What Is BAM?
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is a collection of tools that allow you to manage aggregations, alerts, and profiles to monitor relevant business metrics (called Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs). It gives you end-to-end visibility into your business processes, providing accurate information about the status and results of various operations, processes, and transactions so you can address problem areas and resolve issues within your business.
The BAM Framework provides an easy, real-time, transaction-consistent way to monitor heterogeneous business applications, and to present data for SQL queries and aggregated reports (OLAP). Through queries and aggregations you can include not only the data that is present during the running business process, but also the state and the dynamics of the running business process, independent of how the business is automated.
BAM applies operational business intelligence and application integration technologies to automated processes to continually refine them based on feedback that comes directly from knowledge of operational events. In addition to auditing business processes (and business process management systems), BAM can send event-driven alerts that can be used to alert decision makers to changes in the business that may require action.
Why use BAM?
The typical enterprise today uses a variety of business applications, such as customer relationship management (CRM), SAP, and order management, purchased or developed internally over time. These applications frequently use disparate technologies and run as heterogeneous operating systems, ranging from COBOL programs using COM and COM+, to C# and Java.
At the same time, many aspects of a typical enterprise are based on human actions, such as phone calls, faxes, and e-mail. It becomes increasingly difficult to see “what is going on in the business” in such a complex environment. Nevertheless, with the increasing speed of the market, it is more crucial for enterprises to make quick decisions to take advantage of market opportunities or to prevent losses.
BAM can be used as a monitoring solution by IT managers who want to cut the cost of their distributed IT environments while improving service quality. BAM provides management oversight of the business-critical servers and applications across your company and offers a vertical view of high-performance workstations and applications within engineering, design, and production divisions.
BAM exposes the visibility requirements of the end-to-end business process. Using an understanding of how the various roles within the business interact with the business process as well as an understanding of the data requirements for the interactions, the business analyst interacts with the BAM design-time surface in Microsoft Office Excel through the BAM wizards to create activity and view definitions to support these visibility needs of the various roles.
More specifically, BAM addresses challenges facing enterprises as follows:
Business end user empowerment through the BAM portal
Business alerts and notifications
Better visibility creation and consumption experience
End-to-end visibility of the business process
Support for pipelines (and indirectly, adapters and Web services)
Immediate Activity change-on-the-fly
Interceptor and tracking profile guidelines