RulesFest 2011 – Paul Vincent: Event-driven rules, experiences in CEP

on October 24, 2011
SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Management Platform

Paul comes back to RulesFest with a presentation on CEP (“Complex Event Processing”) illustrated by a number of uses cases derived from his experience at TIBCO. He spared us the 27 slides explaining what CEP is… he has a 101 session on that later.

As a disclosure, I have had a problem with the term CEP (, vastly preferring Business Event Management, used by IBM for a while. That being said, I do agree that Decision Management does have a good role for the technologies under that umbrella – that of translating environmental events into business events, which trigger business processes which may invoke decision services. A clear picture as outlined in an earlier post.

Following his tradition of interlacing his presentations with British humor, Paul built up on the concerns raised by Daniel Selman in his earlier presentation, as well as on Mauricio’s presentation. Paul introduces the key difference between conventional rules and CEP as being the temporal aspects. The need to take into account time as part of the management of events – have rules expressing duration between events, temporal sequencing between events, etc.

After a short summary of the technologies provided in the CEP world, Paul went through a few use cases specific to TIBCO:

  • FedEx (Logistics)The “Decision Tunnel” – the physical tunnel through which the packages are conveyed and scanned is the window of opportunity to apply decision logic impacting its routing. CEP allows them to track all the business events relative to a package in a centralized way, allowing them to take advantage of the decision tunnel to make the service even more flexible. Managing very high event rates, developed in around 60 days of implementation.
  • PJM (Energy)Electricity grid operations management through large number of rules, reacting to complex streams of events, and using Microsoft Sharepoint (!) as the rules management system. Paul shared the proof-by-fire test for the resulting application – PJM’s operators were able to cope with a rare earthquake follow by a hurricane in the East Coast.
  • AllState (Insurance)Replacing a complex set of mainframe business applications (powered by 1,000+ mainframes…) by an ESB based rules-driven application. CEP drives the BAM, and detects, for example, the difference in types of customers applied by a given agent, so that skills based real time work routing can be improved – achieving 15%+ closing rates.
  • Household-name retailer (CRM 2.0)Synchronized enriched channel agnostic customer management, with real time BAM and analytics and streamlined campaign management. They implemented the rules part in less than 3 months, and deployed over 50 rules engines working with over 480GB of in-memory data.

Paul finally presented the TIBCO view of the 2011 architectural landscape for rules. In essence, an event cloud coordinated through a bus, resulting in further event processing (business event management in IBM parlance), process management and decision management. One interesting point Paul makes is that he is seeing CEP used much more as a platform than as a feature used in combination with another platform. That should lead to an interesting positioning with respect to BPM…

And finished with the mandatory reference to Boyd’s OODA “invention”.

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