BAM bolsters data visibility

The lines between data and process integration are blurring as vendors link traditional business intelligence with enterprise application integration. BI and EAI vendors are tying message feeds with analytics to provide real-time visibility through BAM (business activity monitoring), an emerging technology that provide access to critical business performance indicators.

For example, the new version of Business Objects SA's BI suite, BusinessObjectsEnterprise 6, enables organizations to track, analyze, and manage enterprise performance. The suite includes analytics, a BI platform, and data-integration software. It was slated to be generally available in the middle of this month.

Other players are teaming up to integrate their platforms to offer BAM, and pure-play vendors are moving to tap this growing market. Informatica Corp. and webMethods Inc. rolled out a new BAM platform in April that integrates webMethods' Integration Platform with Informatica'sPowerCenter data-integration platform and PowerAnalyzer BI software.

"PowerCenter sits in the integration network created by webMethods and can see any transactions that come across the network in real time," said Jim Ivers, senior director of product marketing at webMethods in Fairfax, Va.

"Instead of having to get information from the database, it can see right into the business process flow. Anything that can come across the integration network can be seen as an event indicator. You can apply filters to determine if that is just a transaction or an event to report in BAM context."

For example, if a company's CRM system indicates that a top customer is placing orders that are 80 percent of previous levels, Informatica's data warehousing and analytic tools can interpret this to plan a response, such as notifying the sales team, which can be invoked using the business process management capabilities of webMethods.

EAI player Tibco has also embraced BAM with the newest version of its BusinessFactor, released earlier this year. The new iteration relies on a mix of business-process monitoring and BI tools to boost data visibility for business decision makers.

BAM is on the rise because of the natural synergy between EAI's process integration and management and BI vendors' data integration, which enables advanced analytics. As a result, enterprises can leverage end-to-end integration of complex enterprise processes coupled with real-time insight into those processes, said David McCoy, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

"We've had an artificial boundary between data and process integration," McCoy said. "BI has not dealt with real-time data, (and) application-integration vendors are terrible with analytics. BAM is higher in the stack. It was a natural progression. BAM is really about events. It has an analytics layer that lets me build models that will say, when this event comes in, look for these correlated events."

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