Our people weigh in on the issues of the day.
Blue Slate's people think a lot about the challenges facing their industries today. In the process, they often come up with completely unexpected slants on current issues, or new ways of thinking about business problems. Bluespeak is where they share those thoughts. Feel free to read and reflect.
[Any views or opinion represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blogger and do not represent those of Blue Slate Solutions.]
When depicting the Cognitive Corporation™ as a graphic, the use of semantic technology is not highlighted. Semantic technology serves two key roles in the Cognitive Corporation™ – data storage (part of Know) and data integration, which connects all of the concepts. I’ll explore the integration role since it is a vital part of supporting a learning organization.
In my last post I talked about the fact that integration
between components has to be based on the meaning of the data, not simply
passing compatible data types between systems.
Semantic technology supports this need through its design. What key capabilities does semantic
technology offer in support of integration?
Here I’ll highlight a few.
I am excited to share the news that Blue Slate Solutions has kicked off a formal innovation program, creating a lab environment which will leverage the Cognitive Corporation™ framework and apply it to a suite of processes, tools and techniques. The lab will use a broad set of enterprise technologies, applying the learning organization concepts implicit in the Cognitive Corporation’s™ feedback loop.
I’ve blogged a couple of times (see references at the end of this blog entry) about the Cognitive Corporation™. The depiction has changed slightly but the fundamentals of the framework are unchanged.
The focus is to create a learning enterprise, where the learning is built into the system integrations and interactions. Enterprises have been investing in these individual components for several years; however they have not truly been integrating them in a way to promote learning.
By “integrating” I mean allowing the system to understand the meaning of the data being passed between them. Creating a screen in a workflow (BPM) system that presents data from a database to a user is not “integration” in my opinion. It is simply passing data around. This prevents the enterprise ecosystem (all the components) from working together and collectively learning.
I liken such connections to my taking a hand-written note in a foreign language, which I don’t understand, and typing the text into an email for someone who does understand the original language. Sure, the recipient can read it, but I, representing the workflow tool passing the information from database (note) to screen (email) in this case, have no idea what the data means and cannot possibly participate in learning from it. Integration requires understanding. Understanding requires defined and agreed-upon semantics.
This is just one of the Cognitive Corporation™ concepts that we will be exploring in the lab environment. We will also be looking at the value of these technologies within different horizontal and vertical domains. Given our expertise in healthcare, finance and insurance, our team is well positioned to use the lab to explore the use of learning BPM in many contexts.[Read More] The Cognitive Corporation™ – Effective BPM Requires Data Analytics
The Cognitive Corporation™ is a framework introduced in an earlier posting. The framework is meant to outline a set of general capabilities that work together in order to support a growing and thinking organization. For this post I will drill into one of the least mature of those capabilities in terms of enterprise solution adoption – Learn.
Business rules, decision engines, BPM, complex event processing (CEP), these all invoke images of computers making speedy decisions to the benefit of our businesses. The infrastructure, technologies and software that provide these solutions (SOA, XML schemas, rule engines, workflow engines, etc.) support the decision automation process. However, they don’t know what decisions to make.
The BPM-related components we acquire provide the how of decision making (send an email, route a claim, suggest an offer). Learning, supported by data analytics, provides a powerful path to the what and why of automated decisions (send this email to that person because they are at risk of defecting, route this claim to that underwriter because it looks suspicious, suggest this product to that customer because they appear to be buying these types of items).
I’ll start by outlining the high level journey from data to rules and the cyclic nature of that journey. Data leads to rules, rules beget responses, responses manifest as more data, new data leads to new rules, and so on. Therefore, the journey does not end with the definition of a set of processes and rules. This link between updated data and the determination of new processes and rules is the essence of any learning process, providing a key function for the cognitive corporation.[Read More] The Cognitive Corporation™ – An Introduction
Given my role as an enterprise architect, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different business leaders, each focused on leveraging IT to drive improved efficiencies, lower costs, increase quality, and broaden market share throughout their businesses. The improvements might involve any subset of data, processes, business rules, infrastructure, software, hardware, etc. A common thread is that each project seeks to make the corporation smarter through the use of information technology.
As I’ve placed these separate projects into a common context of my own, I’ve concluded that the long term goal of leveraging information technology must be for it to support cognitive processes. I don’t mean that the computers will think for us, rather that IT solutions must work together to allow a business to learn, corporately.
The individual tools that we utilize each play a part. However, we tend to utilize them in a manner that focuses on isolated and directed operation rather than incorporating them into an overall learning loop. In other words, we install tools that we direct without asking them to help us find better directions to give.
Let me start with a definition: similar to thinking beings, a cognitive corporation™ leverages a feedback loop of information and experiences to inform future processes and rules. Fundamentally, learning is a process and it involves taking known facts and experiences and combining them to create new hypothesis which are tested in order to derive new facts, processes and rules. Unfortunately, we don’t often leverage our enterprise applications in this way.[Read More]