Finding a tool which allows you to monitor business processes in real time isn’t easy, and because of this we’ll talk about those Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) tools that allow managers to monitor the status of their business processes and the global business, all from the same point. Furthermore, they’re very important in helping decision making. The task they accomplish is crucial in a company, because they allow a global vision of the company status, which can be viewed from the same place.
In this article we’ll talk about BAM (business activity monitoring) tools, and try to give you a global idea and understanding on how these tools can help you, and what you should know in order to choose the best tool for your organization.
Business Activity Monitoring
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) allows decision making based on monitoring business processes in real time. Plus, these tools allow the correlation of work events, identifying behavior tendencies and patterns, along with the possibility to offer action completion, generating new events. The main objective of BAM is to know a process’ behavior and evolution.
These tools improve speed and optimize efficiency in work operations. In order to do this they perform activity logs and notify about possible problems, along with the status of each process.BAM analyzes the opportunities and risks the company has, with the goal of maximizing profitability.
Business Activity Monitoring is actually a complex toolset that allows monitoring the Key Performance Indicators (KPI). To the user, it offers complete visibility over business processes, providing the most precise information about the status and results of operations and processes performed, so that it’s the user who’s ready for any problems that may arise.
Discover how it works in the Pandora FMS Enterprise version and how it helps to supervise the processes in companies.
BAM can be used to predict events such as estimating the prices for each action that takes place during a process, interest rates or voting results. These tools not only help in business processes and in sending event alerts, they also provide executives involved in the strategic planning with information.
BAM software allows retrieving metrics on work processes in general or specific metrics applied to each department. They also pick up on data from files and databases. With this, the BAM tool gives support to decision making based on complex and detailed information.
Business Activity Monitoring tools allow the user to understand the operations performed in the corporative environment in real time. This gives a chance to identify possible new scenarios that require decision making. These tools apply new indicators and reinforce existing ones, so performance and efficiency levels on each task are properly maintained. They also provide ease when following up on transactions performed, helping active processes through systems and applications that detect possible setbacks.
The components that form a BAM system are the following:
- Decision support: through a set of rules it interprets and recognizes situations in order to help the user in decision making.
- Action-ready dashboards: those decisions generated will transform into integrated actions on the dashboard.
- User answers/actions are captured within the BAM tool and then are sent to the systems to be executed.
- Adaptation and learning, where user answers are integrated into the decision system with the intention of improving the support in decision making and in action-ready dashboard creation.
Summing up, here would be a list of the main functions a BAM tool should perform:
- They’re in charge of monitoring processes and systems.
- Event predictions: failures, poll results, etc.
- Event alerts for procedure failures.
- Improve performance on business processes, optimizing efficiency.
- They help give a global bottom-up view of our business. In other words, we’re capable of knowing how much money we’re making during a process and what technical errors the process’ database generates.
- Makes sure that the established tasks are finished and done so according to estimated performance levels.
BAM Methodology (Business Activity Monitoring)
BAM methodology complies with the following process:
- We must define our processes. To do this we must keep in mind what its phases or stages are, and the indicators or KPIs we want to measure during each stage. We also should define how we want to see the different process indicators to correctly design a Dashboard. It’ll be important that we define alerts, tresholds for them and the actions to perform upon each alert. Other characteristics that need to be defined are role defined accesses. For this task it’s quite recommended to count on a team that has experience defining processes on BAM tools, to accomplish the best conceptualization possible.
- Once we’ve defined the process, the next step should be configuring it on our BAM system
- After the configuration process is done, said configuration should be deployed onto the tool in order to begin monitoring.
- It’s only then when our configuration will begin to be executed and we can begin to analyze our process’ functions.
- Monitoring the process itself will be one of the most important stages in BAM methodology. It’ll be quite important to pay attention in order to adjust tresholds, delete indicators or add new ones, and see the system’s behavior while it’s executing the actions that have been defined.
- As we’ve previously mentioned, one of the main characteristics of Business Activity Monitoring systems is prediction and/or learning. In this monitoring we must make sure if our tool starts to “learn” from our process and that it adjusts based on events that’ve happened.
- The next action we need to perform will be checking that the alert system works properly.
- Finally we must feed the BAM back with whatever was learnt in the previous cycle and redefube our process in order to start again.
