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Archive for November, 2013

by: Ocdqblog
27  Nov  2013

The Data of Damocles

While the era of Big Data invokes concerns about privacy and surveillance, we still tender our privacy as currency for Internet/mobile-based services as the geo-location tags, date-time stamps, and other information associated with our phone calls, text messages, emails, and social networking status updates become the bits and bytes of digital bread crumbs we scatter along our daily paths as our self-surveillance avails companies and governments with the data needed to track us, target us with personalized advertising, and terrorize us with the thought of always being watched.

Even though it creeps us out when we stop to think about it, we’ve become so accustomed to this new digital normal that it’d be more difficult than we may realize to stop.  Robert Hillard recently blogged about his failed attempt to live for one day without creating big data.  “Nowhere is the right to anonymity enshrined in the digital age,” Hillard concluded.  “The reality is that we leave a big data trail whether we like it or not.  While the vast majority of that data is never used, we are not in control.”

In their book Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier pondered “the specter of permanent memory” the data we create but aren’t in control of conjures as “risk that one can never escape one’s past because the digital records can always be dredged up.  Our personal data hovers over us like the Sword of Damocles threatening to impale us years hence with some private detail or regrettable purchase.”

The Sword of Damocles hung above his head by a wire-thin horsehair.  The Data of Damocles hangs over our heads by a wire-less web of cloud-enabled mobile services that hovers above us wheresoever we go and which could come crashing down upon us without warning.

“For decades an essential principle of privacy laws around the world,” Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier explained, “has been to put individuals in control by letting them decide whether, how, and by whom their personal information may be processed.  In the Internet age, this laudable ideal has often morphed into a formulaic system of notice and consent.  In the era of big data, however, when much of data’s value is in secondary uses that may have been unimagined when the data was collected, such a mechanism to ensure privacy is no longer suitable.”

They discussed a regulatory shift from privacy by consent to privacy through accountability, focusing less on individual consent at the time of data collection and more on holding data users accountable for what they do with that data.  They also discussed some technical innovations that can help protect privacy in certain instances, such as the concept of differential privacy, which deliberately blurs the data so that a query of a large dataset doesn’t reveal exact results but only approximate ones, thereby making it difficult to associate particular data points with particular people.

“In many fields, from nuclear technology to bioengineering,” Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier concluded, “we first build tools that we discover can harm us and only later set out to devise the safety mechanisms to protect us from those new tools.  In this regard, big data takes its place alongside other areas of society that present challenges with no absolute solutions, just ongoing questions about how we order our world.  Just as the printing press led to changes in the way society governs itself, so too does big data.  It forces us to confront new challenges with new solutions.  To ensure that people are protected at the same time as the technology is promoted, we must not let big data develop beyond the reach of human ability to shape the technology.”

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Category: Information Governance
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by: Robert.hillard
23  Nov  2013

Living without a trace of Big Data

I’ve watched over a number of months as major digital providers across handsets, telecommunications, internet services and virtually every other integrated offering have one by one described how they provide information to various governments.

While none of this should be a concern to me as long as I’m doing nothing wrong, I’m left troubled by the vision I painted just ahead of Snowden’s PRISM leak of a world that was as intrusive as that which Orwell painted in his chilling 1984 (Living as far from 1984 as Orwell).

So, I set myself a challenge: could I live for one day leaving a data footprint as light as that of a citizen of the real 1984?

6am. The last thing I did before going to bed was to dig out an ancient alarm clock to replace my smartphone that I typically wake-up to.  I know that my phone virtually lives in the cloud and almost everything it does leaves a trail.  To be sure that I silenced the digital hum of that part of my life, I powered it completely down.

6.30am. Clearly I haven’t prepared well enough, on the way to the station, I realised that the smartcard I use for the train is registered in my name.  Our train system does let you buy a smartcard without identifying yourself (as long as you use cash and don’t top it up online) so I had to allow some extra time.  It’s a good thing I’m not driving given that I would have had to have taken the back streets to avoid using the electronic tag our toll roads use.

7am. On the train, I notice how my fellow commuters are almost all engaged with their smart devices.  I probably should have bought a newspaper, something I haven’t needed on a train for years.

7.30am. I grab my usual coffee and breakfast, I hesitate before handing over my loyalty card (a paper relic), increasingly my preferred cafe will join many others and move their coffee scheme onto one of the mobile apps.

