The broader objective of the ONTORULE project is to enable the right people to interact in their own way with the right part of their business application: that means different people with different tasks, requirements, and objectives and with different background, knowledge and languages, ranging from business executives over business analysts to IT developers, who all interact in different ways with different aspects of a business application, to use, control, maintain and/or evolve it.
We believe that this can be achieved by cleanly separating the domain ontology from the actual business rules, on the one hand; and the representation of the knowledge from its operationalisation in IT applications, on the other hand.
The vocabulary and terminology that is required to express the business rules, and the underlying conceptual structure, must be acquired from the natural language sources, including business policy documents; the rules must be authored by the owner of the business policies that they aim to implement, using that vocabulary; the data models for the IT applications must be designed by IT developers based on the application requirements.
Ontologies, business rules and data models are owned by different people in the organisation. The relevant people must be able to interact with each item and to manage and maintain each item separately, without having to know how or care about maintaining the others.
In the end, however, the rules must be implemented in the business application, and, therefore, the ontology must be mapped onto the application’s data model and the rules operationalised accordingly.
The objective of ONTORULE is to integrate all the required pieces of knowledge and technology to allow the acquisition of ontologies and rules from the most appropriate sources, including natural language documents; their separate management and maintenance; and their transparent operationalisation in IT applications. To achieve that objective, ONTORULE will deliver:
- An integrating framework, based on the OMG SBVR standard and NLP technology, to assist the user in the modelling and acquisition of ontologies vocabularies and business rules, and in their mapping onto IT data models;
- Integrated ownership and management systems to empower the business owner of rules and ontologies with usable management systems that hide the complexity and that manage transparently the dependencies between separately owned resources;
- Execution and inference engines that combine ontology and rule-based reasoning usefully and efficiently, after the business level resources have been operationalised in IT applications;
- End-to-end pilot applications to show the feasibility and added value of using ONTORULE technology, and to provide measures to the success of the project with respect to the previous three items.