Affiliated with:

Ronald G. Ross

Ronald G. Ross

Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC; Executive Editor, www.BRcommunity; Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC) Conference, the official conference of IIBA®; Speaker; Author; Innovator  

Ron is recognized internationally as the ‘father of business rules.’ He is a sought-after speaker at conferences worldwide. More than 100,000 people have heard him speak; many more have attended his seminars and read his books, articles, and posts.

Ron is the author of 10 professional books including the groundbreaking first book on business rules in 1994, and on concept models in 2020. Ron was co-author of The Business Agility Manifesto in 2017, and editor of the Business Rules Manifesto in 2003.

BRS specializes in concept modeling, business rules, decision engineering, policy interpretation, and business knowledge engineering. Ron is the creator of RuleSpeak®.

Previously, Ron was Editor of the Data Base Newsletter from 1977 to 1998. He wrote several of the first books on databases, data dictionaries, and entity modeling in the 1970s & 1980s.

What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?

When I went to graduate school in 1973-1974 in information science, there was only 1 one-hour lecture on databases during the entire program. That’s all. I was immediately hooked. It seemed obvious it was a very big deal.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?

Over the years, countless people have come to me, some after many, many years, and said some seminar of mine they attended had literally changed their life. I am very grateful for having had that opportunity.

What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?

Society is in a period of rapid disruption and displacement. We are already living in the knowledge age, but we simply aren’t acting like it in our professional practices. Ironically, digital is connecting more and more people, but at the same time, disconnecting people from core knowledge and its management. The challenge I set for myself, and my company is to provide practical approaches to move companies and professionals to the next level of capability in their data and knowledge practices.

How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?

In the last decade, a major insight was that structured data and unstructured data need to be considered in the same mix. Think ML-based AI. In the coming decade, we will come to see data as part of the larger messaging problem in the organization, involving both informal and formal forms of business communication. To eliminate ambiguity, miscommunication, and waste in a digital world, it is essential. Today, organizations are disintegrating knowledge-wise.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I love innovating ideas and expressing them. If I can do more of that, I will be quite satisfied. And if the pandemic is ever over, I will travel for fun, not business. (Big difference!)

What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far?  Why has it been so important to you?

Concepts are strictly in your mind. You cannot be sure other people share the same concepts unless you can express them clearly. And for that, you will always need words (and good writing skills).

Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?

As an undergraduate, I started out in physics but ended up with a degree in anthropology. People have a hard time connecting those dots. Easy. Both anthropology and data are about beliefs, customs, and language. (I can also juggle.)

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