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The year so far has seen the interest in event processing gathering momentum. It is moving out of being used in niche areas – for electronic trading for example – and being recognised as a general method of building more responsive systems and applications.
There's evidence for this. Two influential analyst firms have published event processing reports this year. IDC in February and most recently Forrester, who published their Wave in July. This means the software market more generally recognises event processing as a distinct discipline. If you follow John Rymer or Mike Gaultieri on Twitter, the two Forrester analysts responsible for the Wave, you'll now see them reporting frequently on customer enquiry calls regarding event processing. Joe McKendrick, influential IT commentator, yesterday described event processing as a bona fide market. In addition, we've just got back the results from a global study in the uptake of real-time technology. We'll be talking more about this soon, but here's an interesting snippet – 86% companies reported that they had critical business events they wanted to monitor in real-time. If that's not evidence that the market for event processing will accelerate in future, I don't know what is. And finally, and perhaps most concretely, the number of vertical industries deploying event processing has increased. In addition to a whole range of use cases in financial services, Progress has now got customers using Apama in telecommunications, transport and logistics, manufacturing, retail and travel.
Why is this happening? Firstly, the benefits of event processing are becoming better understood by a wider group of people, both in the business and technology domains. Secondly, organisations are having to act because of the ever increasing amounts of data being thrown at them. An example of this latter point is Royal Dirkzwager, maritime information supplier, who has taken an event processing approach in part because its data rates are increasing from 10s of events per second to 10s of thousands a second. Finally, organisations generally are having to become more responsive – whether to detect errors or risks with existing business processes or to be able to interact with customers more intelligently. 3 Italia, the mobile telco, provides an example here. The end-of-day report, reporting on what happened rather than what is happening is simply not good enough.
Is it this issue of responsiveness that is really the key driver; the reason why an organisation can commit dollars to a project. Becoming more proactive enables you to spot problems more quickly (and therefore repair issues more cheaply), improve customer service (by, for example, reacting to customer interactions with a Web site or wireless network more quickly) and to be more competitive (for example, by pricing products more dynamically by taking customer propensity and changing market information into account). In every customer I can think of, it is one or more of these issues that has driven them to buy; the understanding of the impact of processing crucial events in the business – of doing business event processing.
The market has yet to become mainstream. It is still one that is about innovation rather than commoditization. It still takes visionaries and light bulb moments for the applications of event processing to be identified. But it is rapidly changing. It won't be too long before the full force of events becomes widely recognised.
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