Is it really naïve to think two complimentary domains can be described by taxonomies and then mapped? Authors Robert L. Glass and Iris Vessey, in a recent Viewpoints column in IEEE Software published by the IEEE Computer Society, titled, “Naïveté Squared:  In Search of Two Taxonomies and a Mapping Between Them” concluded they were naïve. The authors have long thought, there needs to be “a taxonomy of application domains; a taxonomy of solution approaches; and a mapping between the two.” They feel they were naïve because, despite promoting the need for several decades, it hasn’t happened. Or so they think.

Their interest in this subject goes back several decades.  In 1992 and 1995, they presented the challenges of the application taxonomy.

Solutions and applications seem worlds apart, making it very difficult to relate possible solutions to various application domains. The solution space folks, they explain, tend to view their newest solution as “universally applicable”. The application space folks would counter that “it depends”. A taxonomy for each with mappings between them would allow easier, more precise navigation between them. Glass and Vessey write that it hasn’t happened because of the daunting challenge of application domain diversity. For one, domains are hard to define and any given domain can be subdivided into specialty domains. They cite several examples such as “medical systems” and “automotive systems”, but these are complex systems, involving many moving parts; some interacting and some standalone.

Additionally, they found that vendors and academics view the world differently and would, thus, label the world differently. (They were surprised by this?) They see the bigger challenge, then in a failure to agree on terminology. Also, computer scientists, they claim, are not interested in the application space preferring the more appealing solution space. Getting them to engage in a mapping exercise does not seem possible to them.

Glass and Vessey state they are not giving up, nor should they. The core of a good taxonomy is, indeed, their salvation. xpeerient™ has come to the rescue. Xpeerient is solving the ‘application domain’ to ‘solution approaches’ for the real world. Says xpeerient Founder and CEO, Mark Hall, “This is precisely what xPeerient was built for.” Mr. Hall has been in the application space and solution space for as long as Glass and Vessey. He is the former CIO of CXO Media and founder and former general manager of CIO magazine’s CIO Executive Council, a global community of leading chief information officers. He is by his own words, “I’m the exact opposite of the brilliant computer scientist or the pure mathematician, who is [here he quotes Glass and Vessey] ‘loathe to look at the field of applications because they see the field of solutions as so much more interesting and challenging.’ I’m far more charged up by putting theory into practice.” That is, he’s bridging the conceptual gap between application domains and solution spaces.

Xpeerient xPeerient is changing the way enterprise technology is bought and sold to make it more efficient, more trust-based and more effective for all the parties involved. By bringing together qualified IT buyers and solution providers at the right times, xPeerient is streamlining the process of buying and selling enterprise IT solutions.

They do this in three ways:

1. Peer Community and Collaboration

xPeerient has created a strong peer community and networking platform that connects IT executives with similar needs to discuss solution requirements, technology alternatives and product and vendor experiences. By helping buyers get unbiased counsel from trusted and knowledgeable peers, xPeerient streamlines the buying and evaluation process and enables smarter, more effective IT decisions for their organizations. This community also further informs customer solution considerations and increases the awareness and credibility of qualified solution providers. And it’s free for IT buyers.

2. IT Solution Engagement Platform

xPeerient has developed a SaaS-based platform that connects qualified IT solution providers with qualified buyers that are ready to purchase. The platform matches IT Buyers’ projects to qualified solution providers and connects the two parties. Buyers quickly find the solution providers they need, when they need them. Solution providers expand their market reach and gain access to highly qualified customers who are in the buying process with approved budget and timelines, along with defined solution requirements and decision criteria.

3. Thought Leadership Portal

xPeerient has also formed a community of thought leaders, influencers, practitioners and solution providers to share their ideas, opinions and best practices to highlight the current problems in the IT procurement process, challenge the status quo and discuss ways to address these obstacles. The portal, community and content provide a forum for all players in the process to participate in the conversation and help accelerate the desired changes.

With the xpeerient solution IT buyers can dramatically shorten the time it takes to find new, quality providers by creating a project profile in 5 minutes. Once created, xPeerient™ first matches project requirements to peers willing to share their experiences with similar projects. When ready, the buyer’s project is automatically matched and distributed anonymously to suppliers able to meet the buyer’s needs.

IT solution providers benefit by receiving automated email notifications of new buyer RFIs matching their capabilities – connecting them to ready-to-purchase buyers, without the time and expense of traditional marketing.

xpeerient can match IT requirements (the application domain space) with IT solutions. To do this xpeerient developed a single taxonomy for both spaces and then they use Access Innovation’s Data Harmony® M.A.I.™ to map the spaces, bridging the gap between application domains and solution approaches. Michael Swenson did much of the heavy intellectual lifting for xpeerient to develop the taxonomy and work with the M.A.I.® engine to perfect the matching (read:  “mapping”) process. What he did was develop a single taxonomy, but then wrote moderate to very complex rule sets in M.A.I.® that captured the typical language of buyers and the language of sellers. Then regardless of how a solution from the seller or a need from the buyer was expressed, it had a pretty fair chance of automatically invoking the appropriate set of taxonomy categories.

While expeerient is a commercial undertaking they have gone a long way towards providing Glass and Vessey with their long desired goal for:

• “a taxonomy of application domains,

• a taxonomy of solution approaches, and

• a mapping between the two.”


Jay Ven Eman, CEO
Access Innovations