8am. I decide that using my building security pass is OK.  I’m making the rules up as I go, but justify using the pass on the basis that the data belongs to my employer and is no different to the time sheets I’m sure my 1984 predecessor would have filled out.

8.10am. I start-up my laptop and email.  I’m conscious that I’m leaving a trail within the office network, but I think I’m OK with my self-imposed rules but I’m definitely pushing the boundaries!

8.25am. A bit harder now, I’ve just noticed an email from a client that requires a response.  My 1984 rule definitely won’t let me send an email over the public internet so I revert to making a phone call.  Having said that, the personal touch is appreciated but took a bit longer.

9am. I’m in trouble now with my rules, I’ve just realised that I’ve left my mobile voicemail on without diverting it to my office. I wonder if this is a fail and what could someone tell electronically through my voicemail usage that they didn’t know in 1984?  The phone hacking scandal that engulfed the media in the UK comes immediately to mind.

9.30am. I head off to speak at a conference and have to take an extra moment to get someone to give me directions – I can’t use maps either from my PC or smartphone without leaving a trail.  A number of delegates have been tweeting and I think about whether I have to ask them not to.  Admittedly, in 1984 it would have been a matter of public record that I was speaking, but probably less easily brought together for anyone prying into my movements.

11.30am. I go to read a document by saving the PDF to my Dropbox account and give myself a quick mental slap on the wrist.  Using Dropbox leaves a digital trail.  Worse, I now need to do some HR performance reviews, but I realised that these products are cloud hosted and hence leave a trail across the Internet.

Lunch. I’ve gotten into the habit of walking for 10 minutes listening to music over my streaming service or calling my wife while I go to get lunch.  Neither is allowed today as both would leave a dense trail of digital crumbs!

Rather than walk, I decide to have a quick bite in a local café with a colleague.  I realise that I have just a few dollars left in cash.  Clearly using an ATM wouldn’t be allowed, but I could stop by a bank branch just like my 1984 predecessor.

Apart from not having time (a common 2013 problem) to visit a bank branch, I also wonder whether today’s withdrawal leaves a much bigger digital trail than its 1984 equivalent even when done in person.  Instead I pay with my credit card using the argument that they existed in 1984 and the basic process was the same.  I’m left wondering whether the fact that the 1984 trail was paper-based is materially different to the electronic data I’ve left behind today.

2pm. Now I’ve stuffed-up.  I had thought that I was OK logging onto my office network, but I needed to have switched off all of the cloud services before they even started.  Looks like any prying eyes can work out that I was online – although my lack of activity might make the record sparse.

3pm. I have long-since given up my earlier attempt to avoid sending external email and have responded to client questions and the scheduling of appointments.  I conveniently self-justified using an argument based on my own advice on the use of email (Reclaim email as a business tool) but I’m probably on the wrong side of this argument as the email trail is richer than any paper memo or letter.

6pm. I’m heading home and stop by a supermarket to pick-up bread and milk, and almost instinctively hand-over my loyalty card before stopping myself dead in my tracks.  I get a very strange look from the checkout staff member as I ask for my card back before he scans it!

7pm. Paranoia is now really setting in. I’m trying to work out if our cable TV service can tell whether we are switched on and, if so, what we are watching.  I decide that as long as I disconnect the Ethernet cable then it’s probably OK.

10pm. Reading in bed, trouble is the book I’m reading is on my Kindle. Finally, lights-out and at least they had electricity in 1984, but no smart meters!

Conclusion

Ultimately I failed to live for a day without creating Big Data.  Jason Bourne I’m not going to be!  Even if I had managed it, the absence of a digital foot print is as telling as the presence of one.  If suspected of a crime, then a citizen going to all of the trouble of being invisible would immediately be a suspect (in fact, this has already happened).  Nowhere is the right to anonymity enshrined in the digital age.

The reality is that we leave a Big Data trail whether we like it or not.  While the vast majority of that data is never used, we are not in control.  I have previously argued that you should own your own data.

Perhaps the ultimate irony is that by publishing this post on the Internet, anyone wondering why I went “dark” for a day will be able to fill in all of the missing pieces.

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Category: Information Governance, Information Strategy
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by: Ocdqblog
20  Nov  2013

Our Privacy is Currency — and We are Giving It Away

In my post from this past summer Through a PRISM, Darkly, I blogged about how ours is a world still struggling to come to terms with having more aspects of our everyday lives, both personal and professional, captured as data.

