Redefining BAM

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For many people hearing the term “BAM,” the first thing that comes to mind is “business activity monitoring.” But for leading organizations and providers of business process management (BPM) solutions, BAM means something more; it means “business activity management.”

For too long, BAM has been relegated to the role of monitoring real-time transactions and events. But monitoring is only one part of managing the activity of your business. The data captured also needs to be analyzed, put into simulations for modeling and forecasting, and then put into reports that upper management can then use to understand the health of their key business processes.

Responding to customer demand, every leading BPM provider already has, or is working toward offering, a complete business activity management solution. For BPM to be effective in your organization, you must have BAM that includes these key elements:

Process and Related Data Capture
All metrics on a given process application must be captured in audit logs that can be easily mined, but just as important is capturing data from other applications that may be related to the process, such as data from customer service, financial, or procurement systems.

Process Monitoring
Once process and related data metrics are captured, the aggregated data must be displayed in real time, in a format that can be quickly updated and presented to a supervisor or manager in a graphical format that allows bottlenecks and exceptions to be identified at a glance.

Process and related data must be available not only for real-time monitoring but also for sophisticated, OLAP-style analysis. The ability to perform this analysis quickly in a format the business analyst can use is also critical.

Manual and Automated Process Change
Once the proper analysis in real-time or offline analytics has been completed, there should be manual methods, within the same interface, for a supervisor to take immediate action (e.g. change a process, move work), as well as automated actions that can be taken based on preset parameters and triggers that require no human intervention.

Process Simulation and Modeling
With current, historical, or forecasted process data, another key component is the ability to simulate and model potential process metrics, with the goal of allowing business users to quickly make changes in the process design, thereby delivering additional efficiency.

Capture, Monitoring, Analysis, Simulation, and Reporting Consistency
For BAM to be efficient and provide the most value to end users, all of the individual components – from initial data capture, to monitoring, analytics, simulation, and reporting – should be presented in the same, well integrated interface, with all collected data being easily moved from one component to another.

In the end, monitoring the activity of your business will bring little value to your organization without all the other components of BAM – i.e. business activity management. Without business activity management, you will be missing out on the ability to use the monitored data from your key business process to effect actual change in your organization. So if you hear someone talking about BAM as business activity monitoring, smile and then politely correct them: they are talking about only a small part of a very large pie.

Bill Chambers is a Principal Consultant with Doculabs, Inc., a technology consulting firm based in Chicago. To contact Bill, please visit Doculabs’ web site at, or call 312 433-7793


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