Agile Means to Digital Transformation

February 26, 2020 by Thomas Thurner

SEMANTiCS proudly welcomes long-time-companion eccenca to the Austin conference lineup. In advance of the conference I am Interviewing Hans-Christian Brockmann, Eccenca's founder and CEO, and tech-entrepreneur from Germany. 

Thomas: You're going to present at the next SEMANTiCS conference, tell us a little more about the connection your product or company has to the main topic of the conference: Knowledge Graphs and Explainable AI.

Hans-Christian: eccenca Corporate Memory, in essence, is a knowledge graph building platform. Knowledge graphs are becoming increasingly relevant as companies identify the disconnection between business and IT as one of the main reasons for their lack of agility. Knowledge graphs help to make business rules, context and lineage of data explicit in a way that is both actionable/executable by machines and understandable/manageable by business people. The majority of dysfunctional relationships we are seeing in enterprises is due to a perceived lack of transparency and control. Knowledge graphs can serve as a great way to create shared understanding, align meaning and integrate data and fundamental business rules in one model that can be shared between IT and the business. When companies are talking about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, transparency and governance are becoming even more important. On the one hand, lineage and quality of training data must be governed. On the other, the business does not trust AI unless they understand how decisions are made and on what basis. Nobody trusts a black box. Knowledge graphs clearly stand out as THE best practice to ensure both explicit semantics and lineage for incoming data and explainability of outcomes created by algorithms. Knowledge graphs thus are really about putting the business back into the driver seat on how IT functions.

Thomas: Tell us a little more about the typical use cases you serve with your company or product.

Hans-Christian: Knowledge graphs and AI can be used in any number of scenarios. So finding the right focus can be a challenge also for our customers. At eccenca we are focussing on the automation of complex physical infrastructures and (configurable edge) device networks. Such configurable edge devices could be cars, smart robots or machines, antennas or physical or logical IT, databases and software infrastructures. Our services are often connected with hardware that was previously been sold as an investment good and now is becoming a digital service that requires constant interaction throughout its lifecycle. Changing configurations of software and hardware as well as changing business requirements are making the management of such networked devices highly complex. Two particular issues are very relevant here: "security" and "in-app purchasing". Such solutions require interdisciplinary collaboration between almost all departments at our customers and often multiple suppliers of hardware and software. Given the siloed functional organization and systems landscape, the eccenca knowledge graph platform Corporate Memory provides an interdisciplinary basis for collaboration without disrupting the entire organization and its IT landscape. So it basically provides our customers with an agile means to digital transformation, automation, and innovation.

Thomas: You are a conference sponsor this year—where and how we can find you and talk to you?

Hans-Christian: Eccenca has a booth in the exhibition area. Look out for number six - that's us. I also have the honor to hold a talk called "Managing Complexity With Actionable Knowledge" on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 - 1:45 to 3:30 PM.

About Hans-Christian Brockmann

Hans-Christian Brockmann obtained a BA from the University of Göttingen and an MBA from Wake Forrest University Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He worked as sales manager at Baan Solution Center Automotive in the late nineties before starting brox IT-Solutions GmbH in 1998. Hans-Christian initiated the Eclipse project SMILA (SeMantic Information Logistics Architecture) strongly believing in the high potential of Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies and served as a director in the board of the Eclipse Foundation. His vision is to create a standardized infrastructure for information logistics and to develop applications which seamlessly combine structured and unstructured information. In 2013 Hans-Christian founded eccenca GmbH as a subsidiary of brox IT Solutions GmbH and as a partner company of AKSW research group at the University of Leipzig.