Moebius and the Repsol Brain

Repsol SemTech 2010 presentation reveals three years of ‘practical application’ of semantic technology underpinning knowledge management initiatives including ‘Repsol Brain’ application.

Speaking at this month’s SemTech 2010 conference in San Francisco, Jesus Contreras of Intelligent Software Components (Isoco) presented Repsol’s ‘semantic technology’-based ‘Moebius’ corporate ontology and its ‘innovation capture’ knowledge management system a.k.a. the Repsol Brain.

Repsol management has recognized the value of its intangible knowledge assets for some time and has encouraged departmental-level KM projects such as communities of practice, talent management, search, innovation and reputation tracking.

The company wanted to break with the traditional ‘knowledge is power’ syndrome and leverage Web 2.0 tools to increase productivity through tagging, wikis and other social networking tools.

However this has led to a situation where over 40 KM vendors’ tools have been deployed across the enterprise: hence the decision to use ‘semantic technology’ to tie these disparate efforts together and build an enterprise-wide KM solution.

Successive attempts to achieve this have leveraged thesauri, business unit-based ontologies and latterly the Moebius Project, Repsol’s company-wide ontology and ‘virtual’ knowledge base.

The early adoption of semantic technology in Repsol has not been without problems. Building the ontologies is hard and the new technology has met with some resistance from IT. Repsol turned to Isoco, a spin out of the Barcelona Institute of Artificial Intelligence, to provide ‘semantic technologies.’

One application area of the Moebius ontology is the Repsol Brain—an ‘open innovation’ application for idea management. The Brain is a collaborative portal where employees and external staff can put forward new ideas. The expert system is able to relate similar ideas, look for experts and evaluators. Repsol claims ‘increased quality of outcomes compared with traditional solutions’ for the Brain.

Neither Isoco nor Repsol were saying exactly what is meant by the ‘semantic technologies’ deployed under the Moebius hood. But Contreras gave a pointer to the EU-sponsored ‘Value-IT’ project in his SemTech presentation.

Value-IT, a component of the EU 7th Framework Program, sets out to ‘accelerate take-up of semantic technologies for the enterprise.’ Isoco manages the Value-IT project and has contributed the Repsol enterprise semantic technology use case to the initiative.

More from SemTech on, from and and on sematics in our report from Semantic Days on page 5.

A possible reason for Isoco’s reticence to divulge more might be potential intellectual property issues weaving their way around the Moebius strip!

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