We rarely consider the data privacy implications of our brave new data world, which prompted me to ask why we are so concerned about the government accessing data that in many instances we voluntarily gave to companies like Google, which provides free services (not counting the money we do pay for our mobile phone plans and to our Internet service providers) that are not really free because we pay for them with our privacy.

“Google has sucked millions of people into its web by delivering a feature-packed email service that comes only at the price of our privacy,” David Braue recently blogged.

“We must face the unavoidable reality that we have sold our souls for free email.  Think about it: We bleat and scream to the hills about the government’s invasions of our privacy, then turn around and mail our personal information using a service specifically designed to harvest that information.”

“Google has positioned Gmail as a gateway drug to a world where everything runs according to Google.  Google wants to manage our photos, our social media, our email, our word-processing documents, our everyday tasks, even our general documents.”

“This is the brave new world of the Internet,” Braue argued, “where privacy is an historical footnote and we are tricked or simply bribed to give it up.  By and large, we are quite happy to do so.  We may not love the need to deliver our personal lives on a platter in exchange for a spam-free, easily-accessible and substantially awesome email experience — but we do so with a smile, over and over again.”

To Braue’s point, no one is forcing us to use Gmail.  Many, myself included, use it for the convenience of managing multiple email accounts across multiple mobile devices.

And Google is certainly not our only enemy combatant in what I have previously dubbed the Data Cold War.  However, when we trade convenience for privacy, we have to admit the inconvenient truth that Pogo taught us long ago: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

We don’t give away those slips of paper in our wallets without realizing that’s a form of currency.  And we don’t give away the digital currency that is our credit card numbers (e.g., via Twitter, you could use a single tweet to post seven of your credit card numbers, with one space after each 16-digit number, and hashtag it with #MyCreditCardNumbers — but I will assume you would not).

However, we do give away countless bytes of our personal data in exchange for Internet/mobile-based services that we consider to be free because, unlike the companies providing those services, we do not count personally identifiable information as a form of currency.

The reality is our privacy is currency — and we are giving it away.

 

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Category: Information Governance
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by: Phil Simon
19  Nov  2013

Incentives, Data, and IT Projects

IT project failures continue to haunt us. Consider the recent BusinessWeek article on the Healthcare.gov. It’s a fascinating read, as it demonstrates that massive problems that plagued the project. In short, it was an unmitigated disaster. From the piece:

Put charitably, the rollout of healthcare.gov has been a mess. Millward Brown Digital, a consulting firm, reports that a mere 1 percent of the 3.7 million people who tried to register on the federal exchange in the first week actually managed to enroll. Even if the problems are fixed, the debacle makes clear that it’s time for the government to change the way it ships code—namely, by embracing the approach to software development that has revolutionized the technology industry.

You could write a book about the failure about a project so large, expensive (nearly $400 million, and important. Even as of this writing, site performance is terrible:

Understanding Incentives

I certainly don’t have any inside information about how the project was (mis)managed. I can’t imagine, however, that incentives were properly aligned. With more than 50 different tech vendors involved, it’s highly probable that most if not all parties behaved in their rational, economic self-interest. Think Freakonomics.

I am reminded of an ERP project on which I worked about five years ago. The CIO routinely ignored the advice of consultants that the system was nowhere near ready to go live. I found out near the end of my contentious assignment that the entire executive team was receiving massive bonuses based upon going live at the end of the year. This no doubt colored the CIO’s perception of show-stopping issues.

Think about it. When a $100,000 bonus is on the line, how can you not minimize the impact employee and vendor data issues? More to the point, how can one truly be objective when that type of carrot is at stake?

Simon Says

I like to think that I have my own moral compass and that, if given the chance, I put the needs of the many above the needs of the few, to paraphrase Aristotle. Silly is the organization, however, that ignores the impact of financial incentives on IT projects.

Structure your compensation based upon long-term organizational goals, not short-term ones. While no guarantee, you’ll increase the chances of successful IT projects.

Feedback

What say you?

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Category: Information Governance, Information Management
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by: Bsomich
16  Nov  2013

Weekly IM Update.

