Business Ontology

Harmonizing Babel: Business Ontology Standards in Focus

Paul McInnis, Head of Enterprise Data Management, Data Management


Business Ontology Standards in FocusThe Wall Street Journal, in a headline six years ago, asked: “Are dictionaries becoming obsolete?” The article, to the chagrin of some traditionalists, implied that if the dictionary wasn’t yet obsolete, than the end would be approaching soon. Yet, in an era when even Scrabble saw fit to adulterate its official dictionary it with millennial slang — be it “lolz,” “lotsa,” or “ridic” — hope remains for the traditionalists, as best practices in data management are driving the adoption of thorough and comprehensive business glossaries. At this point, advocacy may be isolated to data scientists and CIOs, but make no mistake, appreciation and the demand for precision around ontology standards is growing as this uniformity, or lack thereof, is among the larger “gating” items for large-scale enterprise data management projects.

For the uninitiated, a business glossary is the definitive reference guide that establishes and cements a standard for business terms and relationships across an enterprise. In an era of ever-sprawling financial institutions, in which organizations stretch across regions, asset classes and cultures, a definitive business glossary is critical to engender a common understanding around what each term means for all employees and business partners, and in all cases.

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