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Complex event processing (CEP) software is powering a new generation of applications that enables companies to make faster, better decisions and execute more timely and effective actions. CEP software analyzes rapidly changing data about markets, customers, transactions and operations in real-time to drive "in-the-moment" actions.



Traditional business intelligence requires the user or application to ask "what is happening," often with data that is at least days old and incomplete. In a world of electronic markets, internet transactions, global operations and fast moving competitors, this approach can be too slow and indecisive for many operational decisions.

CEP software uses an "event-driven" architecture that enables applications to send alerts when significant business events have occurred with situational details at the very second they occur. CEP software continuously analyzes all the data flowing into applications and on the network, along with historical and reference information, and sends "signals" to notify a business user of what action to take, or trigger other applications to take an automated action.

As you might imagine, this technology is most often associated with large investment services firms, because of the importance of real-time, sub-second actions in trading environments. Many of the top-tier investment banks are using CEP technology successfully, as are many smaller, more nimble firms seeking competitive advantage.

What is going unnoticed and shows the true potential for CEP technology is the diversity of industries that use CEP today. Some examples include:

  • energy management and distribution service companies
  • next-generation, internet-based telecommunications service providers
  • large- and medium-sized internet commerce/retailing companies
  • asset management and optimization software suppliers
  • a utility service provider
  • a mobile workforce/service companies

A great example of the diversity of CEP utilization is Sallie Mae, a current customer that has won awards for its CEP applications. Sallie Mae has fundamentally changed the way it interacts and manages online customers by using CEP technology. They use CEP to immediately recognize events that cause delays in customer transactions and to monitor for fraud patterns, allowing them to solve problems while users are still on the site, not after the fact. CEP engines help to process and analyze millions of events per second, drawn from sources such as network and system management software, click streams, message buses, and external data and applications.

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