CICS: The Critical Enabler for the Event-Driven Enterprise

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Businesses operate in a complex ecosystem of connected, inter-related events. Everything from fluctuating interest rates to seemingly simple customer interactions can impact your business. By responding quickly to patterns of business events, you can gain insight and potentially a competitive edge. This has been the theory of business event processing for several years, but now we’re at a point where the Event-Driven Enterprise is a real possibility.

Advancements in Business Process Management (BPM) over the last decade have helped businesses respond to change in near real-time—the foundation for an Event-Driven Enterprise. There’s no point being able to identify an event if the business fails to react to it in a timely fashion (see Figure 1). More recently, we’ve seen the introduction of products such as WebSphere Business Events, WebSphere Business Monitor, and Cognos, which satisfy different aspects of making sense out of the potentially massive event clouds emitted from businesses. These capabilities can help businesses transform raw event information into knowledge they can act upon.


But there’s still a major challenge facing businesses wishing to become event-driven: how to easily identify and emit business events from within their systems

The problem is that the most interesting business events (e.g., high-value transactions) usually

occur within core business applications. These applications have often existed for many years. The people who wrote them have probably left the company, and they most definitely didn’t architect them with business events in mind. Since these applications underpin a business’s daily operations, changing them to support business event processing is technically challenging, time-consuming, and risky. This ultimately results in costs that can rarely be justified.

Clearly, re-architecting decades of existing applications isn’t a viable approach, so how do we achieve business event processing in a non-invasive fashion? The answer is that the computing environment itself must provide capabilities to instrument existing applications, allowing them to easily emit business events without disruptive change. That’s the critical enabler for the Event-Driven Enterprise.

For many businesses, the computing environment in which their core applications reside is CICS Transaction Server for z/OS (CICS TS), which has recently delivered business event processing capabilities that let the middleware detect, capture, format, and emit business events from within applications non-invasively. This is required to make business event processing a reality and enable companies that run their business on CICS TS to lead the way into the event-driven age.

CICS TS Event Processing Support

CICS TS V4.1 provides event processing support; however, such support began with SupportPac CB11 for version 3 and V4.1 (see Figure 2). The idea was simple. For every event point, a small application change was required to set up a channel with containers that specify event data. The application would then link to the SupportPac program, which would format the event data and emit the event to WebSphere Business Events over WebSphere Message Queue. While this wasn’t a completely non-invasive solution and the single option for format and transport was limiting, the SupportPac provided example emission of events from CICS TS. It also let businesses start identifying the places in their CICS applications where events occur and see how the power of WebSphere Business Events could be harnessed to carry out analysis on those events. You can download SupportPac CB11 from

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