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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Another View: Complex Event Processing Still in Search of a Market

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Where are we at with complex event processing (CEP)? In a new post, Colin Clark, CTO for Cloud Event Processing, says the market is still struggling to reach the multi-billion-dollar potential promised in recent years by analysts and vendors alike.

He observes that vendors shoulder much of the blame, observing that "CEP has failed to achieve the multi-billion dollar market forecasts that we all went out and raised money based upon because most vendors have failed to provide the education and tools necessary to create the complete user experience."

Not that event processing isn't a viable and preferred option. In fact, event processing is rapidly replacing batch processing as a primary transaction foundation. And, just about everyone at some level has engaged in event processing-driven computing over the past decade or so.  "In fact, you're using [an event driven architecture] one now - it's in your browser," Clark says. "Can you imagine what the user experience would be if your browser 'batched' up all of your mouse clicks and submitted them every 30 seconds?"

Event driven architectures "promise the same type of agility and increased user experience for line of business and consumer applications that you're experiencing right now," he adds.

The problem with "complex event processing" is that it has not seen widespread adoption beyond financial markets, mainly for high-frequency trading, Clark says. Event processing proponents and vendors may have gotten out too far ahead of themselves:

"The idea was that we were ushering in a New Way To Compute Things.  Like all technologists who spend way too much time thinking about this stuff, we thought everyone would immediately see how smart we were, run out and buy one of the CEP based products, and join is in revolutionizing how data is turned into information and used by business folk to make money and pay our salaries.  The only problem is, we forgot 2 things; 1) who would be using our software to do this work, and 2) who would subsequently be using the applications developed by 1."

For end-users, this is a world which demands instantaneous delivery of information via the Web and mobile devices. CEP is something that business users still can't get their heads around. Plus, event processing vendors are not offering CEP environments "that lets the IT folks build a complete application for the business user." So business users "are not impressed.  They don't get it.  And they don't provide budget for stuff they don't get."


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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