First-Mover Advantage: Complex-Event Processing Is What CIOs Need

by drjim on June 22, 2009

CIOs Need To Get To Know Complex-Event Processing

CIOs Need To Get To Know Complex-Event Processing

The job of  a CIO and the IT department is to equip the rest of the company to move faster and do more. One of the ways that a CIO can do this is by staying on top of new and emerging technologies (ex. unified communications).

If such technologies can be implemented in a useful way BEFORE the company’s competitors can do the same, then the CIO will have done his/her job. Complex-Event Processing looks like it may be another one of those technologies.

What Is “Complex-Event Processing”?

In business, knowledge is power and power is profit. Every business has multiple streams of information flowing into it at all times. Information on sales, inventory, returns, web site clicks, weather conditions, bank balances, etc.

For years firms have been processing these information streams individually and in near-real-time. These are the core business applications that produce the reports that get sent to senior management each night for them to review the next day. This is better than nothing, but it’s not quite enough.

Neal Leavitt writing in the IEEE’s Computer magazine points out that today’s traditional databases are not up to the task of analyzing continuous streams of business data in real-time searching for complex events (events that require more than one data stream to detect).

What is now arriving on the IT scene are general-purpose platforms that provide an IT department with enough processing horsepower to analyze real-time business information simultaneously across multiple business applications.

What’s It Good For?

Complex-event processing gives a firm the ability to spot interconnected business trends and patterns in real-time and then combine this information into complex events that can trigger alerts that can be sent to people in the company.

Complex events can include such things as determining when to trade stocks, detecting fraud as it is happening, spotting inventory issues before they become a problem, network status monitoring, etc.

Are There Any Risks?

Of course – this is cutting edge technology, there are always risks with this stuff. The current limitations to this type of technology include:

  • Lack Of Standards: specifically for the event-pattern detection and rule-based languages for different vendor’s products.
  • Education: this is new technology and businesses don’t fully understand what the products can do nor all of the situations in which they can be applied.
  • Missing Benchmarks: No standardized benchmarks currently exist so it’s difficult to compare products.

Final Thoughts

Every great business break-through starts with a dream. What could your firm do if you could analyze all of your business data streams in real-time? If the benefit is compelling enough, then perhaps it’s time to start looking into how you could apply complex-event processing to as a way to apply IT to enable the rest of the company to grow quicker, move faster, and do more.

Additional Resources

If you’re interested, here are links to several vendors who have products in the complex-event processing. I have no relationship with any of them so there is no order to the list:

Questions For You

Does your firm have multiple streams of real time data flowing into it? What do you do with these streams today?  What kind of delay is there from when the data arrives to when staff can take action on it? What could you do with the ability to analyze this data in real-time? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are thinking.

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you could be running the IT department for any company out there right now, which one would it be? A lot of us would say Google – everything that we’ve read and heard about the company makes it seem like a great place to work. However, it turns out that even Google is not immune to IT staff problems…

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