Bludgeoning GRC

I’m driving off the road with this post. At Catalyst and on their blog Burton Group objects to the sloppy use of the general marketing term ‘GRC’. Back at the start of June, Securosis blog called it ‘dead’ setting off other rounds of posting. I suppose it’s dead in the same way firewalls and NIDS are. Regardless, I missed it until Matt pointed it out to me.

Trent Henry wrote this:

We always try to create a list of key themes for the research year — things that are top-of-mind to clients, represent interesting trends for the industry, or are potential market “gotchas.” This year we looked at the emerging discussion of “GRC” and scratched out (sic) heads. We didn’t get it. In fact, we thought the market messaging and product direction(s) were potentially deleterious, so one of our key themes was to debunk the solution space of GRC (that’s “Governance, Risk management, and Compliance” in case you were unaware; of course, as further evidence of the meaninglessness of glomming these words together, some vendors use “GRC management,” which drops the individual management from risk management. On the other hand, it also implies a such thing as “governance management,” which, if not redundant, I don’t know what is; but don’t get me started down the semantic idiocy path…)

Get him started? He’s already there no one told him. While they were debunking GRC perhaps they should have turned the gimlet eye onto their own blather; this from a Catalyst conference announcement:

Today’s enterprise has more unstructured data, streaming through more information channels, than most information architects might have predicted just a few years ago…

It continues..

With the advent of enterprise-class semantic technologies, a new layer of capabilities has been added to what SOA has traditionally provided. Foremost among them is context management. With Semantic SOA, data services are no longer tethered to source schema or data structure; by applying a context management framework across the architecture,… This presentation will provide an overview of best practices in designing and deploying a Semantic SOA, including relevant use case examples and illustrated by a real-world Semantic SOA deployment.

A link takes us to this bullet point at the web site:

The convergence of structured and semi-structured information, with SQL and XQuery

“Unstructured data” is complete nonsense. Here are some definitions from

Data: Factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions.

Unstructured: Lacking a definite structure or organization; not formally organized or systematized.

Information always has a structure otherwise it’s just noise or a stream of random characters. It’s just not in a form that makes machine inferencing easy. I predict in just a few years we will be hearing about Federated Semantic SOA, which I suppose would be an on demand union of context frameworks across arbitrary boundaries permitting the synthesis of entirely new domains of knowledge completely separated from logic. I predict it will need XML, lots of it. At least 2Mb of tags for every 8 bits of information. It will support unstructured data, semi-structured data, semi-unstructured data, and of course, virtual-unstructured data.

As a side note, this is the perfect metaphor for the XQuery approach.


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