Some weeks ago I decided to take part at SAP Virtual Community Day as presenter and luckily I was chosen to present. My talk was about Semantic Web technologies .
What are they good for? IT systems consists of data, functions and knowledge. The SAP Business Suite is an highly integrated platform that contains data and functions – and it is the task of a Business Process Expert to put knowledge into to system to make it “intelligent”.
Therefore we have various standards and techniques: open standards to code query knowledge. Semantic Web technologies offer new possibilities to deal with knowledge – think of tagging for example.
In my talk I introduced another approach: We expose information with the SAP system using Semantic Web standards. I show how to use ontologies to describe architecture of enterprise applications including software and system landscapes. Ontologies provide a definition of concepts like applications, software packages and components. You can “feed” them by importing generated data from ABAP backend systems exposed using a semantic web standard called RDF. Furthermore you can define your own concepts on top of it and use tools from artificial intelligence to do queries:
- What are the dependencies in an application when doing changes?
- Are there hidden dependencies?
- Are there unwanted dependencies – i.e. violations of architectural guidelines?
Thinking about Virtual Community Day
It was the first time ever I presented in a webinar, and it was a challenge: When you’re are doing a presentation in real life you’ll get feedback from the audience but in a webinar you seem to talk to yourself. This can be confusing. The second lesson was that Acrobat Connect didn’t work like expected when I used shared documents and desktop windows together like I knew it from my company’s Acrobat Connect installation.
Nevertheless the presentation was fun and I learned a lot: There are other people who are working on similar approaches. Others asked question on application of general impact analysis of software changes as well as applying this approach to business data. These are interesting questions I’ll think about.
When comparing previous community days with their virtual counterpart following comes to my mind:
- There is one thing in common: When you share information with peers you will always get more than you give, People will ask you challenging questions and give you inspiration.
- You have the chance to attend presentations and discussions without travelling to various countries.