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Consider Business Activity Monitoring (BAM): what does it do? The short answer is that it provides real-time information about your business activities (processes). Thus, to take a simple example, you can see that you are currently processing 5,000 invoices an hour.
Jolly good. But how useful is it to know that you are processing this number of invoices? Is 5,000 good? Is it bad? Is it typical for this day of the week? Is it normal for this time of the day? Does it meet service level requirements?
That’s the problem with monitoring, whether it is BAM or any other sort of monitoring: you need to have some sort of context in which to place the results that you see. Without that context the only sensible response to these figures is: so what?
In other words, BAM is pretty much a waste of time unless there are also some sort of comparative analytics that you can do to place the results that you are getting into context. To put that another way: you need to be able to apply business intelligence (BI) techniques to the raw data that you are getting from BAM.
You can see where I am going with this, can’t you? Yup, what we need is a new acronym: ‘BAMBI’! And, as a matter of policy I think that all future acronyms should be based on cartoon characters (after all there is already OWL, named after the character in Winnie the Pooh) – no, just kidding.
The only problem with BAMBI is that it is a bit limiting. Why should business intelligence only be applied to BAM? Why shouldn’t it be applied to other sorts of event-based data? And, in fact, there are a number of companies that can do just that. For example, SeeWhy (about which I will write more in a forthcoming article) applies BI to all sorts of streamed data, to detect such things as retail shrinkage and loyalty card fraud, or to analyse the performance of delivery companies within the supply chain.
Thus there is actually a superset of BAM to which BI can be applied, which is any set of event data that is flowing through the company that does not necessarily have any relationship to business processes per se.
The conclusion is that there is no such thing as BAM as a distinct market (if you must have it, treat it purely as an extension to Business Process Management) and, unfortunately, that we do not need BAMBI either. However, if we do not need to have a new acronym, and in the spirit of this article, I suggest EEYORE: Every Event for Your Operational Reporting Environment!