The Potential of Semantic Technology Part 2 – “The Big Deal”

Some of you here already know it – many others are still asking it though – “What is the Big Deal with Semantic Technology, we don’t get it.”

Fair Enough. If we had to pick one thing that crystallizes the importance of what we’re doing and link it a problem that just about everyone in IT faces today chances are we could change industry perceptions and make some real progress.

So, here’s the big deal – every IT project, everywhere today and for the last 50 years has had to define nearly every piece of data and every potential data relationship up front in order to deploy a working system. When the data changes or the relationships change we need to update the system. When two systems need to interoperate we must reconcile the data and relationships between them (this is called integration). Guess what – doing 10 million one off systems and then integrating them over and over again in one-off fashion is well, really, really expensive. It is easily the most expensive part of any IT budget.

Let me repeat that for emphasis – systems integration is not only the single most expensive aspect of IT – integration is also the activity with the highest associated risk.

Federal Integration Initiatives

So, we’re not talking about some Buck Rodgers new application that seems to think for us – we’re talking about how we solve the number 1 problem in IT today. And solve it now.

Semantic Technology is to systems integration what the DBMS was to systems – it is the key facilitating mechanism for achieving predictable and cost effective success. With it we are leaving behind once and for all the notion that all data can or should be defined in advance (which never happens because business and people are dynamic). Semantic Technology represents an abstraction layer – if we so choose to exploit it that way – in which we manage interaction, interoperability or integration in a dynamic fashion. Thus it shields us from cascading system changes through data dependencies – but to achieve this we have to architect not just the systems but the enterprise to support it. Some folks refer to this as the Semantic Enterprise, I tend to think of it as a process or methodology (Semantic Systems Integration).

And this big deal application of Semantic Technology can occur now. I’ll be giving more specific examples of how in this article series as well as others in the coming months.

Copyright 2010 – Stephen Lahanas

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