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The term 'Business Activity Monitoring' ...refers to the aggregation, analysis, and presentation of real time information about activities inside organizations and involving customers and partners. A Business Activity can either be a business process that is orchestrated by Business Process Management (BPM) software, or .... BAM is an ... solution primarily intended to provide a real-time summary of business activities to operations managers and upper management. BAM


Learn how you can monitor IT and business activities on a single dashboard by converting ITCAM for SOA events for display and processing by WebSphere Business Monitor. Three sample scenarios illustrate how to define monitor models to configure WebSphere Business Monitor. IBM


Business activity monitoring (BAM) refers to the aggregation, analysis, and presentation of relevant and timely information about business activities across your extended enterprise. BAM provides more accurate information about the status and results of operations, processes, and transactions so you can make better decisions, more quickly address problem areas, and reposition your organization to take full advantage of emerging opportunities. Network Monitoring Software

Business Activity Monitoring Software

Definition: Business Activity Monitoring Software collects data about a company’s operations in real-time and relays it to employees within the company who can use it to do their jobs more effectively. In addition to merely passing along data, it is common for business activity monitoring solutions to include an analytical intelligence layer which sifts and processes the data beforehand, detecting problems as or before they occur, sending alerts to specific employees in response to pre-defined conditions.



A number of distinct Business Activity Monitoring Solutions exist. Some are offered by so-called “pureplay” vendors such as Systar, companies which are focused exclusively on the Business Activity Monitoring sector. In fact, the pureplay players seem to be the exception in the field. Most of the practical Business Activity Monitoring applications out there come from the leading enterprise software vendors such as Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle, who, having sensed an emerging trend in the marketplace, were quick to tack on Business Activity Monitoring capabilities to some of their existing software products. Microsoft added Business Activity Monitoring features to its Biztalk Server suite, for example; IBM added them to Websphere; and Oracle enhanced its application server offering with Business Activity Monitoring features.

Business Activity Monitoring Solutions often present a dashboard like interface, offering information in a easy-to-digest graphical style through the aid of pie charts, graphs and the like. In this respect, they could be considered closely related to Executive Information Systems. Typically, end users in the Business Activity Monitoring pipeline will identify the metrics – the essential nuggets of information which track the performance of an important business process  - which they consider crucial to doing their jobs effectively. These are known as Key Performance Indicators or KPIs and will be presented prominently on the user interface. The visual aspect of the user interface tends to vary greatly from one business activity monitoring software product to another. Some use custom-written applications with their own graphical widgets and windows, while others prefer to present their information via web-pages which the users then access through a browser.

Many Business Activity Monitoring software suites  aspire to go beyond simply relaying information to executives, however, by incorporating advanced event-processing features. At the most basic level, these event processing features may permit alert-triggering when key metrics reach specified values. For example, an executive may want to be informed when more than 500 box units are stored in the warehouse awaiting transport. The software may be able to send an alert by either popping up a window on the executive’s computer, sounding an alarm, or sending a message to a mobile phone. Beyond simple trigger events, however, some Business Activity Monitoring software aims to be able to handle complex event processing, detecting patterns from a variety of input sources that would otherwise elude almost any human operator.  

Because of these artificial intelligence like features, some Business Activity Monitoring software may be empowered to authorise significant business actions on its own, without the involvement of any human operator, although, of course, the actions of the software can always be overridden by human mandate. For example, if the software detects a pattern of fraud in the use of a credit card, it may immediately shut down authorisation to use the credit card, without prior approval from an employee of the company.

Another important difference between Business Activity Monitoring software and the more familiar executive information systems is that business activity monitoring is not aimed exclusively at top tier executives. Indeed, because it primarily concerns operational intelligence, business activity monitoring is often more suitable for managers who are out there in the trenches dealing with the nitty-gritty, rather than those who are safely ensconced in the executive suite. Even non-managerial staff can benefit substantially from a well-designed business activity monitoring system. To take a hypothetical example, a Business Activity Monitoring system operating in a chain of burger restaurants could detect, by analysing transactions entered by counter staff and comparing it to a record of inventory levels, that the number of burger boxes remaining in a branch had fallen below one hundred. A visual notification could be sent to a PC running in the branch, alerting staff there to the potential problem. With a mouse click, Joe or Jill Burger-maker could order up a new load of burger boxes from the supplier.

Business Activity Monitoring software is considered to be part of the general Business Intelligence software landscape. But while some business intelligence products concern themselves primarily with analysing historical information to aid in strategic decision making, in Business Activity Monitoring the emphasis is very much on the use of data in real time to give operational intelligence. Business Activity Monitoring also tends to be event driven, meaning that the software reacts dynamically to events as they occur rather than merely polling information from the relevant data sources periodically. The goal here is to give staff the ability to respond to business challenges as they emerge, nipping potential problems in the bud or mitigating the effects of them as they are felt, rather than being relegated to doing damage control and cleanup operations afterwards.

To be truly effective, Business Activity Monitoring usually requires extensive customisation to meet the requirements of each business. This is because businesses are highly distinct from one another and what may be an important metric for one may be irrelevant to another. Since customisation often involves bespoke IT development, even if one based on a standard Business Activity Monitoring software solution, it can also be expensive. For this reason, it tends only to be in larger enterprises that Business Activity Monitoring software has yet made much headway. To help address the problem, software vendors are attempting to include easier customisation options within their standard packages, so perhaps business activity monitoring will go mainstream in future.