How CIOs Can Prepare For The Arrival Of Semantic Databases

CIOs need to prepare for a whole new way of looking at their data…
CIOs need to prepare for a whole new way of looking at their data…
Image Credit

By now I hope that we’re all aware that Big Data has arrived in everyone’s IT department. As CIOs struggle to determine how best store this tsunami of data, they are facing an even bigger question that begs to be answered: how are they going to manage the data in a way that will allow them to extract the knowledge that the rest of the company is asking them for in a way that will allow them to show the importance of information technology?

What Is A Semantic Database?

When you have the CIO job and you are faced with trying to manage a lot of data, you’ll almost always turn to a database. However, the problem with the enormous amounts of data that is streaming into IT departments these days is that it does not fit neatly into traditional databases. Instead, the data is unstructured and a great deal of it is coming from social media sources.

What this means is that a new type of database is called for. A semantic database. Semantic databases give CIOs the ability to analyze relationships between different data sets. A semantic database allows an IT department to create links from one location in the data to another location. A semantic database also associates meaning with each piece of data and this allows better evaluation and analysis.

Tools like semantic databases are growing in importance as CIOs realize that the company’s most important asset is the data that it owns and which the IT department has been asked to act as a custodian for. The ultimate goal of using this new type of database is to allow the IT department to aggregate company data from a variety of different sources and then correlate it in order to allow the company to make better business decisions.

How Will CIOs Use Semantic Databases?

The ability to use semantic databases to answer key questions is what CIOs are looking for. These tools are especially good at letting the company know what its total exposure to a given customer or to a particular geographical area is. The true power of the semantic database comes from the fact that you can quickly describe the sources of the data to it and once that’s done you don’t have to keep writing separate programs to extract data from a new data source.

Semantic databases may be new to your firm, but they have been around for a while. They have already been implemented in the healthcare and academia fields. The tools that are needed to implement semantic databases easily are only now starting to become available.

It is important for CIOs to realize that a semantic database is not the same as a traditional RDBMS. One of the key differences is that a semantic database will take up more storage than a traditional database does. Additionally, you can implement semantic databases incrementally. This means that it is possible to start out your implementation with two datasets that have been described semantically. Later on you can easily add additional datasets to this semantic database.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

The era of big data is upon us. Those of us who are in the CIO position are currently struggling to create solutions that will allow us to store the massive amounts of data that are flooding into our IT department. At the same time, we will be expected to create solutions that will allow this data to be managed and used to answer key business questions.

One solution that has become available to CIOs is the arrival of semantic databases. These new types of databases allow relationships between similar types of data to be established between different formats of stored data. These tools are new and will require some time in order for the IT department to become familiar with them.

There is no resisting the changes that are sweeping through companies – big data is here to stay. However, with the arrival of semantic databases CIOs finally have the tools that they are going to need in order to provide the rest of the company with the answers that they are asking for. Go out and crunch some data!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think semantic databases will replace the databases that the IT department uses today?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the most important jobs that CIOs do which is an even bigger deal these days given the importance of information technology, is to interview candidates who would like to join their IT department. As important as this job is, very few of us have ever been trained on how to properly conduct an interview. Is it possible that you are doing a poor job of interviewing and have been turning away the good candidates and hiring the bad ones?