OntologySummit2011: (Track 4) Strategies for "Making the Case"    (2LKN)

Co-Champions: MatthewWest and PeterYim    (2LKO)

Introduction    (2RXD)

This document is input for the 2011 Ontology Summit Communiqué created from the community input over the last couple of months.    (2RXE)

Making the Case for What?    (2RXF)

We note that the discussion during this year’s Summit has focussed on making the case for ontology projects within a business context where there is a financial justification for the use of ontology. However, there is also a case to be made for ontology research and the determination and pursuit of research goals for a case to be made for. The Grand Challenges track may address this, but it has not generally been addressed elsewhere. Generally, the approach in this summit has been pragmatic, emphasising the need to "put food on the table".    (2RXG)

Ontology is not an end in itself    (2RXH)

In a commercial or public administration environment there are no examples where an ontology alone delivers benefits. In all cases the ontology is an enabling element of some larger project or programme, and it is that larger project or programme that delivers benefits. This makes it difficult to identify the benefits attributable to an ontology, since it is the whole rather than the parts that delivers them. Recognition of this may lead ontologists to keep the use of ontology under the hood, rather than something that is argued for up front. However, it should equally be possible to explain how an ontology contributes to the overall success, even if the overall success cannot be claimed for the ontology alone.    (2RXI)

The Core Contribution of Ontology    (2RXJ)

In commercial and public administration environments the route to showing how ontologies support better decision making through better informed decisions. An ontology will either be used to automate some part of the decision making process, or be used to improve the quality of information used in decision making. It is usually relatively easy to show that better decisions will lead to better business outcomes, or alternatively that poor decisions based on poor information lead to poor business outcomes. It can be quite a valuable exercise to look at recent poor outcomes and reconstruct how these resulted from poor decisions that were poorly informed. This can be a good way to find the justification for projects in which ontology will have a role, and as a way to assess whether potential projects are likely to deliver benefits.    (2RXK)

Two Types of Business Case    (2RXL)

Two types of business case are the incremental and the disruptive.    (2RXM)

An incremental business case is one where something that is being done already is done more efficiently. An example would be the replacement of the manual rekeying of information from one system into another by an automated interface that used the mapping of the semantics of one system to the other.    (2RXN)

A disruptive business case would be one where something that was not previously practical is enabled through the use of ontology. This will typically result from reducing the cost and improving the timeliness of providing information. An example of this is the Siri product that supports voice or plain text questions, returns options, and is able to transact on them on the user’s confirmation. Not only does it provide the natural language processing to identify the query, but it is context and location aware, and it integrates quite a number of web based resources and services, to produce the answer in a reasonable time, and optionally, act on them.    (2RXO)

Strategic Areas    (2RXP)

There are a number of areas where there are opportunities for an ontological approach:    (2RXQ)

There is also at least one area where an ontological approach has a strategic advantage, Master Data Management. Master Data contains the ontology of the enterprise in terms of its organization, products, geography, and assets – both physical and financial, their classifications, and the business rules that govern them. It is the common language that allows data from different parts of an enterprise to be integrated. Relational approaches struggle with Master Data because of the high level of properties and inter-relationships that exist between them. This provides an opportunity for semantic technologies, and together with some Master Data being shared with customers and suppliers, makes web based technologies a good fit.    (2RXU)

There are Different Audiences    (2RXV)

We need a (slightly) different message for each of the different audiences. These are categories of people we need to 'Make our Case' to:    (2RXW)

Resources:    (2RY4)

 maintained by the Track-4 champions ... please do not edit    (2LKP)