What is Complex Event Processing? (Part 7)

Posted by Tim Bass

In What is Complex Event Processing? (Part 6), we discussed impact assessment in event processing applications. Today, we introduce process refinement – the feedback loop, resource management and work flow components of event processing architectures. Business process management (BPM) also is a part of process refinement, depicted in slide 13 of my March 14, 2007 IDC presentation in Lisbon, Portugal.

This overarching event-correlation-assessment-decision-action concept in CEP is also discussed very nicely by John Bates and Giles Nelson, Progress Apama, in their on-demand webinar, Using CEP and BAM for Fraud & Compliance Monitoring. John and Giles do an excellent job covering a number of fraud detection, risk and compliance use cases that illustrate how raw events, like RFID tags in poker chips, are correlated in real-time to effect actionable processes. In addition, Paul Vincent, TIBCO Software, does a nice job illustrating another application of direct feedback based on real-time analytics in his blog post, CEP and the alphabet soup (Part 2): BI.

Event Processing Reference Architecture

In a nutshell, we can easily see that all of the components of the CEP functional reference architecture we discussed earlier, events, event pre-processing, event refinement, situational refinement and impact assessment, add value only if they lead to high confidence, resource efficient actions. This is one of the motivations behind David Luckham’s recently posted white paper, SOA, EDA, BPM and CEP are all Complementary.

Process refinement is the functional component of event processing that takes action based on detected situations and predicted impacts.

Examples of process refinement in real-time are:

* executing a trade in equities based on a series of events that lead to a high yield opportunity;

* alerting security by initiating incident workflow in an on-line e-commerce application when the likelihood of fraudulent behaviour and loss potential is high;

* notifying downstream suppliers and customers when an actionable exceptional condition was detected in the supply chain;

* adding a new firewall rule when high-confidence anomalous behaviour in detected on the network;

* notifying airlines, the FAA and the media as early as possible when a real time air disaster may be about to happen;

* automatically moving a camera in a casino to game tables where suspicious dealings have been detected while notifying security; or,

* turning on sensors ahead of the projected path, while turning off sensors behind the historical path, of a long-range missile in flight.

Alan Lundberg and I referred to this as event-decision architecture, when we collaborated on my keynote at the First Workshop on Event ProcessingProcessing Patterns for PredictiveBusiness, Other folks on the net, Brenda Michelson for example, refer to the process we are describing as a business-decision architecture.

What is important to note is that the overall goal of processing events is to take raw events as input and process the events to detect actionable situations with high confidence; and then affect the right process, with the right action, at the right time, as James Taylor correctly points out in his post on business decisioning.

In my next post in this series, What Is Complex Event Processing? Part 8, we will review another important aspect of event processing, visualization and the user interfaces to the components of the CEP reference architecture.

Copyright © 2007 by Tim Bass, All Rights Reserved.

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