Monday, December 1, 2008

IBM's BEM announcement

Here we go:

IBM launches an attempt to define the "Business Event Management" space. This plays directly into all the controversies around CEP and its overlap and positioning with respect to other spaces such as "Business Process Management" or "Business Rules Management". You can find some of the discussions in Carole-Ann's blog [], Tim's blog [] and in my own blog in previous postings [ and].

Is this move by IBM good or bad?

Let's read a little the details:

a) "IBM is staking out a position in complex event processing as applied to business processes"
Ok, so the focus is around events as it pertains to their relevance to business processes. But we should probably not read too much into it given that IBM approaches this whole space from the business process perspective.
b) [it] " is an ability to define a discrete software event, then monitor it over time, set parameters around it, and trigger alerts if the rules governing it are violated"
Ok, fairly standard. But it does refer to "rules governing" alerts, I assume. To use terminology used before, this would be event correlation and pattern matching to translate the "ambient" events to business events.
c) Which is supported by the quote made of Luckham: "What is a complex event? It is an event that could only happen if lots of other events happened"
So far, pretty simple.

But then:
d) "By being able to combine views of software events and business events in one set of tools, IBM gains the prospect of "allowing business users to more easily change the logic in the business event processes," Reeves said. And they should be able to do so in business language, not programming languages"
This is interesting.

The content of the announcement seems to confirm two key things:
- First, event management is primarily about the identification and generation of business events from the ambient events. Similar to what Carole-Ann and I had written in previous posts.
- Second, IBM wants to introduce high level EPLs to express the logic for that processing that are business-centric, something very similar to what Business Rules Languages and approaches are in the business rules management area.

Of course, it is interesting that IBM is making this positioning public so early after the acquisition of Ilog, and long before any true integration with ApSoft.

This may be a way for IBM to establish the "Business Event Management" denomination early on.

I am ambivalent on the approach. While it's probably clear to the reader that I am not a fanatic of the "CEP" acronym, I think I need to read / learn more than a press release on what IBM really intends to cover with their new old TLA.
I also need to understand what IBM thinks of the relative roles of BEM and BRMS. I think that, as pointed out in some of the blogs referred to earlier, the roles are clear, but I am not sure what I call clear is what others would call acceptable.

What's your take?


Carole-Ann Matignon said...

Don't you find the timing interesting? Fairly quickly after the Oracle announcement on CEP...

From this post, I do not find anything related too specifically to Business Rules or a business language though. This is about processing performance. The way it should be?

Carole-Ann Matignon

Tim Bass said...

IBM acquired AptSoft a number of months ago. This recent IBM announcement aligns with the IBM AptSoft acquisition and statements IBM made in that time period.

Bascially, IBM wants to move away from the term "complex event processing" and position their current capabilities as "business event processing", now "business event management".

ArchitectGuy said...

Thanks for the comment, Tim. Yes, it does seem that IBM is trying to introduce this new BEM terminology.

What do you think of it?