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Business Knowledge Blueprints By Ronald G. Ross

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Finally, the Go-To Handbook for Building Shared Understanding

Here’s everything you need to know about

  • Developing business vocabularies.
  • Defining terms.
  • Disambiguating concepts.

More than that, this handbook shows you how to clarify the meaning of everyday business communication and put business clarity into your data.

Introducing Concept Models

A concept model gives you a way to talk with subject matter experts in a way you’ve never had before. It will:

  • Guide you in asking the right questions.
  • Help you achieve business clarity.
  • Show you how the pieces all fit together.
  • Make you sound smart.

What about data? This book is for those intimidated by data, for those whose companies have poor quality data, or for those in initiatives seeking to tap into the power behind the data. Learn these techniques and you’ll ‘do’ all forms of data far better.

So many people these days – including business managers – know in their guts something is amiss about current approaches. Something in IT and data is simply not adding up. Not some small thing, but a very big thing. Data quality is awful. Systems still fail to meet expectations due to inadequate or misdirected requirements. Customer expectations simply aren’t being met. Now we are plunging headlong into a world of bots, AI, blockchain and more, with little or no sense of what it will really take to get us there.

If you are one of those people, this book provides the insights you need to talk directly about the problem – as well as all the robust techniques needed to tackle it head-on.

Who is this book for?

Think of a concept model as the new Knowledge Commons for the business. It’s about getting everyone on the same page for Knowledge-Age success!

  • Business People: governance, risk and compliance managers, regulators and policy makers, legal staff, knowledge managers, product designers, and training managers
  • Transformation Professionals: business analysts, business architects, data scientists, data modelers, and software professionals who support the business

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Here's What Readers Are Saying

Find out what readers have been saying about Business Knowledge Blueprints.

"Stunning quality of both the message and the writing. Easy-to-understand, practical guide for people new to documenting true-to-SBVR business concepts and their vocabularies." [read more]

~ Donald Chapin

"Let me congratulate you on an excellent book, that should help others design better models."

~ Terry Halpin


"A solid guide. Concept models are essential for creating the building blocks of the Knowledge Age. Welcome to the future!” [read more]

~ Robert Dizinno


"an extremely valuable book for practitioners of business analysis. Excellent presentation of such a complex subject matter as concept modeling by a towering thought leader. I only wish I had had the chance to read such a book at a much earlier stage of my career."

~ David Lyalin


"Excellent subject, well written, very timely book. … a strong contribution to a missing dimension for business architects." [read more]

~ Ramsay Millar


"You need precision and consistency in every business communication. The more you focus on it, the more you will see the value of the techniques presented in this book.” [read more]

~ Gladys S.W. Lam


"Well done! This is the book I’ve been wanting for years. Now people can truly apply SBVR for real-world problems."

~ Keri Anderson Healy


"Part V on how to create business definitions is the best. The examples are great.” [read more]

~ Nick Vaughan


"[Concept models are] a great way for stakeholders to understand the impact of the change they’re considering."

~ Michelle Murray


"Our ability to understand each other is only as good as the definition we share on each word."

~ Mark Meyers


"The ideas in this book are a big part of the answer to ‘the black box’ and transparency around automation. And they are central to capturing human knowledge – hard-won knowledge that makes a difference. In service. In competitiveness. In survival."

~ John Morris


"Anyone working closely with data, especially business and data analysts and architects, would benefit from the thought leadership and practical tips included in this book!”

~ Dora Boussias


“a great contribution to unify business communication”

~ Fabricio Laguna


“Very good … has already helped a project that I’m on. Those of you in business analysis and/or data should read this book.”

~ Gary Rush


“Really like the book. Very useful and understandable.”

~ Jan Mark Pleijsant


“Just finished reading this wonderful book. I can’t recommend it highly enough – and not just to fellow business architects/analysts. Everyone in business should buy it, and buy into it. After a quick cup of tea, I’m going to read it again.”

~ James Shields


“I have realized that my point of view is still closer to technical-oriented by reading your book. Thank you for writing a insightful book!”

