Posts Tagged ‘business semantics’

The Information Quality (IQ) Graduate Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is ready for Business Semantics driven Data Governance

September 11, 2013

The Information Quality (IQ) Graduate Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is ready for Business Semantics driven Data Governance

On Business Service Semantics

March 8, 2013

Below you can find the slides of my talk about this topic at the International Conference on Exploring Service Sciences in Porto, Feb 2013.

De Leenheer, P.; Cardoso, J.; Pedrinaci (2013) Ontological Representation and Governance of Business Semantics in Compliant Service Networks. In Proc. of IESS 2012, Springer, LNBIP 143, pp. 155–169

Business Service Semantics: Ontological Representation & Governance of Business Semantics in Compliant Service Networks from Pieter De Leenheer
Abstract: The Internet would enable new ways for service innovation and trading, as well as for analysing the resulting value networks, with an unprecedented level of scale and dynamics. Yet most related eco- nomic activities remain of a largely brittle and manual nature. Service- oriented business implementations focus on operational aspects at the cost of value creation aspects such as quality and regulatory compliance. Indeed they enforce how to carry out a certain business in a prefixed non-adaptive manner rather than capturing the semantics of a business domain in a way that would enable service systems to adapt their role in changing value propositions. In this paper we set requirements for SDL- compliant business service semantics, and propose a method for their ontological representation and governance. We demonstrate an imple- mentation of our approach in the context of service-oriented Information Governance.

Agree on business semantics with roles, workflow and validation: “we’d call that buttoned down!”

September 18, 2012

Information Management is one of the world’s leading web sites for its area. They have listed Collibra with 40 other vendors that will  “shape the groundswell in information management technology in the 21st Century.”

Collibra is described as follows (LINK):

  • What: Webbased collaborative governance tools
  • Why: “A rock solid theoretical foundation, very community and business oriented,” a trusted advisor tells us, unlike metadata tools that get too wrapped around IT concepts. Made to allow business and technical people define their business concepts, facts and rules, in collaboration with roles, workflow, and validation. We’d call that buttoned down.
  • Where: Brussels, Belgium
  • Of Note: A spinoff of something called [sic.] STARLab at University of Brussels, one of the first places to do database research that’s now onto advanced semantics and ontology.

After being listed among ten semantic companies to watch by PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Spring Forecast in 2009; and awarded by Gartner as Cool Vendor for Enterprise Information Management in 2011, Collibra finally got rid of its wrong tag “semantic web company” and is now fully and righteously recognized by professionals and companies globally as a key player in the most vibrant, growing and important ICT software sector, that is data integration and governance (although flavored with semantics of course!).

Putting Collibra in Context: a Journey through the Childhood of a 4-year-old Technology Start-up

March 7, 2012

First click on “Full Screen” on the menu bar below. Then click on “More>>Autoplay”  or use the right arrow to browse through the presentation.

Or watch it directly on the Prezi website.

Amsterdam Universities are Ready to Business Semantics Glossify

September 15, 2011

The Business Semantics Glossary is set up and empty. 35 students from both VU University as the University of Amsterdam are teamed up to compete for building the best glossary and make use of it for the most original semantic application.

Applying the Business Semantics Management methodology, they have to assign roles (stewards, admins, stakeholders) and tasks in the brand new workflow system (see the resp. menu in the screenshot).

Boosting Open Innovation with Semantic Technology: the Flanders Research Information Space

August 9, 2011

The full article is now published in the professional monthly magazine Informatie. See my earlier blog post for a translation of the summary in English. The work is not done though: we are further crowd sourcing the information space using Linked Data approaches based on semantic standards managed in Collibra’s Business Semantics Glossary. Hence, to be continued, again :-)

Moulding USDL in SBVR using Business Semantics Glossary: Part 1

July 2, 2011

I truly believe in co-creation. For example, we have our Collibra software and methods regularly scrutinized by numerous master students from both technical as well as more business-oriented computer science programmes in universities across Europe.

