Sidebar: What's Next for BAM

Business activity monitoring today is based on first-generation tools, but in a few years, BAM systems will become tightly coupled to business process management systems, says Gartner analyst Bill Gassman. "BAM applications may send alerts in a publish/subscribe model to lots of BPM systems throughout the enterprise. Events go in and alerts come out, but those alerts just become events in other applications."

For example, Gassman says, a BAM system could generate an alert that the estimated date of a package delivery had slipped. A CRM system and a BPM system might each subscribe to such "package due-date change" alerts, extending the usefulness of the alerts.

Over time, BAM systems will include ever more sophisticated rules of logic. They eventually will be capable of finding hidden patterns in current business activity by doing on-the-fly analyses of historical data, says Bill Jacobs, a senior product manager at Sybase Inc. in Dublin, Calif. "If a process is beginning to go south, typically the early seeds of that are hard to see," he says. "Eventually, we'll see BI and BAM married at the level of using historically recorded data to identify problems much earlier."

But doing that will require much network bandwidth and computer power. "There are a couple of more cycles of Moore's Law required," Jacobs acknowledges.

Even further out lies the Holy Grail of BAM, Jacobs adds. That's when a system not only sees a problem coming but also goes beyond sending alerts to actually fixing the problem -- automatically reordering a part when it sees that a shipment has been lost, for example. "That's a sort of autonomic response, a self-learning system," he says.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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