In today’s highly competitive, service-oriented business climate, operational managers and executives demand visibility into the status of their business process networks as they relate to the business key performance indicators (KPIs) in real time. To stay competitive and provide better service operations, managers need ways to analyze emanating application events so they can compute higher-level, complex event aggregates and thresholds that affect the business KPIs, and so they can alert business users with related context to act upon.
For instance, organizations that run distributed global supply chains with Just-in-Time inventory practices must constantly monitor their inventory levels and correlate them to the bill of materials and replenishment requests they’ve sent to their suppliers and logistics partners. They must do this so they can continually make sure they have a balanced flow of parts and inventory throughout their entire supply chain. Similarly, telecommunications companies that provision new services and new customers must continually monitor their provisioning processes that touch hundreds of operational systems to make sure they have an up-to-the minute view of the status of outstanding customer service requests. This paper outlines the types of operational analytics and real-time visibility challenges that organizations face, and the ways that Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) and Business Intelligence (BI) tools can help solve these challenges.
BI refers to how IT technologies can leverage data into meaningful information that provides richer insights into how a business is doing today, as well as a sense of where it may be going tomorrow. BI solutions help you analyze large amounts of historical data, identify patterns, and understand trends that might affect the business. Analyzing sales and operations, understanding customer behavior, and identifying opportunities for revenue increases and costs savings are some of the areas where BI solutions can give business users interesting insights.
BAM is a real-time, event-driven extension of BI. The extension is subtle but powerful. BI products have the reputation of working only with historical data gathered from data warehouses, and being inflexible to change. BAM technologies, on the other hand, can provide real-time business analytics on information emanating from transactional data sources including Web services, message queues etc. BAM lets you correlate heterogeneous events and patterns for causalities, aggregates, and thresholds based on end-user-defined preferences and models. It can deliver the analyzed information and alerts in real time to business users when and where the information matters. It provides a platform that enables a structured and collaborative problem-resolution process that ultimately helps you optimize business processes.