This week's Computerworld has Eyes Everywhere: Business activity monitoring offers a constant watch on business processes, which immediately struck me as quite similar to the John Parkinson talk on the Real-Time Enteprise that I wrote about the other day.
The Computerworld article specifically says that real-time and business activity monitoring (BAM) are not the same, but there are many shared aspects. Both approaches are geared towards faster response to what is happenign in the busines environment. Both also need access to the data, ideally directly from the systems that are generating rather than through a data warehouse.
And with these kinds of approaches, people using the data need to understand its value and meaning. How important is it to check that field sales are logging into the system every day (as opposed to once a week)? What does the data mean to the real operation of the business. This hints at Parkinson's comment that GE's cockpit presents too many metrics.
In the end, it appears that the difference between real-time and BAM is that real-time is designed around automatic sense and response, where as BAM is geared towards informing business people so that they can take appropriate action. BAM could be centered on the business process. Examples in the story blur the lines, however.