Why SBVR? Donald Chapin. Chair, OMG SBVR Revision Task Force Business Semantics Ltd

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1 Why SBVR? Towards a Business Natural Language (BNL) for Financial Services Panel Demystifying Financial Services Semantics Conference New York,13 March 2012 Donald Chapin Chair, OMG SBVR Revision Task Force Business Semantics Ltd 1

2 Why Do We Need an fbnl? For the same reason we need an English or French dictionary The financial business natural language already exists in all the communications in the financial industry but the meanings can be fuzzy or not shared between authors and all the readers To minimize ambiguity in contracts, governance documentation & regulations Industry jargon needs definitions that are clear and unambiguous Terms often mean different things in different contexts or communities To have the meanings of financial industry terms in software tools that can understand the meanings To be able to extract more structured information from text documents To support semantic integration of business documentation and IT data To define requirements & design IT systems that implement the business meanings To reduce business costs of: Misinterpretation of policy, data inconsistency, manual reconciliation & software misfits Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

3 Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules An OMG standard developed to: Remove ambiguity from business governance documentation, especially regulations, policies and rules Improve business communication Delivers to the business: Formal Terminological Dictionary (SBVR vocabulary) as a cohesive set of interconnected concepts, not just a list of terms and definitions Rulebook (policy, rules, etc.) that governs the actions of the organization. In business natural language Sufficiently formal to be used in software tools: For maintenance as a business asset To support transformation to other kinds of model Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

4 Using SBVR The Business define meanings of terms used to describe Regulations validate, interpret, form compliance policies SBVR model Vocabulary Rulebook validate, adopt, adapt Best Practices Industry Standard Glossaries provide content transform into Contracts Terms and Conditions define subset views as govern semantic anchors (URIs of business definitions) Product/Service Specs Internal Financial Reports Compliance Reports Business Policies use in Formal Public Specialist use in Processes Data User Interfaces Business Document Specifications Speech Community Vocabularies Data Processing Specifications provide data specifications for Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

5 Speech Communities and Vocabularies Semantic Community: Shares the meanings of concepts and guidance French Speech Community: shares French vocabularies for shared meanings German Speech Community: shares German vocabularies for shared meanings English Speech Community: shares English vocabularies for shared meanings Employees Vocabulary includes jargon, acronyms, codes, form numbers... Specialists Lawyers, Accountants, Engineers... Vocabulary is business vocabulary + adopted subset of practice vocabulary Vocabulary is formal, mandated and strictly policed Product and service specifiers, sales and purchasing staff, accounts staff, HR staff, compliance officers... Customers, Suppliers, Regulators, Financial Authorities... Parties in Legal Relationships Web site authors, advertising copywriters, help desk staff.... Prospective customers, interested members of the general public Interested Parties Vocabulary is informal everyday language Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

6 SBVR Terminological Dictionary entries interest leg pays interest on notional amount of contract IR swap Noun concept Verb concept Synonym: Synonym: Synonym: Definition: interest rate swap IR swap contract IR swap agreement Industry standard definition that has been formalized swap that has an interest rate that is exchanged for another interest rate Dictionary basis An agreement to exchange interest rate cash flows, based on a specified notional amount from a fixed rate to a floating rate (or vice versa) or from one floating rate to another. Source: www2.isda.org/functional-areas/research/glossary/#i IR swap has interest leg Verb concept Necessity: Each IR swap has exactly two interest legs Necessity: Each IR swap has at least one floating interest leg Definitional business rules vanilla IR swap Definition: Noun concept IR swap that has a fixed interest leg that has the currency of the floating interest leg of the IR swap Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

7 SBVR Rulebook Entries Regulation A swap dealer can rely on the written representations of a counterparty to satisfy its due diligence requirements under the business conduct standards... CFTC: Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 33 / Friday, February 17, 2012 / Rules and Regulations [page 9792] SBVR Vocabulary (of some swap dealer) Example Business Policy: Each swap that falls under the new CFTC business conduct rules must be transacted under an ISDA master agreement that includes all due diligence representations required to satisfy CFTC. Example Business Rules that partly implement the policy: Each swap transaction that is initiated after April must be transacted under an ISDA master agreement. Each end user swap transaction that is initiated after April must be transacted under an ISDA master agreement that has a schedule that includes a representation of eligibility that is for the end user counterparty of the ISDA master agreement. Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

8 How we do it today Business User Modeler IS Requirements agree Logical Data model basis of basis of is presented to defines business-friendly view of Business Object Model Data Processes Defining requirements via discussion of a business-friendly logical data model User Interfaces Information System Specification Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

9 What goes wrong? Users thought they were talking about the business Modelers were talking about the data agreed Modeler IS Requirements Logical Data model basis of basis of defined was presented to business-friendly view of Business Object Model delivered to Why do we still see this so often? Or systems that are not delivered at all? Data Processes User Interfaces Information System Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

