September 09, 2008, 3:32 PM — IBM is set to release a wave of new products for business event processing, IBM's preferred term for complex event processing (CEP), executives said at an event in Boston on Tuesday.
In general, BEP and CEP software looks for patterns and correlations in the sea of electronic transactions or "events" that occur in a business, and triggers responsive actions depending on what is detected.
For example, if a financial services company's system sees a customer's account undergo an address change, a password change and a large withdrawal in a single day, "that's a good indication fraud is going on," said Tom Rosamilia, a general manager in IBM's software group, during a talk previewing the upcoming software.
BEP products scheduled for release between now and the end of the year include WebSphere Business Events V6.2. The software incorporates technology acquired from the purchase of AptSoft, and includes tooling aimed at getting rank-and-file business users into the BEP loop.
"I don't want to have to code the application, I want the business author to be able to go in and specify what they want to see: 'If these three things happen in a certain period of time, let me know,' " Rosamilia said.
Another planned release, WebSphere Business Events eXtreme Scale V6.2, focuses on improving performance and throughput for customers with more demanding volumes.
"Think of this as literally thousands of [Java virtual machines] able to run this environment in a grid, and taking this information and being able to correlate incredible numbers of events," Rosamilia said.
IBM is also planning to release the CICS Transaction Server Support Pac. This will allow the CISC server, which runs on mainframes, to emit events that can be captured by WebSphere Business Events, he said.
IBM claims to have 3,770 customers using software in its BEP lineup, including 18 of the top 20 Fortune 500 companies and the 20 biggest banks on the Global 500. It competes with companies such as Tibco in the space.
While largely the province of big enterprises, the technology could trickle down into the midmarket, but probably in an indirect manner, said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group, in an interview Tuesday.
"I think in the short term it is the biggest institutions that will be the primary participants," Mills said. "But like anything else, companies exist in ecosystems. Smaller-sized businesses have relationships with larger ones."
However, usage of event-processing technology has gone well beyond its roots in the financial services community, evidenced by IBM customer ActiveCare Network, which uses the vendor's BEP software to help coordinate vaccination, injection and infusion services for its 2 million members around the country.
While health care expenses are rising quickly each year, "most of the costs are really coming in around the services associated with providing the drugs to patients" and not the drugs themselves, said CIO Tom Brady.
Meanwhile, there's a "huge pipeline" containing more drugs in development, he added. Some 70 percent will require clinical oversight, and 30 percent will need training services for patients who will self-administer them, Brady said.
Pricing will be announced when the new IBM products are released. They will be rolled out globally, IBM said.