Celequest: The Dashboard is Key

Company replaces Excel with a new dashboard in its Activity Suite, its business activity monitoring software.

Business activity monitoring (BAM) is still in the earliest stages of its hype cycle, with broader adoption not expected until 2008. That hasn’t stopped BAM pure-play Celequest Corp. from getting out ahead of the curve.

Celequest, a start-up that launched last June, this week announced version 3.0 of its BAM software stack. Among other improvements, the new release adds an operational dashboard to Celequest’s Activity Suite, which officials say provides users with real-time visibility into business operations.

The new dashboard also fleshes out an important component of Celequest’s BAM stack. A BAM architecture combines real-time transactional data with historical data, and provides a context of some kind—usually a digital dashboard—to organize and present the data.

Prior to Celequest 3.0, says president, CEO, and founder Diaz Nesamoney, Celequest lacked a dashboard component for visibility into business activity. Instead, he says, Celequest users had to make do with an old standby. “We used Microsoft Excel as our dashboard, and the advantage with Excel is that it’s pretty familiar with a lot of business users, which is the reason we went with that initially,” he explains. “But customers wanted much better visualization, better ease of use in terms of setting up metrics, so you don’t have to be an Excel programmer in order to do those things. They really wanted some more capabilities than Excel could offer.”

The goal, says Nesamoney, is to provide a highly customizable dashboard interface, such that business users of all kinds—from knowledge workers on up to executives – could easily specify which metrics to track. “We wanted to make sure that the business user interface was configurable. So let’s say that they had about 30 metrics they were tracking for a particular business function. We wanted the ability [for them] to be able to [configure those metrics] without involving someone from IT to come in and reconfigure the dashboard,” he explains.

Celequest’s new operational dashboard can also be customized to suit a variety of business roles. “For operational use, where typically the information is rolled out directly to a number of different business users, the challenge was that since the business user[s] had a specific role, they were only allowed to see certain types of information relevant to their purview,” explains Nesamoney. “[Customers] wanted to be able to create the dashboard once and then have the system be capable of filtering out the data automatically based on the role of the individual working on that data.”

Elsewhere, Celequest 3.0 includes several now-familiar features, such as Celequest Activity Server (which provides a staging area for data, events, and messages, and includes what Celequest terms a Streaming Data Store) and Celequest Scenario Modeler (which lets business users model analytical scenarios dynamically and evaluate them in real time). Celequest also provides an Application Developer Workbench that enables developers to create baseline business views and data models that provide real-time representations of business activity.

Celequest provides connectivity to different applications and systems by means of a variety of APIs (including JDBC, JMS, XML) and with the use of adapters. “We have a couple of different adapters—we call them agents—that we use to plug into some of the EAI systems [and] messaging systems,” he says, noting that Celequest can also capture information from flat files that are still widely used in many enterprises.

Research firm Gartner Inc., having defined BAM and tracked the technology from its infancy, says the BAM market is still emerging and probably won’t be broadly adopted by business operation managers until 2008. Nesamoney acknowledges that BAM hasn’t yet taken off, but says that things are starting to look up. “It’s much better than it was last year, partly due to just the overall IT environment improving,” he concludes. “We have seen quite an uptick from last year in terms of the number of projects that are actually funded.”

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About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.