Semantic Web Technologies For Method Management

Start date: 01.09.2009
Funded by: Universität Augsburg
Local head of project: Peter Rosina


In order to face today’s challenges in product development, like product complexity, variability and a shortening of development cycles, for instance, in the automotive domain, the Product Development Process (PDP) tends to entail more and more virtual tasks instead of physical, conventional ones, for example, implemented by Computer Aided x (CAx) technologies. The here introduced approach promotes this transformation by supporting the appropriate stakeholders in acquiring, formalizing, analyzing, assessing, comparing and hence selecting the most suitable methods, like physical and virtual design methods or CAx methods, that are utilized to execute these tasks. The introduced methodology demonstrates the acquisition and integration of relevant domain and business knowledge from diverse enterprise knowledge sources using Semantic Web Technologies (SWTs) which facilitates the management and execution of this knowledge, while considering customized individual views and vocabularies, and, as a result, enables a higher flexibility regarding and faster reaction to the ever-changing PDP by supporting stakeholders in their strategical and operational decisions. The separation of knowledge types by applying SWTs, like ontologies, rules and queries, enables the appropriate roles to manage this knowledge independently and in their own way, because (conceptual) domain knowledge, (operational) business rules and an implemented data model have different lifecycles, scopes and owners. Furthermore, this particular domain and business knowledge features interdependencies with remaining enterprise knowledge, including business processes, organizational aspects and the IT architecture, which is usually modeled in an Enterprise Architecture (EA). Therefore, we showcase the implementation and integration of a method meta model, method contexts, like metrics and product knowledge, and an EA using SWTs to promote the transparency, interchange, interconnection, synchronization, sharing, reusability, re-deployment, up-to-dateness and maintenance of this particular knowledge and consequently analyses and assessments based on it. Thus, the use of SWTs increase the flexibility, quality and efficiency of the development process, allowing enterprises to meet the increasing market demand of product diversification, increasing functional complexity and regulatory requirements, for instance, due to an improved integration of virtual development.