Setting the Terms of the IT Discussion

Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole spoke with Mahesh Kumar, vice president of strategy, BDNA.

Few people would argue against the benefits of a streamlined, optimized IT infrastructure. However, the process is not so simple, and one of the most fundamental stumbling blocks that the industry as a whole experiences is the wide diversity of terms and definitions that have arisen for common IT systems and architectural components. BDNA is looking to standardize many of these terms with the Technopedia, which currently contains more than 450,000 entries. As the company’s Mahesh Kumar explains, a common nomenclature will not only make IT more efficient, but more valuable.

Cole: Even as data environments are becoming more distributed, there is a movement to simplify overall architectures to make them more manageable. However, many of the terms surrounding data infrastructure and operations are not clearly defined. What role will a common IT nomenclature play in improving the data environment?

Kumar: An October 2012 survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford University Survey shows that 65 percent of business and IT executives consider information integration as their number one priority and have active integration projects. A common IT nomenclature provides three key benefits that are critical to information or data integration.

First, a common IT nomenclature ensures that the identity of objects or items within IT is consistently understood across all repositories. Locking in on the identity makes it possible to accurately connect data and analyze information across repositories in order to deliver superior insights.

Second, a common IT nomenclature ensures that IT is able to filter relevant data from irrelevant data, thus simplifying the analysis of information and improving the accuracy of analysis.

Third, a common IT nomenclature allows enterprises to enrich data with the right context. A common nomenclature of IT allows precise application of the right market context, such as cost, support or ownership, to the right object or item within IT.

Cole: BDNA's Technopedia currently defines more than 450,000 terms. What else needs to be done?

Kumar: BDNA will continue expanding Technopedia in two dimensions. First, BDNA will expand the scope of Technopedia to include items commonly used in other vertical industries and even "The Internet of Things." Second, we will continue to add to the scope and richness of the contextual data that we provide about these items.

A domain-specific application of the Internet of Things is software-defined networks (SDNs). SDNs are valuable when the Internet of Things accesses networks, as this vastly increases the number of addressable identities connected to the internet and corporate networks. Knowing what the addressable identities are – through Technopedia – and applying the appropriate policies to those entities will vastly enhance the distributed global software abilities of SDNs.

Pricing information is an example of richer contextual data. Knowing the market prices on various products enables enterprises to make the right tradeoffs that lead to better decisions both in planning and day-to-day operations of enterprise IT.

Cole: What sort of response have you had from the enterprise community? I would imagine that there are entrenched interests who prefer to define terms and concepts to suit their own purposes, rather than the industry as a whole.

Kumar: We have experienced enthusiastic adoption of Technopedia by enterprise customers. One of the biggest challenges enterprises face is different technology vendors pushing their own terms, concepts and taxonomy to further their own strategic interests.  BDNA’s Technopedia is vendor-agnostic, thereby giving enterprises a conflict-free means to align their IT information and drive superior business outcomes. 

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