The Semantic Web: Out of School and Into the Business World

By:  Kim Chandler McDonald

The marketplace is becoming a part of the ‘flat world.’ Companies across the world,
large and small, are now equal competitors on the commercial playing field. Many
former competitive advantages are now gone, but new ones have since appeared, in
the form of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web.
While the cloud provides a ubiquitous storage and access environment, it has two
achilles heels, the first being security. The second, that it only offers true savings,
value and efficiency, if information and processes are adapted and retooled to enable
all consumers, and providers of the data, to access and interact with the system in a
secure manner, while adhering to privacy laws and regulations. That's where the
Semantic Web solution steps in.
What the business world needs are solutions which provide the ability to manage and
grow business in an easy and economical way, while freeing companies from the
dictatorship of proprietary systems and vendors. It is essential that existing and new
applications work, and talk together to free up resources, both of manpower and
budgets. Users of Semantic Web solutions are ahead of the curve and are able to
manage their systems, rather than their systems managing them.
The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data, processes and a
company's knowledge to be shared and reused across applications, enterprise(s) and
community boundaries. It is an extension of the current Web that allows companies to
find, share and combine information more easily, relying on machine-readable
information. Though the Semantic Web has been used in academia for years, it is now
a simple, secure and effective business reality.
A Semantic Web solution is the ideal glue which enables disparate systems to
effectively communicate effectively, while still allowing ownership and control by
the various parties. This provides a ubiquitous method of interacting with systems
and processes that saves money by the creation of an effective ecosystem.
Many companies find themselves in the critical position of realizing that they require
an 'all in one' technology to manage their knowledge-base. This means putting that
knowledge in context, with all related topics and examples connected to each other in
a clear context. This is where the Semantic Web comes in. No longer is the Semantic
Web secreted in the folds of academia; now it can solve real, business to business
problems.
When used for B2B, it enables and enhances many things, such as:
- Product collaboration (combining systems and components into a unified product or
service offered to the consumer);
- Self service and self help (allowing the customer/employee/supplier to interact with
semantic resources, thus offering a greater level of service to the consumer and a
reduction of service costs;
- Knowledge base construction and evolution (technical support and/or supplier
companies can construct a knowledge base empowering customers and lowering the
cost of support, while perceptually improving customer service).
For a Semantic Web B2B system to be deemed successful it must be:
- easy to use;
- economical;
- extremely secure;
- industry strength,
- non-propriatory (traditional approaches are, effectively, a dictatorship, in
which the lowest common denominator is rigidly enforced. This impacts the
level of customer service possible and impairs individual entities from having
their information and process needs met).
It is only when those parameters are met that a business can feel safe in implementing
and taking advantage of a system. And there are many advantages, such as:
- being able to create and maintain relationships between your information,
systems, and departments;
- safely link to other web resources;
- add semantic meaning to your information;
- manage access as to 'who can see what' and 'who can do what';
- automatically maintain a user history enabling analytical reports to be created.
A B2B Semantic Web service enables business to create processes around units of
information/resources. This allows humans and computer programs to interact with
resources in a step-by-step manner and better serve customers in the future through
interaction of technology, product collaboration and process transparency
Added to that list of attributes, the Semantic Web can be used to structure
information resources in such a way that a company's knowledge is represented and
evolves in a way that allows the web to be a key knowledge base. This base can be
shared with people within and/or without in a highly controlled and secure fashion.
The Semantic Web can integrate B2B e-commerce and supply chain integration so
that people, products and services are able to interact fluidly enabling business to be
conducted in a highly personalized, 'real time' manner in the language and currency
of their choice.
The ground breaking technological innovation of FlatWorld has made all of the
above possible, and with that, academic dreams have become business realities. The
Semantic Web has changed the game, and in doing so, with FlatWorld, delivers
advantages to those who adopt it in this increasingly competitive and cost focussed
world.
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The Author
Kim Chandler McDonald is Executive Vice President, Director of Communications
and Flat World Navigator for KimmiC, a company committed to innovation and
redefining the technological landscape.  Kim has extensive, international  experience
in media, communications and networking.
KimmiC's latest product, FlatWorld is a Semantic Web business solutions; it is an IT/
Web evolution which speaks semantically and allows you to securely leverage
existing knowledge assets and build new knowledge assets.
Copyright 2010  Kim Chandler McDonald  All Rights Reserved. 
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