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BAM Software Niche Gains New Player in Celequest

With many software companies turning toward the notion of the real-time enterprise -- that is, conducting business processes on the fly -- a fairly new niche of intuitive applications is gaining traction under the moniker business activity monitoring (BAM).

On Monday, Celequest launched as the latest venture from Diaz Nesamoney, who co-founded business intelligence software maker Informatica in 1996. The Redwood Shores, Calif. upstart unveiled Celequest 2.0, an integrated software suite for building and piping BAM applications across the enterprise.

What makes BAM attractive, industry officials say, is that it targets latency issues that crop up between the time a business event occurs in an enterprise network and the time the network takes to address it. Tackling latency is yet one more component of the dynamic, on-the-fly feel of real-time computing. BAM software is positioned as fast, intuitive, and built to react to business processes as they change.

Informatica and webMethods recently teamed on a major BAM solution integrating their integration and business intelligence platforms, respectively.

Calling BAM the "central nervous system of the real-time enterprise," Nesamoney, founder, president, and CEO of Celequest, said traditional business intelligence software focuses on past events, while Celequest 2.0 was built from the ground up to address the unique challenges of BAM.

Though BAM is lodged in the business intelligence family, Nesamoney said Celequest 2.0 takes a different approach than BI, instead focusing on what is happening in the enterprise rather than what has happened or what might happen. The platform monitors business events and compares them to historical or contextual information from data warehouses or operational systems in real time, alerting users to exception conditions as they occur.

Celequest 2.0 then sends alerts to users about changes in the business environment.

Celequest 2.0 is tailored for a broad number of business sectors, including financial services, retail, manufacturing, and homeland security. Practical examples of business events that Celequest 2.0 could be used to treat include an increase in call volume in a call center; changes in investment positions; inventory levels falling below a certain threshold; a demand forecast drop; and an increase in product returns.

Fabric infrastructure provider Brocade Communications Systems is using Celequest to see if it can enable its engineering team to continuously monitor the quality levels of its suppliers' products in near real-time and use modeling to test a variety of quality scenarios to evaluate their impact on production costs. The company said this would boost return-on-investment.

Tech research company Gartner sees BAM as something that could lead business processes on the Web into the next-generation of enterprise computing. According to Gartner, BAM will be a key piece of the projected $22.4 billion market for business intelligence (BI), network systems management (NSM), and application integration and middleware (AIM) over the next two years.

Moreover, Gartner analyst Bill Gassman said pure-play vendors such as Celequest are leading the innovation of BAM. Celequest is entering a market that includes vendors Viewlocity, Firstrain, Elity, and Dante-Group.

"I think Celequest has as good a shot as any startup to succeed," Gassman said. "There are a handful of folks doing these tactical products, but we haven't yet seen the explosion that we expect in a couple of years. What companies like Celequest offer is a broader set of adapters that help bring data into a system. The output is relatively simple at this point: it finds and then conveys the problem to the right people."

Celequest 2.0 consists of an activity server, activity dashboard, scenario modeler and application workbench. Some of its key functions include a streaming dataflow engine, which captures business events as they occur and combines them with related operational or historical data to provide real-time metrics; adaptive intelligence and dynamic rules modeling, which enables users to change and model real-time scenarios on the fly; and temporal processing, which enables systems to distinguish between momentary spikes -- one-time changes that resolve themselves -- and legitimate trends.

Gassman saw a demonstration of the product, noting that it worked well. "But demos always look good -- they don't tell you about the product's ability to scale."

Celequest 2.0 is available now starting at $100,000. It is certified to run on Microsoft Windows 2000, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, Linux and supports WebLogic, WebSphere and JBoss application servers.