Hooray, SBVR has arrived!

SBVR became an official OMG specification on December 11, 2007.[5]  In other words, it is now an OMG standard, just like the successful standards UML and XMI.  This is a major milestone on the way to far more productive IT and structured knowledge management for many other application areas.  On that day Donald Chapin, the Chairman of the SBVR 1.0 FTF (Finalization Task Force), sent the following email to the members of the RTF (Revision Task Force) of SBVR 1.1 [emphasis added by this author]:

From: Donald Chapin Sent:  Tue, 11 Dec 2007 9:56 PM
To: sbvr-rtf@omg.org
Subject: [SBVR-RTF] -- SBVR is Now a v1.0 Specification

  The OMG Board of Directors made SBVR a version 1.0 Specification this afternoon.

  I will arrange to have the version 1.0 specification made publicly available as soon as possible, hopefully this week.
  We're finally fully there!

SBVR is expressly defined with the aim in mind that business people can understand it fully without first having to acquire specific IT skills.  After half a century of information technology, the business person's model and language have finally been taken fully seriously.

Persons that have been closely involved in standardization efforts know from experience what kind of gigantic task it is to get the first version fully there.  It must have been very exhausting.  Although I have recently become involved in the SBVR 1.1 RTF, I feel I am permitted to state that the members of the SBVR 1.0 FTF deserve a major Thanks.  OMG deserves an award for showing the vision to the world in sending the message that the business community needed to have something added to UML, OMG's biggest success until now.  This shows real courage.  Visionary entrepreneurs have this courage.

In the October 2007 issue[3] of the Business Rules Journal we can read:  "In 10 years we will look back and give OMG credit for starting this new development cycle in structured knowledge management, being applied in many areas, only one of which is IT.  I recommend every organization to invest in time in becoming fully proficient in SBVR and to adopt a proven methodology.  In that way the business is no longer under the jurisdiction of the mighty colonial power of the kingdom of IT, but can work in a mutually respectful relationship between business and IT."

Since December 11, 2007, Business Modeling using SBVR is an official and major pillar of the OMG.  An organization as successful as the OMG in determining standards for IT can make business modeling a true engineering discipline.  The merger between BPMI and OMG is an example for the world of politicians.  From this place I also want to thank the members of the Business Rules Group for their steadfastness.  They had a vision and they have realized the first major step.  And reference [6] has certainly been of help.

Hendryx expressed it very well when he said:  "Bravo!  This has been a continuous, concerted, interdisciplinary effort of business consultants, logicians, linguists and computer scientists, producing what may be a landmark result in the evolution of business rules and business modeling."[1]

In the October 2007 issue of the Business Rules Journal it was said:  "It is my expectation that the benefits of SBVR in non-IT related areas far outweigh the IT area.  It may nevertheless be expected that SBVR will probably first be used on an industrial scale in business requirements for IT."  Furthermore the following was said in that same issue:  "My recommendation is to apply SBVR for many applications, including business requirements, knowledge management, business communication, business process design and education and training."[3]

In the November 2007 issue of the Business Rules Journal one can read:  "The transition from the Roman numeral system to that of decimal numbers brought about a major advancement of science and technology in Western Civilization.  In a similar vein, our knowledge-based society is now as much in need of an effective representation of structured knowledge."[4]  SBVR will fulfill this role.  In the same article it is stated that "SBVR could become for many subject areas like education, training, law, finance, governance and government services what mathematics has become for the sciences and technology in the past century."  Financial accounting and statistics, as well as the Solvency II framework, are currently being specified in SBVR.  More details will be reported in a future issue of the Business Rules Journal.

Now that SBVR 1.0 is available to the public[5] the next step is to apply SBVR to provide a common business knowledge language.  This requires substantial additional resources and dedication.  Let me invite everybody to give serious attention to the work of the SBVR 1.1 RTF.  Standards like UML and SBVR need continuous improvements and maintenance.

In the Business Rules Journal of October 2007 one can read:  "The acceptance of SBVR will be a major breakthrough in productivity in requirements and knowledge management.  It is fundamentally a fact-oriented approach, which makes it comprehensible to many people.…  It so happens that experience with this approach started in Europe in the seventies, and a mature business practice has been developed in the last 35 years."[3][7]  Currently, an effort is underway to make the documents of the seventies and eighties available on the internet so that those interested can read how the solid basis for SBVR started in Europe and resulted among others in an official ISO report[2] that, in hindsight, was released well before its time.

In the March issue of the Business Rules Journal several experts will give their views on SBVR.


[1]  Hendryx, Stan, "OMG Business Rules Proposal Nears Completion," Business Rules Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Feb. 2005), URL:  http://www.BRCommunity.com/a2005/b226.html return to article

[2]  ISO, ISO/TC97/SC5/WG3:  Concepts and terminology for the Conceptual Schema and Information Base, J.J. van Griethuysen (ed.), 1982 . return to article

[3]  Nijssen, Sjir, "SBVR:  Semantics for Business," Business Rules Journal, Vol. 8, No. 10 (Oct. 2007), URL:  http://www.BRCommunity.com/a2007/b367.htmlreturn to article

[4]  Nijssen, Sjir, "SBVR:  The Common Knowledge Language and The Most Promising Alternative in IT,"  Business Rules Journal, Vol. 8, No. 11 (Nov. 2007), URL:  http://www.BRCommunity.com/a2007/b377.htmlreturn to article

[5]  Object Management Group (OMG), Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR), v1.0, Jan. 2008.  Available as document 08-01-02 at http://www.omg.org/spec/SBVR/1.0/PDF    SBVR 1.0 and supporting files are available at http://www.omg.org/spec/SBVR/1.0/ return to article

[6]  Ross, Ronald, Business Rule Concepts, Getting to the Point of Knowledge, BRSolutions LLC (2005). return to article

[7]  Verheijen, G.M.A., and J. Bekkum, "NIAM:  an information analysis method," Information Systems Design Methodologies:  a comparative review, Proc. IFIP WG8.1 Working Conf., Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, North Holland Publishing (1982), pp. 537-590. return to article

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Standard citation for this article:

citations icon
Sjir Nijssen, "Hooray, SBVR has arrived!" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 9, No. 2, (Feb. 2008)
URL: http://www.brcommunity.com/a2008/b390.html

About our Contributor:

Sjir   Nijssen
Sjir Nijssen CTO, PNA

Dr. Sjir Nijssen is CTO at PNA in the Netherlands (www.PNA-Group.nl). Dr. Nijssen started with fact based business modeling in the early seventies, at Control Data’s European headquarters in Brussels. Since then it has been more than his full-time occupation. It was there where NIAM (Natural language Information Analysis Method), a fact based business practice and notation, was conceived. After holding a position as professor of Computer Science for seven years, he founded the company PNA in 1989, exclusively dedicated to delivering business requirements, consulting and educational services fully based on fact orientation. PNA currently employs over 50 people. PNA has been awarded the first accreditation in the Netherlands for a bachelor curriculum entirely based on extended fact orientation, in which all subjects are delivered in fact orientation knowledge format (including fully describing concept definitions, fact types, fact type readings and rules).

Dr. Nijssen can be reached directly at sjir.nijssen@pna-group.nl.

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