I have been following the progress of a small company called AptSoft for about two years. AptSoft markets a solution for Complex Event Processing (CEP), a niche capability that is a close cousin of Business Process Management (BPM).
As I have reported here not long ago, I have been struck by the great emphasis our industry has put on process reengineering while almost ignoring the important role that BPM tools could play to make such reengineering easier and more effective. So, I have been reluctant to add CEP into the mix under the assumption that our industry was just not ready for it.
Now comes the important news that IBM has purchased AptSoft and will make it part of its WebSphere business. This move by IBM will give greater legitimacy to CEP even if it only becomes a part of a larger set of middleware and SOA offerings.
The move also means that the biopharma industry should take a closer look at the way that CEP could be used througout the business. But just what are these application areas?
Well, I don't have a nice compact list to share with you. Suffice it to say that CEP can help in circumstances where the potential consequence of a sequence of events are not known. In other words, you can use BPM when you know for sure what effects a certain action can have. You can use CEP if you don't know any or all of the effects that may transpire. Donald Rumsfeld would call these the unknown unknowns. And, as an added bonus, CEP would let you figure out how to handle these unknowns as they happen.
OK, I'll give you one example: Supply chain management in case of a pandemic of unknown size and location.