Saturday, November 29, 2008

Real-time business intelligence you can act on

Recently, I read a post called Real-time business intelligence you can act on, written by Ephraim Schwartz in his InfoWorld's blog. He starts the post writing: "Continuous intelligence promises to improve the pace of business -- and the bottom line" and "Sometimes changing the name of a product isn't just marketing sleight of hand, rather it actually succeeds in giving potential customers insight into the true purpose of the product at hand."

He is talking about the use of CEP (Complex Event Processing) technology, that some people prefer call CI (Continuous Intelligence), as for example the Coral8 CEO Terry Cunningham, that he found.

What CI attempts to do is to remove the divide between the transaction and query systems.

When you eliminate lag time between OLTP (online transaction processing), event analysis, and the automated execution of a subsequent event, you end up with a very powerful tool.

Whether you call it CI or CEP, this tool isn't new. It has found a home for many years in the financial services industry, where CEP enables trading houses to track and store in real time the universe of equities, including derivatives at the rate of 50,000 events per second during peak trading hours.

Cunningham said:
"It is physically impossible to do real-time data processing in a traditional data warehouse. By the time you collect the millions of bits of data, minutes or even hours have gone by, while your business may require answers in milliseconds.

CI is not necessarily a replacement for a data warehouse. Some CI applications may still require that the data be put in context, and that happens when it is merged with the information from a data warehouse.

If you calculate the volume weighted average price of a stock at $26.50, you won't know if that is good or bad unless you look up the history."

The concept of CI isn't new even in retailing. The change now is that the concept can be actualized.

CI will improve the way the companies do business. Business problems are getting more complex, and applications need to keep up.

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