At VU University, for example, in the context of my Business Semantics Management master class, 21 MSc students playing the role of steward formed the Amsterdam Service Modelling Community with one common purpose: building an SBVR version of the USDL service description language. There were two additional members invited playing the role of observer: Carlos Pedrinaci (representing the USDL W3C incubator group) and Ivan Razo-Zapata (our PhD student at VU working on dynamic service market place composition). Finally there was me playing the role of administrator, making a total of 24 members.

The Amsterdam Service Modelling community has 24 members (21 playing the role of "steward"; 2 as "observer"; 1 as "administrator") and is subdivided in 5 speech communities. (Note: this is an older release of the Business Semantics Glossary software)

The figure below depicts the Business Semantics Management (BSM) methodology that is established by two operational cycles (reconciliation and application) each grouping a number of modeling activities. For a summary go here and for more details see my dissertation.

Business semantics management is established by two operational cycles each grouping a number of modeling activities.

The experiment extended over a total period of 4 weeks; hence we limited ourselves to the first 4 steps of semantic reconciliation only: scope, create, refine, articulate. In September we plan to repeat this experiment  over a period of 8 weeks where we will have time to do one full cycle of BSM. Later I will also blog about similar experiments we conduct at VUB University of Brussels.

Community-driven Approach

The Amsterdam Service Modelling Community (ASMC) is modelled (in SBVR) as a semantic community. SBVR takes into account the existence of multiple perspectives on how to represent concepts (by means of vocabularies).

  • A semantic community is a group of stakeholders having a body of shared meanings. Stakeholders are people representing an organisation or a business unit.
  • A body of shared meanings is a unifying and shared understanding (perception) of the business concepts in a particular domain.  Concepts are identified by a URI.
  • A speech community is a sub-community of a semantic community having a shared set of vocabularies to refer to the body of shared meanings. A speech community groups stakeholders and vocabularies from a particular natural language in a multi-lingual community, or from a certain technical jargon.
  • A vocabulary is a set of terms and fact types (called vocabulary entries) primarily drawn from a single language to express concepts within a body of shared meanings.

Within the ASMC community, the 21 students grouped in 5 speech communities each focusing on a specific part of the USDL framework. In SBVR, speech communities are part of one semantic community and each manage their own set of vocabularies to refer to this body of shared meanings. This allows for different representations of the same business concepts.

The navigator shows (from left to right) the structure of communities and their vocabularies.

Scoping the Semantic Reconciliation Cycle

The module-based decomposition of USDL depicted below makes it easy for teams to scope. However, they all had to start from the Service and Pricing module so we could observe divergence in definitions as well, an important step in the ontology evolution process (see the Perspective Rendering principle of my PhD on BSM).

The module-based USDL framework allows for clear scoping among speech communities (by courtesy of

Create, Refine, Articulate

Below is a screenshot of the term “Service” in the Pricing and Participant vocabulary in development by the “VAAF” speech community team. The steward (indicated on the top-right) “Vlant” is responsible for selecting the right stakeholders (bottom-right) among his fellow members and engage them into the reconciliation of the term.

A term can be defined using different kinds of attributes, going from (business-oriented) descriptions and definitions to more (formal) fact types and business rules.  Currently the level of articulation is below threshold (37.5%) incentivizing the steward and stakeholders to elaborate more.

Term "Service" in the Pricing and Participant vocabulary in development by the "VAAF" speech community team.

Next time we will talk about vocabulary statistics and workflows in the software. Workflows practically implement the orchestration of reconciliation tasks to members according to their roles and responsibilities.

Building a Digital Information Market Place for Open Innovation with Collibra, Atira, IBM Research and the Flemish Public Administration

June 20, 2011

Prosperity in a knowledge-based economy will benefit from a well-oiled innovation engine. With the advent of the Web, companies and research institutions have come to realize that they can no longer rely on their own research to innovate. Open innovation is a new practice in which stakeholders trade ideas and results for the benefit of themselves and others; a digital information market place for innovation may then naturally emerge.

