This is the text of the short paper that I wrote for a presentation to be held at the Topic Maps conference in Oslo in 2008:
In my presentation I will explain how subject-centric computing and semantics (through Topic Maps) can enable large size organizations to develop agile ICT strategies, which will save them money, shorten the time-to-market and improve innovative processes.
Most large organizations (profit and non-profit) still use static ICT-strategies to shape their processes. As a consequence they are slow to respond to changing economic, technological and social developments both within and outside the organization. This compromises competitiveness and innovation.
The cause can be traced to the following aspects:
1. Existing systems are structurally inert because of the relational model on which it is built;
2. Suppliers charge high prices to change their systems from one static state to another;
3. Changes to systems and processes have a long time-to-market;
4. Knowledge-based problems are being solved using information-based principles and systems.
[data -> information -> knowledge]
Today’s economy demands organizations to be innovative and agile. Faced with new developments, an organization should be able to change their strategic direction quickly AND to pursue this new direction with all their strength. This will only be possible if an organization has the ability to use more dynamic and agile strategies. Topic Maps offers the means to accomplish this.
Topic Maps offers serveral advantages for agile strategies over ‘traditional’ ICT, such as subject-centric computing, flexible system integration and the scalability and flexibility of knowledge hubs. Each of these will be discussed below and following this I will bind them together showing how it enables the creation of agile ICT-strategies.
Subject-centric computing offers organizations the opportunity to make the transition from information-based to knowledge-based systems. Trading table-structures for real-life subjects enables the capturing and sharing of associative thinking and expression. Discussions about functionality can be more to the point.
System integration is often a very expensive and time-consuming undertaking, involving several suppliers and very high costs. The result, is that several static systems are connected in a static way. Topic Maps has proven that organizations can save time and money, while shortening the time-to-market and gaining a high level of flexibility in extending or changing the integration. It enables a cohesive steering mechanism and view on the organization.
Topic Maps offer a high degree of scalability, extendibility and flexibility of the knowledge maps and TM-applications, making it easy to continually tune and adapt your systems and services. People, portals, departments, processes can thus be connected and kept in line with ongoing developments.
Combined, these ingredients deliver the tools needed to develop and sustain agile strategies:
– Subject-centricity leads to richer and contextually focussed information flows.
– With Topic Maps, system integration provides a clear insight in current processes and subjects.
– More flexibility in systems and processes
– Topic Mapped knowledge hubs
– Faster and more focussed mobilization of company’s abilities
Examples which I will use in the presentation:
Last week I participated at the Topic Maps 2008 conference in Oslo. I did a presentation about Fluid ICT-strategies enabled by semantics.
This conference, which is an international continuation of the Emnekart conferences, has shifted it’s emphasys a bit more from a technical perspective to include a bit more of the business related issues of topic maps. This is a good development since semantic applications (especially those based on topic maps) are starting to find there way to the market. Interest in semantics is picking up and projects are being started by government agencies and by businesses.
Presentations will become available shortly on the conference’s website.
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Update: This is the PDF-version of the presentation I gave at the Topic Maps conference in Oslo, april 2008.by R.M.G. Dols