Towards Executable Enterprise Models: Ontology and Semantic Web Meet Enterprise Architecture

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Irene Polikoff and Robert Coyne


In this article, we argue that ontology’s and semantic web technologies are important to the future of Enterprise Architecture (EA). The article outlines the value and need for dynamic models of enterprises, and points to semantic web technologies as the most promising way to do this. First, we observe that Enterprise Architecture (EA) models that could be distributed, federated, and executed will be essential to support the needs of agile enterprises to respond rapidly to opportunity and change. As the value propositions, applications and uses of EA move toward executable models, we note that ontology’s and semantic web standard languages are well suited for the next generation of EA solutions. Semantics involve knowledge representation and semantic web technology not only makes it easier to aggregate and analyze information, but also paves the road to active or executable enterprise architectures driven by its capabilities for expressing, querying and federating enterprise models and information.


enterprise architecture, ontology, taxonomy, data modeling, reference models, semantic web, executable models

About the authors

Irene Polikoff has over 15 years of experience in business application development and deployment, consulting, software development and strategic planning. Prior to co-founding TopQuadrant Ms. Polikoff held a number of executive positions at IBM, including Senior Development Manager and Project Executive for worldwide consultant’s tooling and methods. Prior to her work with IBM, Ms. Polikoff held IT management positions at Fortune 500 companies where she was responsible for the development and deployment of enterprise-wide mission critical information systems. Ms. Polikoff has a MS in Operations Research from Columbia University and a strong interest in technologies for software development. Ms. Polikoff can be reached at

Robert Coyne is an Executive Partner of TopQuadrant, a consulting company that specializes in Solution EnvisioningTM and semantic web technology. He is co-author of the book Capability Cases: A Solution Envisioning Approach, Addison-Wesley, July, 2005. Prior to joining TopQuadrant, Dr. Coyne was the Chief Technology Officer of Solution Technology International where he co-designed a straight-through processing platform for insurance and reinsurance. Dr. Coyne was also a certified Senior Consultant at IBM Global Solutions where he was co-architect and Use Case expert for IBM’s Object Oriented methodology, as well as a Knowledge Management expert for his practice. Dr. Coyne received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, where he was Research Faculty (1990-95) at the Engineering Design Research Center and a Lecturer for the School of Computer Science. Mr. Coyne can be reached at


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