Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Update: SemWeb Industry Review, Method and Making Progress

It's time for another progress report - I haven't posted any recent entries to this blog because I've been busy with this project. Even so, since my review of the Semantic Web industry will include a description of my method, I figured I'd get a head start by outlining my approach below. A version of this will appear in the report:
  • Picking the companies is never a perfect process, especially for an initial review. Factors that contributed to being covered by this report include being primarily product based as opposed to consulting services based, some kind of sponsorship at a conference (it's an indicator of success & maturity), and being in "general release" and not beta (a fuzzily enforced criterion). At this point I estimate that 18 companies will be covered.
  • Assemble a list of relevant questions designed to uncover basic business issues, product capabilities, trends, and future plans. These questions were reviewed by a small subset of vendors to ensure fairness, relevance and adequate coverage of key issues.
  • Interviews with key personnel. This is really the heart of the process - the discussion, Q&A, and general exchange involved in covering my questions is what provides the illumination that I'm seeking.
  • Writing company profiles based on the discussions and publicly available information. These are all going to be between one to two pages long and they'll contain a description of the company's primary product, what that product does, plans for the next six to twelve months and some light analysis. There'll be other basic information as well.
  • Submit the profiles to the companies for review. In my view, this is a key step to ensure accuracy. Note that the analysis contained in the body of the report will not be made available for review in this fashion.
  • Summary and analysis, which is where I review the company profiles, develop my findings, and state my observations and comments.
I'm very much in the thick of things right now, but there's always time for trivia:
  • 11 interviews complete, 7 profiles written.
  • The companies span time zones ranging from GMT -7 to GMT +9.
  • 11 are headquartered in North America, 7 are headquartered in Europe, 1 is in Korea.
  • August is global vacation month - no kidding. Why do we even bother with Q3?


Anonymous said...

Dear David, That sounds like a lot of work. I want to see the results. Your list of companies contained some surprises for me. Can you supply web links, so that I don't have to do the searches?

David Provost said...

I'd like to see the results too! Bear with me - my timeline is to finish my interviews by the first week of September and finish the report by the end of September.

I'll provide links, but not right now - need to deal with a few other priorities first.

Thanks for writing,