The Emergence of BAM
After users can be notified of events, the next set of capabilities to emerge is referred to as business activity monitoring (BAM). Broadly speaking, BAM is characterized by the following key capabilities:
Integrated data sources
Alert definition and notification
Business process definition
Event correlation from multiple sources
Automated response to alerts
While these features have existed for many years in event-monitoring systems (consider Tivoli, OpenView, etc.), these same capabilities have not been made available to business users. Returning to the earlier example, a network monitoring system can alert a system administrator that a major event is about to happensay, a server is about to go down. However, a business user has no such mechanism to alert him if he is about to miss delivery of a major order (caused by a server that's about to go down).
The first three capabilities in the list aboveintegrated data sources, alert definition/notification, and business process definitionhave already been discussed. (The first article in this series covered process definition.)
Event correlation allows the system to correlate what may be appear on the surface to be unrelated system-level events, to produce a relevant business-level event. This capability results in fewer notifications to the user.
The fifth capability in the list above requires that users be able to define automated exception-handling procedures for common errors. The automated exception can be as simple as logging the error or as complex as invoking an automated process on an internal or external system. With this technique, the user only has to intervene for truly exceptional conditions.
The last capability in the list above enables the user to define various visual metaphors so that the events are displayed in the manner that's most meaningful to the user. The display may consist of a chart (2D or 3D), a map, a globe, a series of time-sorted events, etc. In many cases, representing events as a series of tabular data obscures what's really happening.