On the command console all functions of the BAM tools will be defined, at the same time providing all the information retrieved by the Business Activity Monitoring instruments using key performance indicators (KPI). KPI’s help measure and quantify the process’ performance based on the objectives posed for the different activities the company performs. Plus, its a means for directives and manager to communicate strategic objectives that are meant to be accomplished with the development of monitored activities.
BAM works as an intermediate layer between those responsible for the business and the information flow present in the entire business process.
Below we list the main characteristics that a Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) tool should have. This will result quite useful when evaluating a tool for your organization.
- It must be capable of giving information and updating the dashboard in real time.
- It should have a learning and AI system that allows the system to recommend steps to follow in decision making. For example, it should be capable of identifying tendencies and warning about them.
- It should have the possibility to provide a bottom-up view in such a way that the user who accesses the control panel can also access process-level information (bottlenecks, inbound payments, etc.) and system level information (network failure, server memory full, device switched off, etc.).
- The BAM tool must be able to integrate with any kind of third party application easily. It must be kept in mind that during a process many applications from different developers can intervene, and our tool must be capable of accessing relevant information on all of them.
- It must have the capacity to correlate events and take action based on those events.
- High scaling. Our tool will begin to monitor more important processes but, as we learn to use it and discover its advantages, more and more processes will be introduced into the tool.
For this reason, we should evaluate how load growth is withstood by the tool.
- Configure roles and permissions, as well as dashboards that are defined by those roles.
- Multichannel integrated alert system (SMS, push, email, etc.)
- Possibility to store historic data to study evolution along time.
- Report system. This is really important since the console has to allow not only showing data in a very clear way, but also it must have the possibility to generate understandable reports to be sent and analyzed by third persons.
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) Architecture
Mainly, all BAM tools possess the following modules:
Relevant when defining our processes, KPIs, thresholds, alarms, actions, etc.
It’s where the process configuration and their monitoring reside. For this reason, all events reach it and it’s the one that, based on configurations, sends events to the Event Manager (Complex Event Processor).
Complex Event Processor (CEP)
Receiver of all events and action or event generator, based on results from event processing.
In charge of viewing anything occurred during the process.
Why use BAM? Advantages of Business Activity Monitoring
BAM tools not only monitor business processes, they previously monitor systems to be able to alert the users about possible bottlenecks, and offer them solutions. BAM tools are in charge of supervising all systems that affect the company’s activity development.
- It can be used as a monitoring solution by IT administrators that would like to reduce IT environment costs at the same time that the service quality is improved. A tool to cover various needs.
- Offers supervision on server management and critical business applications.
- Shows the visibility requirements for business processes from end to end.
- Provides the most information for decision making.
- Minimizes operational risks
- Prevents and corrects problems in real time.
- Tendency analysis.
- Reduces costs and raises margins, improves budget management when alerts are received for having surpassed the established budget.
- Takes advantage of opportunities that appear during the business process in order to optimize efficiency.
- Guarantees quality control when alerts are launched about materials that’ve failed an inspection.
- Guarantees programmed maintenance, alerting the maintenance team if the maintenance programming has been accomplished or not.
- Performs follow-ups on materials and deliveries.
- Optimizes work tasks, if a task’s duration time is surpassed operations is alerted in order to reassign resources.
Uses for Business Activity Monitoring (BAM)
In this section we’ll tell you about some uses where BAM tools are applied so you may have an idea on how they can help your business. Some of the practical applications for BAM tools can be generated in various company departments such as:
- Monitoring on account balances and alert sending when the established balance is broken or if thresholds are surpassed.
- Notifies clients when their bills are due or overdue.
- Notifies the accounting department if a new account is added to the system.
- Monitors inventory levels.
- Notifies the storage manager when material is below necessary quantity.
- Monitors fields such as expire dates, client data, etc.
Sales and marketing:
- Notifies when an order has has been attended or sent off from storage.
- Notifies clients when there products or services are available.
- Automatically sends bills when the process finishes.
- Supervises employee payrolls.
- Monitors vacations and other employee benefits.
- Notifies employees about events that affect company activity, such as holidays.
- Follow up on credit card transactions to avoid possible frauds.
We hope this article has been useful, if you have information that can be added here, don’t doubt on commenting!
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El equipo de redacción de Pandora FMS está formado por un conjunto de escritores y profesionales de las TI con una cosa en común: su pasión por la monitorización de sistemas informáticos.
Pandora FMS’s editorial team is made up of a group of writers and IT professionals with one thing in common: their passion for computer system monitoring.