PLM and Future Semantic Enterprise

by Oleg on July 12, 2011 · 4 comments

This blog is my thoughts following Semantic Technology Conference (SemTech 2011), which took place in San-Francisco last month. I attended this conference as part of press / media. Gathering more than 1000 specialists in different areas of applications related to semantic technology, this is an absolutely “must follow” conference, if your interest is “data” and everything that may happen with data. A year ago, I was blogging about PLM and the power of Pull. This year conference made me think about some potential semantic technology can provide to Product Lifecycle Management.

Semantic Technology and Semantic Web

Let’s cover some fundamental first. Navigate your browser to one of the following links – Semantic Web, Web 3.0, Semantic Technologies, Linked Data. All these things have similar DNA coming back from W3C Semantic Activities – the specifications and definitions that grew up and became mature for the last decade.

The following picture presents some fundamentals of Semantic Technologies. This is so called Semantic Technology Stack.


Evidence of Success in Consumer Space

Even being here only for 10 years, semantic technology had some evidence of success. Just to mention two companies used semantic technologies and successfully acquired. Powerset - a company developed natural language search engine. Company was acquired by Microsoft in 2008 for approximately 100 millions. Another example is a company called Siri – a personal assistant. Siri was acquired by Apple back in 2010.

Enterprises and Semantic Technologies

Let’s see what happens in enterprise applications of semantic technologies. The most notable enterprise software company investing in semantic technologies is Oracle. Navigate to the following link to see Oracle home page for semantic technology. The following presentation is a good jump start for Oracle Semantic Stack. There is not much known to me about customers using this Oracle semantic technologies in production.

The following presentation on SemTech11 drove significant interest as a real application of semantic technologies in DoD Business Mission Area. Presented by Dennis Wisnosky – Chief Architect and Chief Technical Officer of the US DoD Business Mission Area (BMA) within the Office of Business Transformation, this is an excellent review of what real application of semantic technologies can do.

PLM and Semantic Technologies

Word “semantic” is widely used in PLM. However, semantic technologies are not really represented in PLM development. David Siegel in Pull provide some of the ideas in his book – Pull. I captured some of what I can think about in my blog a year ago – PLM and the power of Pull.

What is my conclusion? Semantic is an interesting technological stack that provide an opportunity in multiple domains. The biggest value of semantic technologies in enterprise and PLM is related to the ability of work with heterogeneous sets of data.  In my view, the potential of semantic technologies is not fully discovered yet. There are few DO’s and DON’T's I’d like to mention. DO’s – leverage a selective set of technologies that can provide a value prop to a particular implementation compared to existing technologies. DON’T's – don’t “sell the power of semantics”, since people are not interested in technologies these days. Sounds simple? Yes, and this is true for any technologies.

Best, Oleg

*Disclosure: I accept some personal bias towards Semantic Technologies. The company I founded last year Inforbix is using semantic technologies to help people in manufacturing companies to get ubiquitous access to product data located in multiple enterprise systems and data sources.

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