Missed what happened in the MIKE2.0 community this week? Here’s a great recap:
 
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MIKE2.0 Wiki Topic Index

We’ve recently added a new topic index to make searching our wiki more user-friendly. This week we’re featuring the Overview and Key Concepts Section, which includes:

Concept Papers (2)
Implementation Guide (10)
Introduction to MIKE2.0 (20)
MIKE2 Activities (68)
Continous Improvement (6)
Strategic Mobilisation (1)
Information Development Phases (6)
Overview and Key Concepts (6)
Concept Papers (2)
Information Development Concepts (19)
Application Development (4)
Information Strategy, Architecture and Governance
Enterprise Information Assessment (3)
Enterprise Information Integration (1)
Enterprise Information Management Strategy (1)
IT Transformation (8)
Model Driven Architecture (1)
Networked Information Governance (3)
Services Oriented Architecture (14)
Regulatory Reporting (2)
Requirements Gathering (17)
Software Delivery Lifecycle (12)
Testing (9)
Infrastructure Development (16)
Introduction to MIKE2.0 (20)

We hope you’ll browse through when you have a moment! For more information on MIKE2.0 or how to get involved with the online MIKE2.0 community, please contact us.

Sincerely,

MIKE2.0 Community  

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This Week’s Blogs for Thought:

Semantic Business Vocabularies and Rules

For many in the traditional applications development community, “semantics” sounds like a perfect candidate for a buzzword tossed at management in an effort to pry fresh funding for what may appear to be academic projects with not much discernible practical payback. Indeed when challenged for examples of “semantic applications” often one hears stumbling litanies about “Linked Open Data”, ubiquitous “URLs” and “statement triples”. Traditional database folks might then retort where’s the beef?

Read more.

We is Smaller Than the Sum of its Me Parts

In Why Does E=mc2? (And Why Should We Care?), Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw explained “the energy released in chemical reactions has been the primary source of power for our civilization since prehistoric times.  The amount of energy that can be liberated for a given amount of coal, oil, or hydrogen is at the most fundamental level determined by the strength of the electromagnetic force, since it’s this force that determines the strength of the bonds between atoms and molecules that are broken and reformed in chemical reactions.  However, there’s another force of nature that offers the potential to deliver vastly more energy for a given amount of fuel, simply because it’s much stronger.”

Read more.

VanRoekel is Obama’s CIO

I recently had the opportunity to hear Steven VanRoekel, the second person who’s ever occupied a position I am glad to hear about: Federal Chief Information Officer of the United States. His talk was about federal information technology and initiatives he’s now implementing for the White House Office of Management and Budget. Prior to OMB, VanRoekel’s career ran from Microsoft (speechwriter for Bill Gates) through the Federal Communications Commission. During his tenure at the FCC, VanRoekel has been credited with modernizing aging IT infrastructures, using open-source based, cloud powered platforms for both web and VOIP applications; plus launching a Twitter account (with more than 400,000 followers!); plus the first federal “developer” website, crowd-sourcing data for projects like the National Broadband Map; plus the first to accept public comment via social media.

Read more.

Category: Information Development
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by: John McClure
14  Nov  2013

VanRoekel is Obama’s CIO

I recently had the opportunity to hear Steven VanRoekel, the second person who’s ever occupied a position I am glad to hear about: Federal Chief Information Officer of the United States. His talk was about federal information technology and initiatives he’s now implementing for the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Prior to OMB, VanRoekel’s career ran from Microsoft (speechwriter for Bill Gates) through the Federal Communications Commission. During his tenure at the FCC, VanRoekel has been credited with modernizing aging IT infrastructures, using open-source based, cloud powered platforms for both web and VOIP applications; plus launching a Twitter account (with more than 400,000 followers!); plus the first federal “developer” website, crowd-sourcing data for projects like the National Broadband Map; plus the first to accept public comment via social media.

Whew! This fellow surely walks the talk!

He spoke for 30 minutes (you can see the video here) about topics that included President Obama’s open data policy, digital government strategy and the upcoming Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.

Here’s a few highlights.

VanRoekel has typical CIO responsibilities: planning & managing about US$ 80B civilian systems’ budget and its attendant workforce; while meeting responsibilities for governance of what seems an infinite trove of public and classified information, all increasingly exposed as cybersecurity targets. No small job at all, so his views must be experienced and mature.