The Department of Economy, Science and Innovation (EWI) of the Flemish government has taken the lead at European Open innovation to drive through Flanders Research Information Space (FRIS, that is “fresh” in Dutch), an ambitious change program that makes data on innovation-related core entities ranging from institutions , researchers, and projects to patents publicly available by means of semantic standards governance (Collibra, EuroCRIS) and service-oriented technology (Atira).

FRIS basic services: a mesh-up of core entities Project, Organisations, and People on a geographical map

Ultimately, this technology forms a generative basis for a digital information marketplace for innovation. To trade information services, one should first determine what information should be included, and what roles are involved in its assembly.

Snapshot of the Collibra Business Semantics Glossary

In this article we discuss the role of business semantics for describing innovation-related core entities. We further illustrate how the business semantics, can be used to capture the life (and assembly) of core entities. Finally, we give a future perspective on FRIS as a digital information market place  for innovation in the broader context of the Semantic Web, today better known as Linked Data Web.

The article is now being published in the professional magazine “Informatie” and will soon be available in English too. As a sneak preview: next figure shows a screenshot of the term “Project” (within the “Project” vocabulary of “CERIF” speech community that is part of the “FRIS” semantic community) in Business Semantics Glossary that implements the SBVR standard. The software is currently deployed at EWI for managing business semantics of CERIF terms underlying the future market place.

A term (here “Project”) can be defined using one or more attributes such as definitions, examples, fact types, rule sets, categorisation schemas (partly shown in taxonomy), and finally milestones for the lifecycle. “Project” is a subtype of the “Thing” and has two subtypes: “large academic project” and “small industrial project”.

Re governance: in the top-right corner is indicated which member in the community (here “Pieter De Leenheer”) carries the role of “steward”, who is ultimately responsible for this term. The status “candidate” indicates that the term is not yet fully articulated: in this case “Project” only 37.5%. This percentage is automatically calculated based on the articulation tasks that have to be performed according to the business semantics management methodology. Tasks are related to defining attributes and are distributed among stakeholders and orchestrated using workflows.

To be continued.

Are you scratching the metadata surface or governing the corporate information space? Insights in Business Semantics Management

May 26, 2011

I am invited to talk at DAMA International Conference 2011, in London, UK, November 2011. The yearly conference organised by DAMA, the premier organisation of data management professionals worldwide. The conference programme is not public yet, but I post here already the abstract for my talk.

Clear and uniform business definitions are an essential starting point for information governance. However, many tools applied for managing them still operate on the mere technical metadata level.  Yet, to empower business-driven information governance, technical metadata should be seeking grounding in business semantics that are agreed on by subject matter experts. They define a richer contextual meaning of key business assets for your organization in terms of business vocabularies and rules.

Walking through business cases in technology, finance and government, attendees will learn that:

  1. Business semantics in OMG SVBR is structured in such a way that it provide a shared understanding on rules and policies regarding information assets, as well as a technical specification that can be applied in the technical infrastructure.
  2. Feedback from their application in data integration, provide deep insights into the quality of business semantics and information.
  3. Agreeing on and total quality assurance of business semantics requires a collaborative and iterative approach, involving relevant subject matter experts from both business and IT.
  4. In this collaborative effort, workflows practically implement the orchestration of tasks to stakeholders according to their roles and responsibilities.

In the talk I will give an overview of different technologies, but special attention goes to Collibra’s Business Semantics Glossary, a collaborative business semantics management tool adopting SBVR. Recently Collibra’s technology was recently praised by Gartner as Cool Vendor in Enterprise Information Management 2011. Earlier, Collibra was listed as one of 16 semantic technology companies to watch by PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Technology Forecast in Spring 2009.

Business Semantics Management in Competency-centric HRM

September 9, 2010

The article in Journal of Computers for Industry is finally available here.