Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On IMPACT 2009 - the first day

Las Vegas. I have arrived here yesterday to participate and give a talk (twice) in the IMPACT conference, IMPACT is the annual conference that IBM is holding for its customers, especially the Websphere brand, but also covers anything that is defined under the "SOA portfolio". James Taylor is reporting about it, and is doing much better work than I can do, so trace his Blog for more details, however I wanted to bring my personal angle into it. The first day started in a plenary session with a huge, besides a very funny performance of Billy Crystal, who put three IBM executives on the podium to do sound effects to a story he told, there have been presentations of the senior executives of IBM Software Group, Steve Mills and Tom Rosamillia on the main theme of this year's conference: Smarter planet. When I heard the presentation I could not help smiling to myself, practically all customer examples that have been described under "smarter planet" have included event processing component in a key role. One of the customer examples has been the one described by my colleague Guy Sharon in the 4th EPTS event processing symposium, about tracing people in industrial facility to verify authorization of people to be in a certain place accompanied or unaccompanied, since the customer was exposed in public, I can mention it has been British Petroleum, this is something that the IBM Haifa event processing team has been heavily involved in creating this application. Some more applications in different industries have also been presented. Event Processing is being used far beyond its early adopter, the financial markets industry. I view it both inside and outside IBM that people who have been somewhat skeptic about event processing 2-3 years ago, talk differently about it now. Actually, the interest will yield more investments and advance this area to cope with the various challenges, but this is another story.

The main business value that event processing is achieving, according to IBM studies, is business agility. A study done reveals that in today's environment, almost all CEO are trying to re-think and change their business processes, and often software is an obstacle. Event processing is considered as an enabler for such agility. I always believed (and wrote about it several times) that the main business value is agility and not high performance that is required by a certain segment of applications, while agility is required by many more... Reality has its own strange ways...

A comment about branding -- IBM decided more than a year ago to use the brand BEP (Business Event Processing) for the entire portfolio of capabilities in the various IBM products related to events, and not adopt theCEP acronym used widely in the industry . The idea has been to emphasize the "business user orientation". Anyway, I'll leave the branding discussion to the marketing guys -- the content is more important.

There are more than 20 sessions in the conference that talk about event processing from different angles -- from the business perspective, the technical perspective, various related products in IBM (e.g. enabling CICS applications to serve as producer and consumer of event processing), my own session later this week deals with the future, but I'll Blog about it at later time, it is late, and I need some rest, getting up early every day for some conference calls...

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