Open data. VanRoekel voices a deep committment to nurturing both public open-source and private development of new information-based applications which benefit communities and individuals in their daily lives (of course, he’s referring to the semantic web). He’d anticipates many opportunities for data collection and data sharing, even by corporate entities. (However judging by the paucity of details about initiatives in this regard it’s not clear what priority this issue gets in this CIO’s time. This is a pity because surely EPA planners, and maybe common sense, indicate immediate benefits from local-level 2-1-1 semantic triple-stores.)

Private data. VanRoekel has apparently made recent Policy Directives onward applicable which require special reporting regarding protection of private individual and corporate data both during transmission and during storage. He cites that the government tracks web requests only at the regional level, so presumably he’s saying not by IP address.

Service quality. VanRoekel sounds a note about the future, suggesting even something sounding like government-sponsored Google Ads are on the way. He also touted a “Presidential Innovation Fellows” initiative as the latest avenue for coalescing ideas into working prototypes. In this regard he mentions Project MyUSA (My.USA.gov) as a site that “re-imagines the government interface”, offering APIs, personal toolbars, and offering highly useful doorways to governments treasure chest.

Cloud computing. VanRoekel claims to be a principal engineer of the federal governments computing infrastructure, and is an exceptional supporter of cloud computing economies in a federal budgeting context. In response to the impact of Snowden revelations he sees the current disruption in the reputations of American cloud service providers in the global market, is indicative of the need for nations to coordinate cross=boundary cloud operations and other regulatory matters (no doubt such as tarriffs).

A very worthwhile talk.

Category: Information Development
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by: Ocdqblog
13  Nov  2013

We is Smaller than the Sum of its Me Parts

In Why Does E=mc2? (And Why Should We Care?), Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw explained “the energy released in chemical reactions has been the primary source of power for our civilization since prehistoric times.  The amount of energy that can be liberated for a given amount of coal, oil, or hydrogen is at the most fundamental level determined by the strength of the electromagnetic force, since it’s this force that determines the strength of the bonds between atoms and molecules that are broken and reformed in chemical reactions.  However, there’s another force of nature that offers the potential to deliver vastly more energy for a given amount of fuel, simply because it’s much stronger.”

That other force of nature is nuclear fusion, which refers to any process that releases energy as a result of fusing together two or more nuclei.  “Deep inside the atom lies the nucleus—a bunch of protons and neutrons stuck together by the glue of the strong nuclear force.  Being glued together, it takes effort to pull a nucleus apart and its mass is therefore smaller, not bigger, than the sum of the mass of its individual proton and neutron parts.  In contrast to the energy released in a chemical reaction, which is a result of electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force generates a huge binding energy.  The energy released in a nuclear reaction is typically a million times the energy released in a chemical reaction.”

We often ignore the psychology of collaboration when we say that a collaborative team, working on initiatives such as information governance, is bigger than the sum of its individual contributors.

“The reason that fusion doesn’t happen all the time in our everyday experience,” Cox and Forshaw explained, “is that, because the strong force operates only over short distances, it only kicks in when the constituents are very close together.  But it is not easy to push protons together to that distance because of their electromagnetic repulsion.”

Quite often the reason successful collaboration doesn’t happen is that the algebra of collaboration also requires the collaborators subtract something from the equation—their egos, which generate a strong ego-magnetic repulsion making it far from easy to bind the collaborative team together.

Cox and Forshaw explained it’s because of the equivalence of mass and energy that a loss of mass manifests itself as energy.  If we jettison the mass of our egos when forming the bonds of collaboration, then we is smaller than the sum of its me parts, and that loss of me-mass will manifest itself as the we-energy we need to bind our collaborative teams together.

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Category: Information Governance
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by: John McClure
11  Nov  2013

Semantic Business Vocabularies and Rules

For many in the traditional applications development community, “semantics” sounds like a perfect candidate for a buzzword tossed at management in an effort to pry fresh funding for what may appear to be academic projects with not much discernible practical payback. Indeed when challenged for examples of “semantic applications” often one hears stumbling litanies about “Linked Open Data”, ubiquitous “URLs” and “statement triples”. Traditional database folks might then retort where’s the beef? because URLs in web applications are certainly just as ubiquitous, are stored in database columns which are named just as “semantic properties” are; are in rows with foreign keys as construable as “subjects” in a standard semantic statement; and that’s still not to mention the many, many other SQL tools in which enterprises have heavily, heavily invested over many, many years! So…

It’s a good question – where IS the beef?

