by Charles Roe
In an effort to leverage the knowledge of several of the top minds in the Data Management industry, DATAVERSITY™ has been conducting a series of interviews on some of the most relevant topics in the field today. Recently, we interviewed TopQuadrant, the creators of a TopBraid™, a powerful semantic ecosystem that empowers people and businesses through viable connection, information, and knowledge.
TopQuadrant is a Silver Sponsor at the Enterprise Data World 2013 Conference in San Diego, CA from April 28-May 2, 2013.
The Sponsor Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Speaker Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.
The primary emphasis of the interview was to question TopQuadrant on their current work and history within the industry, with particular importance on the products and/or services being highlighted at the upcoming conference:
DATAVERSITY (DV): Please tell us a little about you and your company (e.g. brief history, industry focus, primary product line etc.)?
TopQuadrant (TQ): Since the release of our first product in 2006, TopQuadrant’s focus has been on empowering people by connecting information. TopQuadrant’s solutions enhance information access and search across all data sources, irrespective of their location, origin and structure. This is achieved by:
- removing ambiguity from business vocabularies and data
- aggregating, correlating and enriching information in real time
- harmonizing data exchanges between different systems
Our customers are Fortune 1000 corporations and government agencies. Although we have customers in all industry sectors, we are particularly strong in the Life Sciences, Media and Digital Publishing as well as Resources (Oil and Gas, Energy, etc.) sectors. We offer TopBraid Enterprise Vocabulary Net, TopBraid Insight and TopBraid Live solutions.
DV: What’s your company elevator pitch?
TQ: TopQuadrant’s standards-based solutions enable a semantic ecosystem among people, applications and data – lowering the cost of ownership and enabling intelligent, data-driven action. Our TopBraid™ platform connects data by accessing, linking and combining internal and external data sources – faster, better, broader and in a more future-proof and flexible way than conventional data integration products.
DV: What will you be highlighting or showcasing at EDW 2013? Are you planning any product releases or announcements this year at Enterprise Data World?
TQ: At EDW we will be previewing TopBraid Life Sciences Insight due to become generally available in July, 2013. TopBraid Insight is a Logical Data Warehouse that makes diverse databases appear as a single virtual data space. Industry specific versions are available. For example, TopBraid Life Sciences Insight focuses on decreasing the time and cost for clinical trials and drug discovery. Instead of creating an actual data warehouse, TopBraid Insight presents data from multiple datasets as if it were within a single data warehouse. Different virtual data warehouse models can be tailored to different users without duplication of data.
We will also be announcing 4.2 release of TopBraid Enterprise Vocabulary Net (EVN). TopBraid EVN improves access to information by providing a flexible, customizable web-based solution for development and governance of interconnected business vocabularies.
DV: What’s the unique selling proposition of your product or service versus your competitors? What do you do that nobody else does (or better than anyone else)?
TQ: In TopBraid Insight we use an approach that is similar to Map-Reduce to avoid the performance problems with distributed queries. Query performance is excellent as the Map-Reduce only fetches the data from sources that are required. Expensive cross-database joins are avoided. Provenance of individual statements is retained. Federation is not limited to RDBMS datasets, but includes other formats such as XML, spreadsheets, Linked Open Data and web services. Since data need not be replicated, there are no concurrency problems nor large data storage problems. It is simple to incrementally add new datasets without involvement from corporate IT. Unlike a data mart, the consolidated schema can be easily changed or updated to reflect new concepts without the need for additional ETL.
In TopBraid EVN we offer a unique, easy to use way of managing business vocabularies that preserves local differences where necessary, while making it possible to connect to and re-use corporate-wide (or even external) definitions. EVN is a collaborative environment with simple web UI, yet its functionality is rich and powerful. All TopBraid solutions are based on Semantic Web Technologies, using the power of RDF and SPARQL to connect and unify business vocabularies and data for querying and aggregation of results.
DV: Why should the Enterprise Data World attendees stop by your booth this year?
TQ: We will be offering product demos in the booth. We will also be raffling 3 licenses of TopBraid Composer Maestro Edition – our modeling tool and application development IDE.
DV: What do you see as the most significant trend happening at this time within the Data Management industry?
TQ: We believe that there is a growing realization that a ‘single version of the truth’ is an oversimplified myth. The reality of Data Management is more complex. It must embrace a variety of different viewpoints and contexts. While this trend has been evident for some time, it is becoming more apparent with the advent of Big Data and the drive to incorporate a growing number of externally developed information.
DV: How is this going to affect your particular business focus? How does your product/service address that trend?
TQ: TopQuadrant’s solutions enable organizations to transform their diverse information assets into semantic assets regardless of their origin, location or structure. Interlinked semantic assets create a semantic ecosystem where meaningful interactions between people, applications and data can happen while acknowledging and leveraging different viewpoints.
DV: What’s the next thing that your company will be working on in its products?
TQ: We constantly strive to make it possible for people to access information they need when they need it and as quickly as they need it. This means putting more power in the hands of information users so that they don’t need to rely on IT. To that end, we are working on enhancing features that make it easy for users to dynamically select and connect information using simple web-based tools.
DV: What’s the NEXT big thing in Data Management?
TQ: We believe that the impact of the growing consumerization of IT will be the next big thing in Data Management. In the context of Data Management, it means much easier unified access to data. Workers today are not only more technology savvy, but they also have high expectations about what they should easily be able to do with data. These expectations are brought on by the prevalence of search engines like Google, collaborative information sharing applications such as Facebook and Flickr, easy-to-use mashup and visualization applications. Workers no longer accept that access to another enterprise data source will require months of development. They want faster access, more intimacy with the data and better ability to collaborate with colleagues on analyzing the data and on defining its meaning. In this environment, ‘management of data’ takes a new meaning. And, of course, Data Management now spans structured and unstructured information, so the field is transitioning from Data Management to Information Management.
DV: What is something noteworthy or uniquely interesting about your company that most attendees and readers may
TQ: Our flagship desktop modeling and IDE tool, TopBraid Composer, has been very successful. As a result, we are often identified with TopBraid Composer. Ironically, this at times, has a side effect of disguising our primary business focus of providing enterprise-wide semantic ecosystems.
If you are interested in more information about sponsors and exhibitors at EDW2013 see the full listing at: http://edw2013.dataversity.net/sponsors.cfm
About Enterprise Data World:
Enterprise Data World is the business world’s most comprehensive educational event about data and information management. Over five days, EDW presents a diverse schedule of programming that addresses every level of proficiency, including keynotes, workshops, tutorials, case studies, and discussions.