There's nothing new about event processing - good architects have been employing event processing into their systems for years, to better manage data and commands going in and out of their systems. What is new, however, is that event processing now plays a role at the business level, enabling decision makers to respond almost immediately to changes affecting the business.
These were some of the points explored by Roy Schulte, vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner Inc., and co-author of Event Processing: Designing IT Systems for Agile Companies, at ebizQ's latest BPM in Action Web conference. Moving to an event-driven business culture requires a significant shift in the way organizations are structured and managed, Schulte says.
Previously, organizations have been set up along the lines of the military's command and control structure, as a way to see through the fog of war. The challenge now, Schulte says, is to employ the right kinds of tools and organization structure to be able to see through the "fog of commerce." Real-time operational intelligence, incorporating data feeds from both external and internal events and driven through analytical systems, is the key to such visibility. To get there, he says, enterprises need to "embed business intelligence directly into business process, prescribing various activities, what's happening at the moment."
This is something that quickly gets the attention of upper management, he points out. "The notion of intelligence inside of companies is pretty well accepted," he says. But turning this information into actionable analytics is another challenge.
Schulte was joined by Dr. Mohammad Kerabchi, chief strategist with Progress Software, who explained how intelligent event processing leads to an "operationally responsive enterprise." This paves the way to key enterprise requirements, such as reducing costs while improving quality.
Achieving an operationally responsive enterprise relies on being able to enable situational awareness from the huge volumes of data flowing into enterprises. "Ten years ago, it was pretty rare to see real-time monitors," Schulte says. "Now you're seeing consoles that give you situation awareness." While such technologies provide a good start, the amount of data can be overwhelming, he adds. "There's no point in collecting great information unless you can do something about it."
Introducing real-time situational awareness to decision makers is something completely new for most enterprises, Schulte adds. "This is unlike most changes in IT. Most changes in IT, like service oriented architecture or business process management drastically affect how the the IT department runs, but the business people only get to benefit indirectly. When you talk about this idea of intelligent business operations, it's more visible to people. Their jobs change, and the way they get information, and the speed by which they get information is drastically improved."
ebizQ colleague Anne Stuart also recently spoke with Schulte about the rise of operational intelligence as a key element in an event-driven architecture. "BI systems have access to a lot of information--but even that information often isn't available to the people making the decisions," Schulte says. "There's a gap between what the business-intelligence department knows and what the people running the business know."