The Object Management Group (OMG), a highly respected standards organization with outsized impacts on many enterprises, has recently released a revision of its Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Rules (SBVR) that provides one clear answer to this important question.

Before we go there, let’s stipulate that for relatively straight-forward (but nonetheless closed world) applications, it’s probably not worth the time nor expense to ‘semanticize’ the application and its associated database. These are applications that have few database tables; that change at a low rate; that have fairly simple forms-based user interfaces, if any; and that are often connected through transaction queues with an enterprise’s complex of applications. For these, fine, exclude them from projects migrating an enterprise to a semantic-processing orientation.

Another genre of applications are those said ‘mission critical’. These applications are characterized by a large number of database tables and consequently a large number of columns and datatypes the application needs to juggle. These applications have moderate to high rates of change to accommodate functional requirements due to shifting (and new additions to) of dynamic enterprises — not so much mission creep as it is the normal response to the tempo of the competitive environments in which enterprises exist.

The fact is that the physical schema for a triples-based (or quad-based) semantic database does not change; the physical schema is static. Rather, it’s the ontology, the logical database schema, that changes to meet new requirements of the enterprise. This is an important outcome of a re-engineered applications development process: this eliminates often costly tasks associated with designing, configuring and deploying physical schema.

Traditionalists might view this shift as mere cleverness, one equally accomplished by tools which transform logical database designs into physical database schema. Personally I don’t have the background to debate the effectiveness of these tools. However, let’s take a larger view, one suggested by the OMG specification for Business Vocabularies and Rules.

Business Policies – where it begins, and will end

Classically business management establishes policies which are sent to an Information Technology department for incorporation to new and existing applications. It is then the job of systems analysts to stare at these goats and translate them into coding specifications for development and testing. Agile and other methodologies help speed this process internally to the IT department, however until the fundamental dynamic between management and IT changes, this cycle remains slow, costly and mistake-prone.

Now this is where OMG’s SBVR applies: it is an ontology for capturing rules such as “If A, then thou shalt not do X when Y or Z applies; otherwise thou shalt do B and C” into a machine-processable form (that is, into semantic statements). Initially suitably trained system analysts draft these statements as well as pertinent queries which are to be performed by applications at the proper moment. However at some point tools will appear that permit management themselves to draft and test the impact of new and changed policies against live databases.

This is real business process re-engineering at its brightest. Policy implementation and operational costs are affected as the same language (a somewhat ‘structured English’) is used to state what should and must be as that used to state what is. Without that common language, enterprises can only rely on the skills of systems analysts to adequately communicate business, and regulatory, requirements to others.

Capturing & weaving unstructured lexical information into enterprise applications, has never been possible with traditional databases. This is why ‘semantics’ is such a big deal.

Cheers!

Category: Enterprise Content Management, Information Development, Information Management, Information Strategy, Information Value, Master Data Management, Semantic Web
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by: Bsomich
09  Nov  2013

Weekly IM Update.

Missed what happened in the MIKE2.0 community this week? Here’s a great recap:

 

 
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How to Become an Information Centric Business

The digital age has created an abundance of information, but its sheer volume and complexity threatens to render it useless unless it is properly harnessed. Information-centric organisations can achieve that by linking up their business strategy, operating model and technology with an underlying information strategy and competency.
Information Development using MIKE2.0” is an effective approach to IM strategy development and transformation. MIKE2.0 was created by industry practitioners from hundreds of successful projects in information governance, business intelligence, data management and enterprise content management. We cover key concepts of information governance, delivery methodology, the SAFE reference architecture and example tools like IM QuickScan to assess an organisation’s information maturity. Several case studies are also presented which illustrate successful enterprise information management strategies.

Get Involved

We’ll be discussing our new book, “Information Development using MIKE2.0” at a number of industry events. It has also been published in paperback (available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble) as well as all major e-book publishing platforms if you would like a copy. For more information on MIKE2.0 or how to get involved with the online MIKE2.0 community, please contact us.

Sincerely,

MIKE2.0 Community  

Contribute to MIKE:

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Did You Know? All content on MIKE2.0 and any contributions you make are published under the Creative Commons license. This allows you free re-use of our content as long as you add a brief reference back to us.

