It was a just few years ago that we first heard of business activity monitoring, BAM for short. Initially presented as more of an idea than a product, BAM promised to be the backstop of the event-driven enterprise, catching aberrant data on the fly and suggesting or automating some course of action in the blink of an eye.In certain high-transaction volume industries such as financial services and telecom, BAM is growing legs. Gartner Inc.'s new report, "Hype Cycle for Investment Services, 2006," points to the steady demand for faster innovation and predicts - in investment services at least - that BAM is the most significant technology for achieving this goal and providing significant improvements on the revenue and cost fronts. Gartner also believes the industry is capable of achieving maturity in the next two years.

Anyone who follows financial markets or trades stocks might stop and appreciate just how fast things happen on the electronic trading floor. The same person might consider that as fast as he or she might be able to close a transaction, that same data must be moving several times faster in the background. What BAM seeks to do in various ways is tap fleeting information and measure it in some particular way. "It is really about high-volume automated flows that surpass the human ability to notice or recognize things," says Gartner research director Mary Knox. While early BAM efforts were aimed at alerting system monitors to issues such as credit card fraud - which might escalate very quickly - Knox says today's BAM is more business process-oriented.

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