10 Business users should be the drivers Business User Modeler IS Requirements agree basis of owns/defines is presented to transforms SBVR Vocabulary is transformed to Logical Data Model basis of Data Processes URIs as Semantic Anchors User Interfaces Information System Specification Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

11 SBVR Vocabulary and Data Model SBVR Vocabulary provides definitions Class 1 Definition: xxxxxxxxxxxxx Ref Scheme: Attr 1 Attr 1 Definition: xxxx that xxxxxxxx Attr 1 references Class 1 Attr 2 Definition: Model elements require definitions Class 1 has Attr 2 Class 1A Definition: xxxxxxxxxxxxx Class1 that xxxx xxxxx Class 1B connects Class 2 Definition: the Class1B xxx... Necessity: Necessity: Class 2 Definition: Etc... Each Class1B connects exactly two Class 2s Each Class 2 is connected by at most one Class 1B xxxx that xxxxxxxxxxxx Semantic anchors can reference them Class Class1 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Semantic anchor xxxxxxxxxx (URI) Property Attr 1 xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx URI Property Attr 2 URI Class Class1A URI Class 1 Class connects 2 URI Class Class 2 URI Class1A Attr 3 Attr 4 Class 1 Attr 1 Attr 2 Class1B Attr 5 connects Class 2 Attr Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

12 Business Uses of SBVR Governance, Risk, and Compliance Globalization/Localization and Translation Communication and Documentation Document and Content Index Creation Business integration and Performance Improvement Training Business Language centered Requirements for Information Systems For a discussion of these Use Cases see SBVR: What is Now Possible and Why? : Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

13 Special thanks to John Hall for creating most of this presentation Contact for OMG s SBVR Specification: Contacts for OMG s Regulatory Compliance DSIG: Said Tabet Business Semantics / Model Systems 13

14 Why SBVR? Towards a Business Natural Language (BNL) for Financial Services Panel Demystifying Financial Services Semantics Conference New York,13 March 2012 Additional Slides 14

15 Terminological Dictionary Conventional Dictionary Term-based: each synonymous term has its own definition Black Dark Obscure Indistinct Faint Pale Light White Chain of approximate synonyms Terminological Dictionary black is white in seven steps... Concepts-based: synonyms share the same definition IR swap Interest rate swap IR swap agreement IR swap contract swap that has an interest rate that is exchanged for another interest rate Different shades of meaning, if they are important, each have their own concept definition Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

16 SBVR: Formal Terminological Dictionary SBVR is an ISO TC 37 Terminological Dictionary Plus: Communities as context for sharing meanings and terms Term in a given context has exactly one meaning Unambiguous understanding of definitions Richer terminological semantics Multidimensional Classification Roles and Perspectives Reference Schemes Enriched concept relations Unambiguous understanding of rules Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

17 How SBVR Relates to Existing Language Resources SBVR Business Vocabulary + Rules = Formal Terminological Dictionary Business Glossary: Noun Concepts, Definitions & Primary Terms + Taxonomy: General/Specific + Whole/Part Hierarchical Concept Relationships + Thesaurus: Synonyms, Acronyms, Abbreviations, etc. + Multilingual Terms Verb Concepts --. Relations among Concepts around Verbs that are patterns in sentences Individual Concepts e.g. Business Events & Business Entities + Additional SBVR Semantic Features: Business Communities as a context for sharing meanings and terms Term is a given content has exactly one meaning -- shared across languages Unambiguous Concepts -- definitions composed of adjectival phrases Definitions, Relationships & Rules specified in formal logic Enriched Concept Relations -- multidimensional classification, roles & perspectives Reference Schemes for Individual Concepts Rulebook + Behavioural Business Guidance: Business Policies, Rules and other kinds of Guidance governing Business Actions Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

18 Why Isn t an Ordinary Business Glossary Enough? 1. No good practice used for creating business glossaries Need definitions that are clear and unambiguous Definitions need to reflect the meanings business people use when they write governance documentation 2. No ability to ensure each meaning is entered only once or to support semantic integration of multiple terminological dictionaries 3. No ability to define the same word/phrase differently in different context while still ensuring that each term has only one meaning in a given context 4. No basis for cohesion between definitions or conceptual integrity of the glossary as a whole 5. Does not include defined sentence patterns that have specific meanings Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

19 SBVR: business owners/authors SBVR Vocabulary (Terminological Dictionary) Defines what the business is, using: Noun concepts: concepts of things in or relevant to the business Verb concepts: relationships between things Definitional business rules: constraints on relationships and roles of things Enterprise-wide view: Concepts have to be consistently understood across the entire business (especially if different terms are used) Business owners/authors: Lawyers, product/service owners, HR, accountants, marketers... SBVR Rulebook Governs what the business does, using: Business policies: broad intent for governance of business processes Behavioral business rules: directly actionable, to realize policies Defined using the business s SBVR Vocabulary Focused on functional areas, E.g. product/service development, marketing, production, sales, distribution, HR, accounts Business owners/authors: Owners/managers of functional areas Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