 

This Week’s Blogs for Thought:

Wikidata Shows the Way

Studies consistently rank DBpedia as a crucial repository in the semantic web; its data is extracted from Wikipedia and then structured according to DBpedia’s own ontology. Available under Creative Commons and GNU licenses, the repository can be queried directly on the DBpedia site and it can be downloaded by the public for use within other semantic tool environments. This is a truly AMAZING resource! The English version of the DBpedia knowledge base for instance now has over two billion ‘triples’ to describe 4,000,000+ topics — 20% are persons, 16% places, 5% organizations including 95,000 companies and educational institutions, plus creative works, species, diseases, and so on — with equally impressive statistics concerning their knowledge bases in over one hundred other languages. And the DBpedia Ontology itself has over 3,000,000 classes properties and instances. What a breath-taking undertaking in the public sphere!

Read more.

Onions in India and the Speed of Data

Even in “advanced” societies, the process of collecting and verifying economic data has historically been pretty challenging. Whether its GDP growth, unemployment rates, housing prices, or inflation, there’s typically been a considerable lag between the actual trend and the presentation of that trend’s data. For instance, it’s helpful to know that inflation was 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. But it’s less helpful when that information is made public in the second quarter of 2013.

What if that lag could be significantly reduced?

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Automation and the Danger of Lost Knowledge

In my previous post I pondered the quality of machine-generated data, cautioning that even though it overcomes some of the inherent errors of human-generated data, it’s not immune to data quality issues.  Nicholas Carr, in his recent article All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines, pondered the quality of our increasingly frequent decision to put so many things into the hands of our automatons.

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Category: Information Development
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by: John McClure
07  Nov  2013

Wikidata shows the way

Studies consistently rank DBpedia as a crucial repository in the semantic web; its data is extracted from Wikipedia and then structured according to DBpedia’s own ontology. Available under Creative Commons and GNU licenses, the repository can be queried directly on the DBpedia site and it can be downloaded by the public for use within other semantic tool environments.

This is a truly AMAZING resource! The English version of the DBpedia knowledge base for instance now has over two billion ‘triples’ to describe 4,000,000+ topics — 20% are persons, 16% places, 5% organizations including 95,000 companies and educational institutions, plus creative works, species, diseases, and so on — with equally impressive statistics concerning their knowledge bases in over one hundred other languages. And the DBpedia Ontology itself has over 3,000,000 classes properties and instances. What a breath-taking undertaking in the public sphere!

Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to hear about DBpedia’s latest projects for their repository, here are the slides. DBpedia is now surely moving towards adoption of an important tool — Wikidata — in order to aggregate DBpedia’s 120 language-specific databases, into one single, multi-lingual repository.

Wikidata‘s own project requirements are interesting to the MIKE2 community as they parallel significant challenges common to most enterprises in areas of data provenance and data governance. Perhaps in response to various public criticisms about the contents of Wikipedia, Wikidata repositories support source citations for every “fact” the repository contains.

The Wikidata perspective is that it is a repository of “claims” as distinguished from “facts”. Say for example that an estimate of a country’s Gross National Product is recorded. This estimate is a claim will often change over time, and will often be confronted by counter-claims from different sources. What Wikidata does is to provide a data model that keeps track of all claimed values asserted about something, with the expectation this kind of detailed information will lead to mechanisms directly relevant to the level of “trust” that may be confidently associated with any particular ‘statement of fact’.

The importance of source citations is not restricted to the credibility of Wikipedia itself and its derivative repositories; rather this is a universal requirement common to all enterprises whether they be semantics-oriented or not. A simple proposition born of science — to distinguish one’s original creative and derived works from those learned from others — is now codified and freighted with intellectual property laws (copyrights, patents), subjects of complex international trade treaties.

Equally faced by most enterprises is a workforce located around the globe, each with varying strengths in the English language. By using a semantic repository deeply respectful of multilingual requirements — such as Wikidata is — enterprises can deploy ontologies and applications that improve worker productivity across-the-board, regardless of language.
Wikidata is a project funded by Wikipedia-Germany. Enterprises might consider helping to fund open-source projects of this nature, as these are most certainly investments whose value cannot be over-estimated.
Visit here for more Semantic MediaWiki conferences and slides. Ciao!

Category: Information Development, Information Governance, Information Management, Information Strategy, Information Value, Open Source, Semantic Web
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