Inspiring Performance 2011 kicks off in London today, only weeks after the Tibco’s acquisition of Nimbus. Tibco has been in the event business and Nimbus in business process. Are they really so different? Let’s think that through.
You’ve heard rock-solid arguments that BPM puts work in context and you’ve hopefully picked up on the ratinale for how BPM puts social in context. But are you also aware that BPM puts events in context? Complex Event Processing: As the world of business accelerates and globalizes, there is a growing emphasis on building IT infrastructure than can help companies to understand:
- What events matter to the business
- How to ‘see’ important events despite the background clutter of information
- What can be automated in response to detected events and what is a human response (or a hybrid of the two)
This becomes an exercise in discovering the most important patterns and being able to then create systems that allow those patterns to be detected. The discovery of an event is useless, however, without a way to feed that information to the right people at the right time, and in a context that makes it meaningful and actionable.
Business process management is about the flow of human and automation activities within the enterprise. It is about capturing and communicating behaviors so that an organization has some level of measured response on one end and assurance of survival on another. Internal or external, events can be something predictable as part of doing business and are the ways that processes are initiated or directed. Events can also be opportunities or threats, rare or commonplace, that must be ‘absorbed’ wisely into the way a business operates. The more ready for event absorption through well-defined business process, the more likely the positive or at least mitigated outcome of an event.
Not all things can be planned for. As Taleb tells us in Black Swan, improbable events have an outsized impact, so how does this factor into BPM and event management? No differently. An organization that has well-defined structure for how things should happen has a model for testing outliers to expected patterns. A great model reflects the collective wisdom and experience of the enterprise and is the place to stress test all manner of events as a way of strengthening and giving flexibility to the enterprise.
An organization is forward leaning and ready for accelerated business and globalization when it has true BPM capabilities and event-driven mindset. Only then can it search for opportunity or risk patterns and to proactively design responses before events manage the organization and not the other way around.