The Spring 2009 issue of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Technology Forecast focuses on semantic technology. It features an interview with Zepheira partner Uche Ogbuji and highlights Zepheira’s overall contributions. In the interview, ‘From folksonomies to ontologies’, Mr. Ogbuji discusses how early adopters are introducing Semantic Web to the enterprise, ‘[describing] department-level Linked Data initiatives and how grassroots efforts can lead to companywide successes’. He focuses on the balance of technical and social matters within the firewall, and overall on pragmatics rather than technological purity.
‘What we typically do on an engagement is try to capture what I would call schematic information, which is information about what relates to what. They’re deceptively simple links between entities in one silo and entities in another silo, so we’re not talking about a huge, formal, scientific, top-down modeling exercise. We’re talking about links that are almost at the level of social tagging, almost at the folksonomy level.
‘We’ve found that when you provide a basis for people to say that this entity, this sort of information in this silo relates to this other sort of information in this silo, then the people who are involved fill in the nooks and crannies. You don’t have to have this huge engineering effort to try to force a shared model between them.
‘So I think the benefit that department heads get from something like Semantic Web technology is that it’s designed to go from very slim threads and very slim connections, and then have those strengthened over time through human intervention. There’s a large social element in building shared models, and once you have built those shared models, you have the social benefit of having people enfranchised in it. Some organizations had a situation where trying to do data governance was warfare, because of the competing initiatives. Now you have given people the capability to do it piecemeal collaboratively, and you have less of the warfare and more of the cooperation aspect, which improves the system that they’re developing.’
—Uche Ogbuji, ‘From folksonomies to ontologies’, PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Technology Forecast, Spring 2009
Mr. Ogbuji also led an internal PWC webcast on this topic May 28th.