Posted on: August 30, 2016, by: Ann Kelly
Source: Gartner 2016
Recently one of our Twitter followers asked if we agreed with the way Gartner has positioned taxonomy and ontology management on the 2016 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle. The technology profile (or “dot” as they are fondly called) is halfway between the Peak of Inflated Expectations and the Trough of Disillusionment with an estimated maturity date of more than 10 years.
Before we answer the question, there are a couple of things that are probably worth mentioning:
We do agree with Gartner that Taxonomy and Ontology Management, by itself, is not a high impact technology. When you build an ontology, you are in essence constructing a model of a problem domain. Models are great in clarifying your thinking around a particular topic, but beyond that, they have very little intrinsic value. They’re just a picture. They don’t do anything. Unless the model is put to work in some way that creates a positive business impact on the enterprise, it’s just a model. We also believe, based on our experience with clients, that getting out of the relational, object/attribute mindset when modeling is a difficult thing to do. Semantic modeling is about concepts and relationships – not the way most organizations are conditioned to think. So yes, Taxonomy and Ontology Management is not high impact and the time to maturity is going to be quite long unless you have expert help to teach you how to model semantically instead of relationally.
We also disagree with Gartner, because we think they are missing something. We were very surprised to find a dot for Taxonomy and Ontology Management, but no companion dot for the technologies that put the model to work. Smartlogic Semaphore is a model-driven, rules-based platform for the generation of metadata. That is, we build the model, use the model to derive the classification rules and then use sophisticated NLP techniques to analyze the information assets and generate metadata for them in the context of the model. Our clients are using Taxonomy and Ontology Management in conjunction with rules-based metadata generation to achieve significant business outcomes every day.
So with respect to Taxonomy and Ontology Management, Gartner may be right. But they are only telling part of the story. Organizations SHOULD NOT ignore Taxonomy and Ontology Management, because when taken in conjunction with technologies that make the model useful, it can deliver real results today.
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