20 Vocabularies and Data Models A terminological dictionary (SBVR vocabulary) is not a logical data model: It provides business concepts in natural language that are the basis of data model constructs Semantic anchors (URIs of SBVR vocabulary elements) can provide traceability from business definitions to IS models It is the basis for design transformations to create logical data models What is the concern? Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

21 The Great Leap Forward Bachman Diagram Chen Entity-Relationship Model Interest Rate Swap Contract OTC Interest Rate Option Interest Rate Swap Contract has M has N OTC Interest Rate Option is underlying 1 Interest Rate Observable Interest Rate Observable Rate Treatment Index Tenor In the 1960s, Charles Bachman introduced logical data structure diagrams to aid database design By 1976, Peter Chen had developed methodology for entity-relationship logical data modeling Data modelers started to use business terms on their diagrams and to discuss requirements in those terms I can understand him! IT people and business users began to understand each other a whole lot better Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

22 The problem? A logical data model isn t a model of the business: It s a model of the data needed to support the business Its vocabulary (although it uses familiar business terms) isn t a business vocabulary: It s the vocabulary of the data The model and the vocabulary are controlled by the modeler, whose focus is often on getting an IS specification that: Complies with the standards (UML, XML, Xpath...) built into the modeling tools Will be implementable with available technology As the data specification becomes more detailed: Business users understand less of the nuts and bolts but the familiar-seeming vocabulary lulls them into expectations... that turn out not to be satisfied by the systems delivered Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

23 SBVR Vocabulary and Data Model (1) Data model (in UML Class Model notation) Data modeling tools can support the model diagram with definitions of each element (class, property, association, etc. These definitions are usually developed element by element in informal text with hyperlinks between named elements. Class Property Attr 1 xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx Property Attr 2 xxxxxxxxxx Class Class1 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx Class1A xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Class1A Attr 3 Attr 4 Class 1 Attr 1 Attr 2 Class1B Attr If you start out by defining a data model, you can create these definitions But if you have already developed a business vocabulary in SBVR... Class 1 Class connects 2 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx Class Class 2 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx connects 2 Class 2 Attr 6 Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

24 SBVR Vocabulary and Data Model (2) SBVR Vocabulary already provides definitions Class 1 Definition: xxxxxxxxxxxxx Ref Scheme: Attr 1 Attr 1 Definition: xxxx that xxxxxxxx Attr 1 references Class 1 Attr 2 Definition: Class 1 has Attr 2 Class 1A Definition: xxxxxxxxxxxxx Class1 that xxxx xxxxx Class 1B connects Class 2 Definition: the Class1B xxx... Necessity: Necessity: Class 2 Definition: Etc... Each Class1B connects exactly two Class 2s Each Class 2 is connected by at most one Class 1B xxxx that xxxxxxxxxxxx Class Property Attr 1 xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx Property Attr 2 Class Class1 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx Class1A Class 1 Class connects 2 Class Class 2 Class1A Attr 3 Attr 4 Class 1 Attr 1 Attr 2 Class1B Attr 5 connects Class 2 Attr Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

25 SBVR Vocabulary and Data Model (4) A business s SBVR vocabulary provides definitions that are: More formal than those typically developed in data modeling tools In the business language of the users The SBVR definitions are elements of a coherent business model the SBVR vocabulary: They are not written piecemeal to support data model elements The SBVR vocabulary drives development: First, the users write what they mean Then, the IS modelers transform it into IS models (in practice there is to-and-fro development but business intent should drive the process) The transformation is usually straightforward, but requires decisions on how business concepts will be modeled in data. SBVR concepts might be modeled (in a data model) as classes, attributes, values, states... Some will probably belong in documentation model Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

26 A self-defeating optimization There is an approach that avoids a transformation from SBVR vocabulary to data model: constrain the business vocabulary to be only what will be in a data model: i.e. develop a logical data model but document it in SBVR Structured English. Why is this not a good idea? It simply perpetuates (with a different notation) what we have been doing for the past 40 years and getting wrong with depressing frequency There are standards much better than SBVR for data modeling more mature, with immeasurably more practitioner experience and a much wider range of tools in UML, XML and Xpath SBVR is best used for its intended purpose: defining businesses by means of vocabulary and rules. Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

27 SBVR Formal Terminological Dictionaries Provide Semantic Anchors for Data Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

28 IT Uses of SBVR Terminologies & Behavioral Guidance Document Browse and Search and Text Analytics Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Data Architecture, Management and Quality Message-Based Middleware Architecture Business Process Management Systems Advanced Intelligence Capabilities Rule-based Application Software Development, Generation and Configuration Software Localization Reverse Engineering Software to Business Requirements Software Assurance For a discussion of these Use Cases see SBVR: What is Now Possible and Why? : Business Semantics / Model Systems Demystifying Financial Services Semantics, 13 March

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