Enterprise Semantics

Semantic Technology Drives Agile Business (White Paper)

Cognizant White Paper coverWe are pleased to publish a new white paper for free download, “How Semantic Technology Drives Agile Business,” from Thomas Kelly, a Director in Cognizant’s Enterprise Information Management practice.

Kelly’s experience and pragmatic approach to Enterprise Data Management shows through in this paper.  As Kelly posits in the introduction, “To achieve sustainable competitive advantage and facilitate operational agility, organizations must speed the time to business value of newly acquired data assets from months to weeks or days. Semantic technology provides the architectural foundation for getting there.”

Kelly addresses how the pace of business today is increasing while becoming more complex with considerations like big data and mobile. He points out that traditional Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence approaches simply cannot keep up with that pace. The solution he points to is Semantic Technologies, and he covers how they improve on both DW and BI while delivering “Smart Data” integration and analytics.

Download a free copy of the full white paper by filling out the form below:

About the Author

Photo of Thomas KellyThomas Kelly is a Director in Cognizant’s Enterprise Information Management (EIM) Practice and heads its Semantic Technology Center of Excellence, a technology specialty of Cognizant Business Consulting. He has 20 plus years of technology consulting experience in leading data warehousing, business intelligence, and big data projects, focused primarily on the life sciences and healthcare industries.

 

At SemTechBiz: Driving To More Agile Enterprise App Building In Government And The Enterprise

Be Informed, which provides businesses a way to build model-driven semantic applications, unveiled a new partnership and a gratis version of its software for users at the Semantic Technology & Business conference this week.

Integrator partner CACI International is joining with Be Informed to develop Civinformed, a semantic solution as a service in the cloud for government agencies. The cloud service aims to respond to the need for civilian agencies in the U.S. government to cut costs and respond quickly to changes, such as those to come with The Affordable Health Care Act, while also raising citizen service levels, says Dan Latham, Be Informed USA CEO.

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Big Data Means More Than Volume

[NOTE: This guest post is by Peter Haase, Lead Architect for Research and Development, fluid Operations.]

Photo of Peter HaaseIndustry engineers waste a significant amount of time searching for data that they require for their core tasks. When informed about potential problems, diagnosis engineers at Siemens Energy Services, an integrated business unit which runs service centers for power plants, need to access several terabytes of time-stamped sensor data and several gigabytes of event data, including both raw and processed data. These engineers have to respond to about 1,000 service requests per center per year, and end up spending 80% of their time on data gathering alone. What makes this problem even worse is that their data grows at a rate of 30 gigabytes per day. Similarly, at Statoil Exploration, geology and geographic experts spend between 30 and 70% of their time looking for and assessing the quality of some 1,000 terabytes of relational data using diverse schemata and spread over 2,000 tables and multiple individual databases [1]. In such scenarios, it may take several days to formulate the queries that satisfy the information needs of the experts, typically involving the assistance of experienced IT experts who have been working with the database schemata for years.

Siemens and Statoil Exploration are hardly the only companies faced with time-wasting Big Data issues, but the root of these issues is not simply the “big” aspect of their data. The real challenge is finding a way to efficiently and effectively mine data for value and insight, regardless of its volume.

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Part II: At SemTechBiz, Enterprise IT Can Explore Reasons To Go Semantic

We continue our discussion from yesterday of what enterprise IT will learn to love about semantic technologies at the upcoming SemTechBiz conference (the story began here):

Another Score For Data Agility

Looked at from the data warehouse point of view by Thomas Kelly, Practice Director, Enterprise Information Management, for Cognizant Technology Solutions, semantic technology makes it possible to apply Agile development practices to the data warehouse itself. “You can start modeling, work with data, generate analytics and then start tuning based on what you learn,” says Kelly, who will be discussing semantic technology for the data warehousing practitioner at this session. Several semantic technology-based practices can be applied that support iterative, evolutionary improvements with little or no impact to data loading and analytics functions that were built before the refinements were made, he says.

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At SemTechBiz, Enterprise IT Can Explore Reasons To Go Semantic

LOGO: Semantic Technology & Business Conference; June 2-5, 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaWhy should enterprise IT leaders start steeping themselves in semantic technologies? The answer to that question will become apparent to anyone attending the June Semantic Technology & Business conference in San Francisco, where many sessions will explore the value CIOs and their staffs can gain from going semantic. (You can register for SemTechBiz here.)

Let’s start with the problem of forcing enterprise knowledge workers into rigid procedures to accomplish their activities, the result of having to adhere to flow-charted business processes whose silo’d components are pieced together via fixed integration points. Dave Duggal, co-founder and managing director of EnterpriseWeb LLC, will paint a picture at this session instead of a world of smart, connected business processes to stand up a team of empowered and interactive knowledge workers. Once accorded certain rules-enabled permissions and information access rights, those employees can put their smarts to work “to do their jobs in a goal-oriented way to meet the objectives of the organization,” as Duggal explains it.

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Good-Bye to 2012: A Look Back At The Year In Semantic Tech, Part 1

Courtesy: Flickr/zoetnet

As we close out 2012, we’ve asked some semantic tech experts to give us their take on the year that was. Was Big Data a boon for the semantic web, or is the opportunity to capitalize on the connection still pending? Is structured data on the web not just the future but the present? What sector is taking a strong lead in the semantic web space?

We begin with Part 1, with our experts listed in alphabetical order:

John Breslin, lecturer at NUI Galway, researcher and unit leader at DERI, creator of SIOC, and co-founder of Technology Voice and StreamGlider:
I think the schema.org initiative really gaining community support and a broader range of terms has been fantastic. It’s been great to see an easily understandable set of terms for describing the objects in web pages, but also leveraging the experience of work like GoodRelations rather than ignoring what has gone before. It’s also been encouraging to see the growth of Drupal 7 (which produces RDFa data) in the government sector: Estimates are that 24 percent of .gov CMS sites are now powered by Drupal.

Martin Böhringer, CEO & Co-Founder Hojoki:

For us it was very important to see Jena, our Semantic Web framework, becoming an Apache top-level project in April 2012. We see a lot of development pace in this project recently and see a chance to build an open source Semantic Web foundation which can handle cutting-edge requirements.

Still disappointing is the missing link between Semantic Web and the “cool” technologies and buzzwords. From what we see Semantic Web gives answers to some of the industry’s most challenging problems, but it still doesn’t seem to really find its place in relation to the cloud or big data (Hadoop).

Christine Connors, Chief Ontologist, Knowledgent:

One trend that I have seen is increased interest in the broader spectrum of semantic technologies in the enterprise. Graph stores, NoSQL, schema-less and more flexible systems, ontologies (& ontologists!) and integration with legacy systems. I believe the Big Data movement has had a positive impact on this field. We are hearing more and more about “Big Data Analytics” from our clients, partners and friends. The analytical power brought to bear by the semantic technology stack is sparking curiosity – what is it really? How can these models help me mitigate risk, more accurately predict outcomes, identify hidden intellectual assets, and streamline business processes? Real questions, tough questions: fun challenges!

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Announcing: Best Buy Product Catalog via Semantic Endpoints

Logo for BBYOpenA new resource has been announced on Best Buy’s BBYOpen blog: Metis Alpha. Like Best Buy’s earlier forays into Semantic Web use, this one started with a business problem. As the announcement states: “These days, consumers have a rich variety of products available at their fingertips. A massive product landscape has evolved, but sadly products in this enormous and rich landscape often get flattened to just a price tag. Over time, it seems the product value proposition, variety, descriptions, specifics, and details that make up products have all but disappeared. This presents consumers with a ‘paradox of choice’ where misinformed decisions can lead to poor product selections, and ultimately product returns and customer remorse.”

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Elephant Hunting for Pygmies: How To Introduce Big Data and Linked Data to Your Company

[Editor's Note: This guest post was provided by Tom Ilube, Managing Director, Callcredit Consumer Markets, and includes additional contributions from Rob Styles, Principal Technical Consultant, Callcredit)]

Photo of African Elephant

If you intend to introduce Big Data and Linked Data approaches to your company you may wish to learn from the way pygmies hunt elephants.

Forty years ago my father took me on safari in remote parts of Kenya. We ended up slightly off the beaten track, in a pygmy village. They were very welcoming and one evening as we sat around chatting some of the young men told us how they hunt elephants. Pygmies, I am reliably informed, approach this formidable task in three easy steps.

Step 1: A team of two pygmies roll around in elephant dung, so that they can sneak up on said elephant without being detected;

Step 2: Pygmy A (let us call him “Joe”) climbs on Pygmy B’s (“Fred”) shoulders, underneath the elephant (“Nelly”). Joe uses a short, sharp spear to attack the soft underbelly and aim directly for Nelly’s heart. Then they run. Fast.

Step 3: Joe and Fred return to the village, carrying an ear each, and are received as heroes as the whole village feasts for weeks.

Mind you, if Joe and Fred return covered in dung and without ears then they are given pretty short shrift by their fellow village, let me tell you! There is also the minor risk of being stomped on. But otherwise, it’s a foolproof plan.

This is precisely the approach that Rob Styles (Pygmy A) and I (Pygmy B) are taking in introducing Big Data concepts at Callcredit, the UK credit reference agency. Well, perhaps not precisely. But let’s see how far I can push this ridiculous analogy.

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Pfizer Moves Semantic Tech Forward, Helping Business Respond To Cost Pressures And Realize Efficiency Gains

A couple of years back, The Semantic Web Blog visited with Vijay Bulusu to gain some insight into how pharma giant Pfizer Inc. was moving forward with semantic technology (see article here). At last week’s Semantic Technology and Business Conference in New York City, Bulusu, director, informatics and innovation at Pfizer, provided additional perspective on the issue – first, during the presentation on Using Linked Semantic Data in Biomedical Research and Pharmaceuticals (see coverage of that here), and then in a follow-up conversation.

A struggle for pharma companies, Bulusu notes, sits in driving standards for data that exists across system silos, so it is broadly applicable across groups. A transaction like creating a batch of materials, doing analytical testing on it and enabling clinical trial releases is the work of multiple groups of people in departments like R&D entering data across different systems.

The foundational layer needed to support data aggregation in a persistent graph semantic database and visualization with collaborative, semantic knowledge maps “is all about data already in transactional, silo’d systems,” Bulusu says. “We want to make sure that across those systems, key data is entered consistently for entities.” That means limiting them to selecting via a drop-down list from a vocabulary that is consistently managed and published from a single source to all these transaction systems, so the same entity is called by the same name as it traverses systems to support analytics and other requirements. That, he says, “is where we directly impact the day-to-day operational work of users.”

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Pharma Becoming Ever-Bigger Fan of Semantic Technology

Courtesy: Flickr/epSos.de

At the Semantic Technology and Business Conference in New York City last week, attendees got to hear a lot about how semantic technology is influencing various sectors, such as government (see our stories here and here) and media (see this article and this one). Another prominent one on display: pharmaceuticals.

Pharma, for example, was the driving use case for the update to Callimachus that focuses on helping users deal with data that’s external to the framework for data-driven applications, David Wood, CTO of Callimachus project sponsor 3 Round Stones, told The Semantic Web Blog at the event. (To learn more about the update, see our story here.)

A session on Tuesday last week saw Lee Feigenbaum, vp of marketing at Cambridge Semantics, which makes the Anzo express and Anzo Enterprise solutions,  put forth a case for semantic tech as being key to data integration and interoperability in the sector, as well. “Can semantic web technologies break down enterprise data silos just as they break down document silos on the web?” he said. “The answer to the question is, “Of course.” Compared to the web, the data silo challenges of even the largest pharmaceuticals organization is relatively minor.”

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