Using event stream brokers to integrate content with enterprise social platforms

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

With everyone now accustomed to the way social networks work, more and more enterprise applications are starting to look like social media apps. Once deemed a buzzword, "real-time collaboration" is becoming a reality as companies such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft deliver enterprise social network applications.

The foundations of these "social" applications are activity streams, or event streams. Once relegated to complex event processing applications like high frequency trading on Wall Street, these event streams are more and more common in enterprise social applications.

REAL-TIME COLLABORATION: Facebook opens up 'activity stream' to external developers

In order to make social applications as integrated as possible, it's critical these event streams can synch up with existing enterprise applications. After all, if employees are collaborating in a vacuum without access to the company's enterprise data, making them use a social network isn't really useful at all. It's just one more thing they "have to do" rather than a tool to make them more productive.

For example, if the sales department uses but the shipping and billing is handled by SAP, there will inevitably be a miscommunication when sales teams collaborate with Chatter but the finance, warehouse and distribution teams collaborate with StreamWork. These tools will not interoperate, making the promise of real-time collaboration impossible and forcing the staff to revert to e-mail or phone calls. It is necessary for interoperability between applications and ubiquitous access to key data.

As events take place, context is extremely important. It is not enough to capture events as they occur. When one considers all the events that an organization generates, as well as events from customers and partners outside the firewall, it is simply too confusing and unnecessary to funnel every piece of information through these enterprise social networks verbatim. What is needed is an ability to digest this deluge of information in something readable and actionable.

By using an "event stream broker" companies can address this challenge. These tools rely upon the raw data flowing through every information system in the company. As these events are captured, they are sorted, grouped, and aggregated into business process contexts. As business rules are applied to content throughout the enterprise, the broker can sort related data and feed it into multiple collaborative applications in real time.

Events can occur both inside and outside of the organization. Many companies have both legacy applications on mainframes, packaged applications, and SaaS/hosted applications -- all of which house equally important data in different formats and have explicit functions. Structured and unstructured data all exist in disparate locations -- the formula for quite a mess unless you have the tools to properly organize it. To be successful, an event stream broker must parse these various data types consistently across every source. Only when the data is accessible can the broker add value to a social collaboration platform.

Event stream brokers can be driven by simple or complex logic. For example, a user who is interested in orders over $50,000 can define a rule for the broker. The broker can then capture order events across different order systems to alert the user when her specific criteria is met.

Subsequently, the broker can allow the user to perform an action on the event and deliver her instructions back to the source system. For example, she may choose to reject a particular order awaiting her approval directly from within Salesforce Chatter. When a decision is made in a social networking platform, this "event" is fed back to the enterprise system to ensure that all information is updated and made consistent throughout the organization. In this example, the event stream broker would send this rejection message to the SAP system which processes the orders.

Event stream brokers that feature advanced complex event processing capabilities are able to analyze event streams further to funnel information to users dynamically based on context. For instance, users can be alerted to conditions that may indicate that fraud is taking place. Event stream brokers are uniquely positioned to deliver this kind of additional value from the existing integration of data sources and applications to these brokers.

Social collaboration platforms are more than just a way for people to communicate. The presence of these platforms in the enterprise allows us to integrate a variety of enterprise data and application assets using event stream brokers. This type of integration of social collaboration platforms across the organization deliver much more than just Facebook in the enterprise; complex event processing and two-way interactivity with applications are just the beginning.

Information Builders is an independent leader in business intelligence (BI) solutions, providing software and services that bring smarter decision-making and streamlined processes to companies worldwide. For more information, visit

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags social mediaMicrosoftinternetOracleFacebookSalesforce.combusiness intelligencesoftwareapplicationssocial networkInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?