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Re: [ontolog-forum] Quote for the day

To: edbark@xxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Mike Bennett <mbennett@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 15:24:58 +0000
Message-id: <4D2B24CA.1050302@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
That is a good description of the problem as it would be 
articulated in the financial services industry.    (01)

The business folks know what they want to achieve, in their 
(business) language. We must not make the mistake that our techie 
cousins have made over the years, of refusing to parse anything 
that is said to us if it's said in the "wrong" language. Some 
computer folks are like command line interfaces to talk to, get 
one word wrong and they decide you are not making any sense at all.    (02)

Mike    (03)

On 04/01/2011 19:39, Ed Barkmeyer wrote:
> Toby Considine wrote:
>> This thread has morphed into a discussion of how to explain the value
>> Ontology to business owners / decision makers, and assertion that *they*
>> would never be interested. My purpose in the note (as you asked, Ed), it to
>> illustrate that CEOs are potentially intensely interested--but not, perhaps,
>> if we insist on the purity of their language and approach. They did, indeed
>> get to become CEOs for a reason, and didn't happen to choose to become
>> ontologists.
> I think we are in agreement on this.  My take, based primarily on
> discussions with manufacturing executives and a handful of consultants,
> is that what the senior executives want right now is three things:
>   (a) a means of organizing the captured corporate knowledge, so that it
> can be searched and retrieved by people who discover they need it.  The
> problem with the captured knowledge is that it is mostly in text form,
> with some formal models and structures in various languages and tools.
> In theory, this is the kind of thing we ought to be able to do better
> with ontologies, and it is a direct application of some of the Semantic
> Web ideas.
>   (b) a means of capturing corporate knowledge that may otherwise be lost
> as senior staffers retire or are attracted to other firms.  One of the
> big concerns -- a version of John Sowa's profferred definition of
> 'expert' -- is capturing the knowledge of what has been tried and
> proven/judged *not* to work, and why.  Most of the existing corporate
> documentation reflects what was actually built or implemented and the
> decisions that were taken.  The ideas that were discarded for various
> reasons are typically documented only in the minds of the people who
> participated in that experience, and perhaps briefly in a few emails or
> the minutes of some management meeting.  Upper management is plagued
> with bright new 'ideators' seeking to make their mark.  The senior
> officer can filter out those that were tried in 1982, 1987, 1991 and
> 1995 and can usually tell the new face when it was tried, how, and what
> happened, but none of that is documented.  The idea here is to do the
> knowledge engineering 'from the horse's mouth'.
>   (c) a means of reconciling the information they get from various
> departments, each holding different views on critical corporate assets,
> processes, and plans.  The problem here is not only the 'nyms' that Jack
> Ring mentions -- different terms for the same things, different
> groupings/aggregations and upper level classifiers -- but also genuinely
> conflicting models.  The conflicts tend to arise out of the different
> KPIs and other elements of the business assessment, evaluation and
> reward system.  One group counts orders placed, another orders filled,
> and a third total revenue from orders; and as an order changes state,
> its value to the company changes, but its value to various performance
> assessments appears and disappears.  This is an area in which ontologies
> can do better than the Conceptual Schema and the Information Base of
> which Sjir speaks.  Ontologies can provide formal definitions of classes
> and properties (in terms of 'more fundamental' ones), which allows us to
> deduce relationships, recognize (or declare) synonyms, and recognize
> inconsistencies in the 'schemas' themselves.
> The problem with delivering any of these results is tying the bell on
> the cat's neck.  Some team of knowledge engineers has to get down and
> dirty with the text resources and the individual company practitioners,
> and tease out and formulate all of the knowledge that is presumably
> resident in them.  And then the knowledge engineers have to go back to
> many of these resources to resolve some of the confusion and conflict.
> That is an expensive process for the CEO, not because of what the
> consulting ontologists cost, but because of the time of his/her
> corporate personnel assets that is consumed.  Further, it is a risky
> process, precisely because it exposes the knowledge that is the
> corporate advantage to external eyes and ears.  Unlike Toby's tag line,
> this is an activity that must be done well -- thoroughly and carefully
> -- to be worth doing at all.
> -Ed
>> tc
>> "If something is not worth doing, it`s not worth doing well" - Peter Drucker
>> Toby Considine
>> TC9, Inc
>> TC Chair: oBIX&  WS-Calendar
>> TC Editor: EMIX, EnergyInterop
>> U.S. National Inst. of Standards and Tech. Smart Grid Architecture Committee
>> Email: Toby.Considine@xxxxxxxxx
>> Phone: (919)619-2104
>> http://www.tcnine.com/
>> blog: www.NewDaedalus.com
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Ed Barkmeyer [mailto:edbark@xxxxxxxx]
>> Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 11:24 AM
>> To: Toby.Considine@xxxxxxxxx; [ontolog-forum]
>> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Quote for the day
>> Toby Considine wrote:
>>> Not every business model *wants* precision of description and
>> communication.
>> That is a different matter.  The objective in a trade agreement is to be as
>> precise as necessary to get agreement and reveal as little as possible of
>> the inner workings of each agent.  So it is not a matter of not wanting
>> precision; it is a matter of choosing an appropriate precision.
>>> Many in the commercial real estate world, for one example, feel what
>>> they are buying is a superior awareness of what is, or what could be,
>>> than the seller knows. The seller may feel the same.
>> Yes.  Most companies, not just in real estate, believe that their major
>> value components and commercial advantage come from some internally kept
>> knowledge and practices.  And others contract with them because they
>> recognize those values, even though (or because) they lack access to the
>> enabling knowledge.
>>> A model of full and perfect
>>> knowledge on each side would slow business and reduce opportunity.
>>> I shared with this list a couple years ago an observation from C-level
>>> executives at some of the largest REITs in North America, that a
>>> company's ontology is its unique value proposition, and is the sole
>>> responsibility of its executives. What they wanted from folks like
>>> those on this list is clear and clean semantics in which to express this
>> ontology.
>> I do not understand this paragraph.  I think Toby is saying that the
>> executives want a standard upper ontology for their domain (real estate)
>> which they can use to develop their corporate micro-theory (ontology).
>> Is that right?
>>> Bonus points if the semantics were such that the Leasing Agent could use
>> them.
>> Presumably the Leasing Agent is already using those semantics.  The bonus is
>> in developing software that can assist the agents effectively by using the
>> corporate semantics as expressed in the corporate ontology.
>>> I don't for a minute think that this covers all cases, but it is an
>>> important perspective, an anvil on which to beat other concepts of
>>> ontology on. Clearly, an ontological sales pitch that runs counter to
>>> this perspective would be a tough sell.
>> I don't disagree, but I hope we can clarify what is wanted here.
>> -Ed
>>    (04)

Mike Bennett
Hypercube Ltd.
89 Worship Street
London EC2A 2BF
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7917 9522
Mob: +44 (0) 7721 420 730
Registered in England and Wales No. 2461068    (05)

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