~ Kwangchul Shin, Ph.D


“In this book Ron Ross pulls apart business communications, shows how easily it can be a mess, shows how that mess may not be detected until something goes horribly wrong, then explains why the problems happen, and how they can be avoided.” [read more]

~ Roger Tregear


“A great book for those of us wearing a zillion hats on how to get more done in less time with risk mitigation built in."

~ Tina Underhill


“I love your concept models! Incredibly powerful."

~ Peter O'Donoghue


“Anyone even only thinking about deploying business models that rely heavily on data should take note."

~ Thomas Olbrich


“Love this book, and the others you have written Ron, big fan and believer all the way over in New Zealand."

~ Kim Wilson


“... one of the most useful and engaging books I've come across in a while. It's full of highlights, underscores and notes ... an invaluable resource for me.""

~ Monique Kebbe


“ ... really enjoyed your book, both for the actual content and the good writing."

~ Christian Kaul


“Excellent, practical, useable."

“This is a really clear, practical book which is clearly based on a huge amount of practitioner experience. There are practical examples given throughout, with clear guidance and lists of things to avoid/keep an eye out for.

As a business analyst, I would recommend this to anyone who works in business analysis or a related field. I sense I will be referring to this for years to come!"

~ Adrian Reed

“ ... thank you for writing Business Knowledge Blueprints. It's a wonderful book. As a seasoned data modeler it has made me question everything I had believed to be good and true. Reading the book has given me more than one 'penny drop' moment and is already inspiring some thoughts around how to bridge the gulf of understanding between business and IT, something we all struggle with."

~ Andrew Foad


“ A great book. Definitely a topic more people in data should be concerned about. There is so much rapid change in the data world, disruption through generative AI, Data Mesh, you name it. But what's been written about in this book stays relevant no matter the changes and challenges we face. Actually, it only increases in value. If we cannot communicate, how can we expect an AI to do better? Thank you for this book!"

~ Winfried Adalbert Etzel


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Part I: Introduction

Chapter 1: Why Business Concept Models

Chapter 2: The Four Dimensions of Communication Clarity

Chapter 3: What Concept Models Are About

Chapter 4: Creating Concept Models

Part II: Getting to Know the Things You Talk About

Chapter 5: Distinguishing Things

Chapter 6: Naming Things

Chapter 7: Defining Things

Chapter 8: Disambiguating Things

Part III: Standard Relations

Chapter 9: Classifications

Chapter 10: Categorizations

Part IV: Verb Concepts

Chapter 11: Verb Concepts and Wordings

Chapter 12: Nouns Based on Verbs

Chapter 13: Verb Concept Structures

Chapter 14: Verbs and Transformations

Part V: How to Define Business Terms in Plain English

Chapter 15: The Kick-Off of a Definition

Chapter 16: The Main Body of a Definition

Chapter 17: Sets of Definitions


Appendix 1: Conceptual Model vs Concept Model: Not the Same!

Appendix 2: Data Model vs Concept Model: Not the Same!

Appendix 3: EU-Rent Example



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Who is Ron Ross

Ron is one of the world’s foremost authorities on both structured and unstructured data. He is Co-Founder and Principal of Business Rule Solutions, LLC (BRS). At BRS, he has helped create concept models at hundreds of companies and government bodies.

Ron is Chair of Building Business Capabilities (BBC), the official conference of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA®). He is best known for his industry-leading work on business rules, and before that, for his contributions in the field of data design and database. He was a founder and is a principal in standards work at OMG on SBVR (Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules), the ground-breaking standard behind concept models.

Ron has keynoted dozens of conferences and given seminars to many thousands of people worldwide. He is currently Executive Editor of BRCommunity.com and its flagship on-line publication, Business Rules Journal. Ron is recognized internationally as the ‘father of business rules.’

Ron is the author of ten professional books including the first on data dictionaries and data administration in 1981. Books on business rules include the classic Business Rule Concepts: Getting to the Point of Knowledge 4th ed. (2013) and Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules 2nd ed. with Gladys S.W. Lam (2015). He is co-author with John Zachman and Roger Burlton of the 2017 Business Agility Manifesto.

Ron received DAMA International’s Individual Achievement Award for 1995. He was formerly Editor of the Data Base Newsletter from 1977 to 1998. Ron holds an M.S. in information science from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.A. from Rice University.