Most organizations are just starting to deal with events and event patterns in a reactive fashion. This is particularly true in the world of the Internet of Things or the Internet of Everything, where there are emitters everywhere that are creating events and event patterns of interest to organizations and the processes that support business operations.
In the book The Two-Second Advantage, authored by TIBCO CEO Vivek Randadivé and Kevin Maney, there is an emphasis on anticipation. The tagline for the book is “How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future—Just Enough.” We now live in the world that has to react to emerging events and patterns at a minimum, and predict the potential outcomes of taking actions in the processes that direct deliverables as soon as possible. This is a new world for many organizations that only promises to accelerate in velocity and get very complex and dynamic in nature. This is going to put a premium on accurate reactions and guided predictions for process outcomes. Organizations can no longer afford not to have intelligent business operations that are fueled by the combination of events and processes supercharged by Big Data analytics.
Reacting to Events
Since most process engines have, at their heart, an event/state machine, they are wired to react to events. The problem with process engines is that their field of view is often focused on a pre-wired process diagram. While processes are tending towards unstructured, case-based, and collaborative in their make-up, the view is still quite myopic. This is where event processing, both single and complex events, come into play. Events can broaden and deepen the view of processes to know when to change and adjust, now that agility is one of the major benefits. As events occur they can be aggregated, filtered, and watched over time to notify process directors, managers, and participants of a need to react in a measured time frame. In fact, intelligent processes can even self-direct appropriate actions based on events detected. There are a few vendors who get this and have implementations in production.
Anticipating Events and Actions
While reacting to events and event patterns is crucial, the premium on time-to-market responses by intelligent processes is rising. There are new methods of pre-planning business scenarios and having events processing look for the emerging signs of needing to enact a pre-planned scenario, and appropriate process actions to enable and track the newest scenario implemented. This requires some deep simulation and scenario planning session. Look here for an example of a scenario of planning that’s using systems dynamics and executive planning sessions.
Another and more popular approach is to use events to trigger an analysis or business goal modeling that tries alternative goals’ weights, goals, rule changes, and so forth in existing processes to see the likely outcome of changes. This can be human or machine guided. We see these kinds of approaches in adaptable manufacturing lines and in the defense industry in running “The Predator” for tactical observation missions. With the advent of Big Data and poly-analytics applied at the point of interesting events or event patterns, I expect the intelligence of processes will be extended to gain and maintain advantage.
In a few years, it will be unthinkable of having processes without events processing expanding the view and impact of intelligent processes. The number of resources managed by processes is expanding exponentially, and the events these resources can create and detect will explode in numbers. This can only lead to a strong marriage of events and intelligent process.