Posts Tagged ‘service web’

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.

Exploiting the Clash between Customer Needs and Service Offerings in Value Co-creation

May 18, 2011

The Web is transforming into a global market place: a Service Web. In this context, mechanisms for dynamic delivery and even co-creation of services (as opposed to products; hence not to be mis-understood by software-based services) face new challenges. As we show in our case study, the Web provides already a lot of public data that can be exploited in this regard; hence this may further encourage Linked Data initiatives too as their work proves highy useful value in the digitalization of transparant value co-creation.

Indeed, the adoption of Web 2.0 within electronic commerce resulted in a more personalised user experience. this customer experience is digitized through recommendations and reviews (e.g., and product customisations (e.g. Quirky), etc. This provides benefit to other users, but also provides intangible value back to the enterprise. The co-creation of value arose from this personalised, unique consumer experience and represents a transition from simple transactional models of customers buying tangible goods or services, to purchases being only a small part of a long-term synergistic experience that also yields the creation and exchange of other forms of intangible value such as community, knowledge, etc.

Yet the scalability of these co-creation platforms  is limited as traditional approaches for developing co-creation opportunities, such as service bundling and community building have relied heavily on existing or opportunistic business relationships that are highly integrated instead of loosely coupled.

This article contributes another step in the dynamic bundling of services that exploits the clash between – and envisions the co-evolution of – customer needs and service offerings. The case is about automating the bundling of educational services in a multi-supplier setting. The experiments act on publicly available instance data about education-related needs and services we found on the Web. This also illustrates that the necessary data is indeed available for a Service Web to emerge and more data publication efforts are needed for a true Service Web to emerge.

We highlight the following mechanisms:

  • Laddering: is a marketing practice which uses a conceptual map to represent how a customer links desired product or service attributes to high-level values he/she desires . E.g., see Figure below: the need to  “improve programming skills” can be decomposed in specific functional consequences (which we were able to crawl from the Web). these can then be logically grouped in Wants. Wants may not yet be offered by concrete suppliers; they represent (based on the Wisdom of the Crowds) a certain combination of needs that is emerging on the market.


  • Matching: Matching determines a matching pool of service suppliers that plausibly provide part of the desired Want. Due to the variability of customer needs, single suppliers rarely provide all the required value on their own. Providers may anticipate on Wants as they trigger trends.
  • Bundling: Bundling finds combinations of service suppliers (again crawled from real data) in the matching pool that collectively cover the required Want, hence deliver maximum value to the customer. Different principles or policies of interactions are key during bundling as they may constrain the possible collaboration between suppliers.


The full article will be available soon with following citation:

Razo-Zapata, I.; De Leenheer, P.; Gordijn, J. (2011) Value-based Service Bundling: a Customer-Supplier Approach. In Proc.  of Service-oriented Enterprise Architecture for Enterprise Engineering (SoEA4EE) Scientific Workshop (EDOC 2011), Helsinki, Finland, IEEE

Identify Value Co-creation through Social Network Analysis

March 7, 2011

Self-organising Service Webs based on Actionable Social and Semantic Knowledge

September 17, 2010

How can networked SMEs jointly offer electronic services via the Web? How to model a sustainable and profitable strategy for this? How can we make Internet technology more intelligent so that services can self-organise into bundles that better suit the needs of individuals or very large communities?

These are some of the calls the next-generation’s Service Web is expected to answer. Both Social and Semantic Web have liberated massive amounts of information about people, organisations, technology and their inter-relations that provide an actionable foundation for such Service Web to emerge.

The Service Web is, similarly to the Social and Semantic Web, not centrally controlled. It emerges from complex dynamic communication between people, groups, and communities. Realising the Service Web will require new ways of thinking rather than mere incremental approaches.

The central challenge is how service bundles can interactively self-configure and -adapt to distributed consumer’s considerations, taking into account a minimum governance frame or “rules of engagement (à la Sarbanes-Oxley)”.

It will require us to evolve up the semantic and social Web stack with a multi-disciplinary perspective that models the socio-economic content of services, i.e. the valuable outcome of services rather than merely its interface specification. See our current work on e3value at VU Amsterdam. Moreover, we have to extend current semantic Web service approaches that are dominated by top-down or manual composition, hence are not yet strong enough to deal with multi-party services in the fully open and large-scale environment of the Service Web.

At ICT 2010 I will talk about these issues during the Machines Making Sense of Content session on 28 Sept 14h-15h30.