Business Activity Monitoring and KPIs: Office ScoreCard Manager.
Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is one of the most powerful features that is included as part of BizTalk Server. Also represents some of the major areas of improvements in the new BizTalk Server 2006. BAM is typically associated with real time views of business processes. One important aspect to describe the behavior of a business process can be Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). There are different technologies in the Microsoft environment to handle KPI; for instance KPI in the form of MDX expressions are one of the new features that comes with Analysis Services 2005. What is missing in UDM is the ability to display those KPI taking on a user friendly manner. As part of the Office Accelerators family Microsoft releases the Office Business Scorecard Manager (BSM)
BSM offers advanced and KPI creation and managements based on heterogeneous data sources. For instance using BSM we can create the KPI based on a BAM-based OLAP cube or in a relational database. BSM also provides a set of Web Parts that can be incorporated into different SharePoint or ASP.NET 2.0 – based sites. The following diagram can help to illustrate the BSM architecture.
Figure 1: Overall BSM architecture
BSM can build the KPI based on multi-dimensional data sources using AMOMD.NET or Relational Data Sources via ODBC. In order to define BAM-based KPI we can interact with the BAM activities tables or with the BAM aggregated cubes.
The Scorecard server is the central piece of the BSM architecture. It provides all the functionalities to store, manage and publish and scorecard and the metadata associated with it. To provide interactions with other application the Scorecard Server functionalities are abstracted though the PmService ASP.NET Web Service. This Web Service can be used by other BizTalk orchestration to consume the KPI stored in the Scorecard server databases.
The Scorecard builder is a Windows Form application that is used to build and deploy the KPIs. The builder groups KPIs using workspaces which are the fundamental unit of work in the builder. Once that the workspace is ready it can be deployed to the Scorecard server.
Using the Business Scorecard Manager to interact with BAM.
BSM can be a good complement to add KPIS to the BAM functionality provided as part of BizTalk Server 2006. Also the BSM Web Parts can be used in conjunction with the BAM Portal in order to allow a user access to the BAM data. Using the BSM Web Parts the user can get an instant graphical representation of the KPI behavior and using the BAM Portal the user can dive into the details of that behavior.
To illustrate this concept I created a simple demo based on the sample 3 of the BizTalk Server SDK (Using the BAM API from the Orchestration expression). This demo uses BSM to define a single KPI and use the SharePoint Web Parts to render graphical information about the behavior of that KPI.
The following figure shows the Tracking Profile Editor.
Figure 1: Tracking profile editor view.
The following figure shows a sample report using the BSM SharePoint scorecard view WebPart. The reports shows the indicators defined around the KPI.
Figure 2: BSM KPI report based on a BAM cube