Almost everyone wants to have an adaptive enterprise, a company that runs faster
and smarter because it has "situational awareness," can "sense-and-respond"
to opportunities and threats, and can "track-and-trace" items as they
go through their life cycles. What do these three capabilities have in common?
They are all achieved through event processing.
Situational awareness implies having an up-to-the-minute understanding of all
critical aspects of your internal operations and the external environment. It
is "knowing what is going on so you can figure out what to do" (Adam
1993). Sense-and-respond has a similar flavor, and in fact, the term is sometimes
used interchangeably with situational awareness. However sense-and-respond emphasizes
timely reaction to specified opportunities and threats whereas situational awareness
connotes having a holistic view of many factors.
Track-and-trace is a bit different. It focuses on recording the status of identified
items as they move between physical locations or through the steps of a business
process. For example, logistic systems track-and-trace movements of physical
goods in supply chains. They tell users where a shipment has been and where
it is now, predict when it will arrive at a destination and can prove that it
was delivered. The idea of track-and-trace can also apply to the movement of
insurance claims, customer orders and other information-based items as they
go through their life cycles.
Situational awareness, sense-and-respond and track-and-trace are aspirations.
Event processing is how those aspirations can be achieved. It encompasses a
specific set of concepts, design pattern, best practices and software tools.
To address the growing importance of this field, Gartner has organized a new
conference on Event Processing and Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) to be
held from September 19 - 21, 2007 in Orlando Florida (see http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=502259&tab=overview).
It is aimed primarily at architects, software engineers, business analysts and
IT managers. This article provides background information for those who will
attend the conference and others who want to learn more about the subject.
Overview of Event Processing
Event processing encompasses two separate, although related, notions: