Monday, July 13, 2009

How do you explain Semantic Technology to someone who has never heard of it?

“Any intellegent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein

This blog is not about me trying to be a genius in a subtle way. But is about a question which has been bothering me for some time. How do you explain a concept like semantic technology to someone higher up in your organization who will never have the time to go to a conference or a read a book on OWL? The idea is to simplify it in simple words but at the same time convey the value of it. Explaining it as Web 3.0, read-write-execute web or rebirth of AI won't really help.

IMHO, semantic technology can be explained as a way to describe data models and representation which allows to be linked with other data models as if they are part of the same big gigantic database.
Semantic technology solves data integration problem in a big way. It simplifies the way you can connect and exchange data with many systems. The value is that you can maintain it much easily. Also, with the introduction of new semantic tools in the marketplace, we will continue to see that it will be maintained by the business users with mimimal code change. THe W3C, the standards committe behind the semantic web, has done phenomenal job with coming up with languages like RDF and OWL which makes all of it possible.
Business have already made substantial investments in databases, data warehouses, BI, ILM, ERP, CMS and enterprise search. Forming a complete picture of enterprise data is very hard to achieve. Tracking data on timely basis is one of the biggest business and technical challenge! At the end of the day, we need relaible information about business performance! Semantic web technologies, if applied correctly, can solve this problem without scraping your existing investments.

This primer might be useful to more inquistive kinds.

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