David Luckham, inventor of CEP
Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University

What is CEP?

Complex Event Processing (CEP) is an emerging technology for building and managing information systems. The goal of CEP is to enable the information contained in the events flowing through all of the layers of the enterprise IT infrastructure to be discovered, understood in terms of its impact on high level management goals and business processes, and acted upon in real time. This includes events created by new technologies such as RFID.

Visit the comprehensive CEP website.

Other articles by Dr. Luckham:

BAM And CEP: A Marriage Of Necessity Or: Why BAM Must Use CEP
BAM Providers As Online Banking Fraud Preventers
The Beginnings of IT Insight: Business Activity Monitoring
Grand Visions For e-Commerce Require Solving 'IT Blindness'
Avoiding Disasters Waiting To Happen
"/> Viva La BAM!
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Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), Business Events and the Event Driven Architecture (EDA) are all becoming hot topics in the trade press and in industry analyst publications. But, the marketplace for this technology is still very soft. Very few of the stand-alone BAM vendors have grown to any significant size and the BAM offerings from the multi-product integration middleware vendors are being used by a relatively small percentage of their customers.

But just look what you get from BAM – real time or nearly real time visibility into the operations of the enterprise.

  • Want to know the call center’s average “time on hold” RIGHT NOW? BAM can do that – just look at the “speedometer” on the dashboard.
  • Need to know the current average time required to acknowledge orders submitted through your B2B gateway? Again, it’s on the dashboard.
  • Is it useful to be able to alert operations managers when the average time to pick orders in the warehouse goes past four hours? Just set a threshold in your BAM product and it will send an SMS message to the operations manager’s cell phone.

But, with all of the good stuff that’s available with BAM, it’s no big surprise that some folks are a little hazy on just what you can do with BAM…and what you can’t (or shouldn’t) do.

BAM captures data from ongoing business operations in real time and then uses that data for two purposes. Most visibly, BAM products produce a dashboard-like user interface where gauges and meters are used to show the current rate for order picking in a warehouse or time-on-hold in a call center. To make these graphical representations even easier to read at a glance, the results may be color-coded. For example, a graphical stoplight might shine red, yellow or green, depending on the data that’s been aggregated by the BAM event processing engine.

While the dashboard is the more visible aspect of a BAM product, it’s another BAM capability that really generates value for users. Let’s say that you’ve used your BPM product to automate car loan processing at a bank. It’s a complex process, but you’ve automated every step, so you promise all of your customers that you’ll provide approvals within ten seconds.

Implementation of a system like this is quite straightforward. With a time stamp applied to each message when it arrives at the bank and another time stamp applied when the loan approval is sent to the dealer, you can determine the response time for each loan application.


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Smart event processing can help your company run smarter and faster. This comprehensive guide helps you research the basics of complex event processing (CEP) and learn how to get started on the right foot with your CEP project using EDA, RFID, SOA, SCADA and other relevant technologies. Learn More

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