupled in a loose way without knowing about each other. Its easy to add or change the producers and consumers of a system. With the sense and respond aspect, an example is scheduling railroad crews -- a complex problem, a sense-and-response problem.  Because unscheduled events happen all the time, smart railroads are using event processing to adapt."

E for Exceptions: "Computers have to analyze torrents of data to extract nuggets," said Mani. "These nuggets are the events that require a response. A characteristic of smart people and smart systems is that they mange by exception.. they perform continuing operations effectively, bit they continue to detect and respond exceptional situations. Event processing helps separate the critical from non-critical."

I for Instrimentation: "Successful businesses manage exceptional events successfully," according to Mani. "Event processing is used to instrument and monitor the exception and the normal. You will see a rapid rise in business instrumentation and event processing for to improvement of business activity in the next decade."

O for Outside: "1960s-90s enterprise IT dealt with mainly IT inside the enterprise. Now the enterprise is responding the events externally," said Mani. "The enterprise monitors actions by the government, its competitors, its suppliers, and its best customers.  The ability to sense and respond to events out side the enterprise using event processing is a significant competitive advantage."

U for Unanticipated events: "Enterprises develop event process applications to handle certain types of that they expect, and must also deal with conditions that they don't expect," Mani explained. "Any significant deviations are detected by an event processing application which then sends information about this deviation to appropriate people before the analysis."

1 Comment

I don't think I've ever heard/seen the word Instrumentation used in connection to monitoring or processing a data stream except, perhaps, as part of a mechanical control system. Mani should rethink it. He could even rework it here within your A-E-I-O-U framework with a bit of a pun --

I = Instreamentation [In-stream-entation]

-- or is humor not allowed even if the neologism works?


In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more


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