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January, 2010:

How is a process an event?

Today, I came upon some commentary by a business rule colleague, Carlos Serranos-Morales, of Fair Isaac concerning a presentation I made at the Business Rules Forum.  During the presentation I showed some sentences that are beyond the current state of the art in the business rules industry.  Generally speaking, these were logical statements that did not use the word “if”.  (Note, however, that many of the them could be expressed in SBVR, OMG’s semantics of business vocabulary and rules standard).  Carlos argued that such statements should be more precisely articulated within the specific context of a business process. 

Here is the slide that triggered the controversy:

AI beyond Fair Isaac

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Google follows Microsoft’s lead towards intelligence

Being a fan of increased intelligence on the web, including Bing’s use of Powerset and True Knowledge, I enjoyed cnet’s report, “Google search gets answer highlights and events.”

Google now shows the following “The Empire State Building rises to 1250 ft (381 m) at the 102nd floor” in response to the classic semantic web test question.

Also, Google leverages more of the content of text or structure of linked data in its Rich Snippet answers:

Rich Snippet shows Google "understands" events

As search engines increase their understanding of concepts and how to extract them from content or linked data and present them as Google does here or above in a sentence, the web will begin to feel a lot smarter. 

As these simple enhancements indicate, the intelligent web is taking off and that feeling of intelligence will come sooner than expected.  Of course, there is a long way to go.   For more on that, I here there is an upcoming issue of AI Magazine that will survey the state of the art in question answering, including coverage of Vulcan’s Project Halo and IBM’s Jeopardy effort, among others.  Also, if you are interested in what bright minds are looking forward to in this regard, see Nova Spivak’s recent blogging and his post on “will the web become conscious?”

Extended Enterprise Ontology

In a recent post I mentioned comments by Sir Tim Berners-Lee concerning the overlap between enterprise information models and semantic web ontology supporting the concept of linked data.  Sir Berners-Lee argued that overlap is already sufficient to have a transformative effect on mainstream IT.  I think he is right, but also that we are not there yet.  There are many obstacles to adoption, not the least of which is the inertia of enterprise IT.  Disruptive approaches to software development typically require ten years or so to cross the chasm from visionary and early adopters to the mainstream.  We are only a few years into this and the technology is not ready.

First, let’s establish that there is plenty of semantics available for reuse now.  There are existing models, some of which are well-designed, mature, and widely used.  Unfortunately, most of what exists has little apparent relevance to enterprises.  There is little on this diagram that would draw the attention of an enterprise architect, for example.

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Rule and event-driven business process M&A

On the heels of IBM’s acquisition of Lombardi comes Progress Software’s acquisition of Savvion.  The salient similarities are that IBM is adding BPM applications to its middleware stack as is Progress, at least with regard to its enterprise service bus offerings.  More interesting is the relationship between Progress’ complex event processing software and Savvion’s BPM.  Also of note is the vendor-provided integration of JBOSS Rules within Savvion versus the unrealized potential of IBM’s Ilog with respect to Lombardi.

We’ve written several times about the artificial distinction between CEP and BPM, their inevitable convergence, and the immature integration of business rules with business process management and event processing that inhibits knowledge-driven governance and decisioning. (more…)