iRING in the real world

Full disclose – I have been aware of ISO 15926 and iRING for several years now but have been keeping a cautious eye on what, to many of my colleagues appears to be some sort of doctorial thesis or a science project.  While it has been an interesting to have some basic conversational awareness of the topic for water cooler discussions, like many of my colleagues I have a day job that requires a project to source and deliver key information to our customers.  Your opinions and experiences may be different than mine, or they may be quite similar, but either is OK and all are welcome as comment to enhance this post.  I will try to keep advancing the discussion by publishing every week or so.

As a relative newcomer to the iRING and ISO 15926 world, I think we appear to be on the cusp of achieving something quite incredible. Potentially being able to successfully address the age old interoperability problem of defining, sharing and reusing application (for lack of a better word) data and information with all stakeholders – regardless of their respective role, authoring applications, location, or business vertical – they all have a vested interest in the efficient and timely exchange of data and contextual information.

I assume most readers of are familiar with, and conversant in, iRING lingo and principles. The “under the hood” details of ISO 15926 and iRING is not the purpose of this post, but rather I want to discuss the pragmatic use of the technology to address specific real world requirements – that of capital project execution and handover.

To ensure we are all on the same page, let me stake out a few fundamental definitions.

  • Datum: singular form of data
  • Data: multiple values or sets of values, but not significant to a business in-and-of-itself
  • Information: datum/data at work – datum/data provided in response to a need or question
  • Knowledge: the ability to understand and interpret information within a context and create links to other contexts as required

It is worth noting that information is what people want, but if not requested as such, they often only get data. Good decisions are based on information and knowledge, not data alone.

Now that we have a common understanding of what is meant by information, let’s look at what is meant by Information Management.

Central to capital project execution over the years has been the true art of managing and tracking paper documents and collaborating both internal and external project stakeholders.  The value of these paper-based documents has been that they are portable, while a downside is that information (data) printed on the paper is typically only of value to people who can put the information into context.

These internal and external collaboration work processes are not going away anytime soon, but the process can be significantly optimized and enhanced by the application and exploitation of appropriate automation tools. Paper documents have gone digital and with the advent of mobile devices (such as tablets and smartphones) it has created an opportunity to access contextual information and data in real-time when and where it is needed.

A practical definition of Information Management:

Reliable and secure access to the correct information, for the appropriate personnel, where and when it’s needed, and in a usable format at any point throughout its useful life cycle.

Finally, we know that poor information quality and access is not only costly,  but deadly in an operations environment.

And on that somber note, to be continued…thanks for reading

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One Response to iRING in the real world

  1. Sean Williams September 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Thank you for the article. I think your future posts will serve a very valuable purpose. In my experience, there are those who are fully on the theoretical side of the fence. Others are fully on the “Real World” side of the fence and a few are positioned in such a way to see both sides. It is those few that can see both sides, understand and teach effectively that help bring the rest of us on board.

    On that note, I am guessing that many of us who put forth the effort to learn what OWL and Ontologies were learned it the same way…Manchester’s Pizza Ontology tutorial. True, nobody in real life probably needs a pizza ontology. We know what we like, what the ingredients are, we order it and enjoy. But using that simple subject, we were able to build a simple ontology ourselves. And somewhere along the way, the light bulb went on. Now I get it…that is what OWL is for…AH, that is what an ontology is…AH, that is how a reasoner works… Once the light bulb went on, then we quickly begin looking at ways to use our new found knowledge to solve our real world problems.

    I am looking forward to the ISO-15926 “Pizza” tutorial.

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