Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is not exactly new concept. Wikipedia refers to BAM as, “the aggregation, analysis, and presentation of real-time information about activities inside organizations and involving customers and partners.” In other words, BAM tells you, in real time, what is going on in your organization – or a network of organizations. Unlike traditional BI or reporting tools, the key point with BAM is that information is always in real-time (think: You don’t gather performance metrics once a month, once a week, or even once a day; you always have information about the current situation).
The importance of understanding business performance in real-time is constantly increasing as the agility requirements of the business rise. You must be able to quickly understand changes in market demand, actions of your competitors, performance of your suppliers, and subsequently modify your own behavior according to these changes.
Business Activity Monitoring and Integration Solutions
BAM is a natural companion of integration. As integration solutions are transferring business-critical information between your systems, and increasingly in your partner network, your integration solution has all the data that is relevant to understanding your business processes. For this reason, a number of different integration solutions have provided BAM functionalities.
However, when you ask your selected integration customer, the most common answer may be, “Yes, we know BAM. But we haven’t implemented it.” Why is this?
The problem with incorporating BAM into integration solutions is there are two worlds out there that should interact. The underlying integration solution is a world of potentially complex, technical information exchanging between different systems, potentially involving integrating applications in different organizations. The other world is the world of business. This is a world that is not interested in message transformations, process orchestrations or protocol interfaces; a world that is interested in simple key performance indicators (KPIs), telling me how my business is doing. Pretty often it has been pretty hard to make these two world to interact fluently.
Another problem is the fact that if you want to measure something – and understand the results – you have to understand the history. You should have your business requirements in place. You may need to derive your business requirements from your business vision and strategy – things that in turn have been derived from your historical performance and experience. Often times, integration solutions are building something around entirely new services, products or business segments – an area you simply do not have past experience or performance expectations.
So, you are building new integration functionalities that are able to provide great insight to your business performance. Initially, you don’t know what to expect, and you have trouble figuring out the KPIs. However, is this insight to your new business processes something that you are ready to ignore?
In order to make sure you don’t miss this beneficial information we are introducing a concept called Discovery-based Business Activity Monitoring. The overall idea of this concept is to make the BAM dashboard creation as easy as possible – and once created, it can be further refined to ensure your processes are performing exactly the way you like.