Understanding and Adopting Semantic Web Technology

by John Kuriakose

A semantic enterprise is one that successfully exploits Semantic Web technologies (SWTs) for applications within the enterprise. Traditionally, enterprise applications have operated under "closed-world" assumptions, meaning that all business rules can be applied to data or facts that are known to, and managed by, the enterprise. In contrast, SWTs exist in an open world, where applications issue SPARQL queries across massive RDF "triple stores," navigating OWL-based ontologies spanning a wide variety of public and/or private information domains. We can infer meaning through the collective information store but are often not able to deduce absolute meaning from the absence of a fact or even its converse. So while today's SWTs are not likely to apply directly to ERP, accounting, and payroll systems, we may soon find ways to apply them to business problem domains where traditional enterprise systems have fallen short, such as BI, data mining, and CRM.

In this issue we explore the Semantic Web and what it signifies for the enterprise. Learn how SWTs can help solve another perennial business problem -- data integration -- by providing dynamic data and a flexible architecture. Hear how these technologies can enable more flexible delivery of mathematical models to users, thereby enhancing business decision making. And find out how enterprises can exploit SWTs to create a people-machine continuum that improves business agility. Tune in to discover what a "meaningful Web" could mean for your organization.

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Understanding and Adopting Semantic Web Technology1 September 2009