Linked Data & Business Intelligence – Is this a two sided coin?

I haven’t blogged much lately and there is good reason for that, firstly I’ve recently gone through a restructure and redundancy process, I still work for the council but have moved somewhere else as part of the redeployment process (more on this in a separate post).

However one of the things that remains the same is that I’m still lucky to get involved in very interesting projects and this creates many problems for me. 1) I try to create links between projects when none clearly exist, but when they do they make a lot of sense, 2) my mind is never really quiet for long periods to allow me to find inner peace and 3) there is so much to get involved in that I have to ensure that I stay focused on the now, whilst keeping an eye or two on the future.

I’m fortunate to be involved in some Linked Data work that going here, mainly thinking and planning first steps but it is really fascinating and I can see why Linked Data fans champion the need to do more – I really do see the value, but we need to actually provide it through real world application before some senior folk will really support it.

For those who don’t know what Linked Data is:

Linked Data describes a method of publishing structured data, so that it can be interlinked and become more useful. It builds upon standard Web technologies, such as HTTP and URIs – but rather than using them to serve web pages for human readers, it extends them to share information in a way that can be read automatically by computers. This enables data from different sources to be connected and queried
Via Wikipedia

We had a session today to learn more about Linked Data and the practical first steps we can take in order to start proving value not just internally but across some partnerships.

One of the others areas that I’ve been involved in but not so much on a practical level is looking at the Business Intelligence capability across the council.

For those who don’t know what business intelligence is:

Business intelligence technologies provide historical, current and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies are reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, data mining, process mining, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining and predictive analytics……..Often Business Intelligence applications use data gathered from a data warehouse. However, not all data warehouses are used for business intelligence, nor do all business intelligence applications require a data warehouse
via Wikipedia

Now one of the interesting aspects for me is that there are similarities in these two areas which I think I need to explore further as I learn more about each over the coming months etc.

On face value they seem to be two sides of the same coin – Linked Data looking primarily externally to create meaning and context, whilst business intelligence looks across internal systems and applications to create meaning and context.

I would think it is fair to say that we are in the very early stages of each of these projects and it will take time for us to get to grips with how we want to see both develop.

But I can’t help but think that we need to bring these two agendas together somehow without compromising each project – perhaps through shared learning, data modelling, data cleansing and approaches to master data management.

I could be wrong and I maybe over complicating two very complicated areas already….but surely the outputs of the internal business intelligence tools should form the basis of our published linked data for others to consume.

I guess time will tell :)

Filed under: Architecture, Linked Data Tagged: business intelligence, linked data

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