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I have written before about my admiration for the Operational Intelligence capabilities of Vitria, whereby they combine a real-time data hub with a complex event processing engine to trigger critical workflows enabling real time events to be responded to. They have now announced that they are expanding the capability of their market offering to embrace business activity monitoring (BAM). Typically Operational Intelligence operates within a clearly identified business area, and operates at the operational level; whereas BAM, whilst based on similar core technologies of aggregation, analysis and presentation of real-time (or perhaps more accurately near real-time) information has a far broader scope, it looks to remove the silos of information and looks at a process end to end. Rather than being focussed at an operational level, it is focussed at management level providing real time alerts and dashboards to middle and senior management to enable them to control critical processes. The question of scope is key; an end-to-end process may be across an enterprise but could also embrace suppliers and customers. Critical BAM applications that I have seen include risk management activities in financial institutions and supply chain applications involving outsourced partners installing equipment in network providers. The goal is to look at the notoriously difficult to manage processes that have the biggest impact on customer perception or regulatory conformance and to provide management with the oversight to enable them to manage them effectively.
From December 3rd, Vitria will be unveiling five streaming data analytics applications, these will allow processes to be mapped and tracked across business units, cutting across the silos to present an end to end picture. They will allow KPIs to be created in minutes. They will deliver real time actionable insight to live dashboards readily tailored to the needs of key business users. This is all delivered by a point and click interface, which I found to be really impressive. In the past when a point and click interface has been used the capability has always tended to be rather too simple for you to say enthusiastically that this is fit for the business to deliver all that they will need. There has been a dramatic improvement in the capability that Vitria have as an example that left me really impressed. They have abstracted the problem to be addressed into a simple series of target, actions and outcomes that will be readily identifiable by a business user. They make the selection, hit the run button and in minutes they have produced the sort of application that would have taken days, if not weeks, to hand crank only a short while ago.
Vitria are offering the capability in the cloud so people can try it out before committing, and that should whet people’s appetites to the sort of problems that can be addressed. I was really impressed by the Activity Discovery capability, which allows a workflow to be analysed, with the linkages, sequence and dependencies mapped out. The analysis function then shows how data flows through the process, identifying where the bottlenecks etc are. It literally takes what could look like a nightmare bowl of spaghetti, like the flow of reported faults through first, second and third line support; and orders, illustrates and models that flow into something that conveys all of the critical information visually and with amazing clarity.
The tool is very powerful, highly configurable, and truly intuitive; and without a doubt one that addresses real world needs. I cannot think of a company I have worked at in the last thirty years who would not benefit from its adoption, so it comes highly recommended.