Customers can look beyond the short-term goal thanks to sustainable solutions that anticipate scenarios, needs, risks in search of potentials and opportunities that will also generate value in the future.
Making “forward looking” its guiding principle is a must for an IT business. It is an inspiring challenge – and a constant commitment.
Our customers, our developers, our consultants, our partners have different objectives and operate with our technologies in different ways. Yet they all benefit from foresight-inspired practices and a vision that goes beyond the present.
Data: present and future
When it comes to information, it is inevitably linked to the future. Data, along with models, is the key resource to make forecasts of future events and phenomena. Yet in many cases we collect and manage data without full awareness of all its possible applications. Future uses may include strategic purposes, reporting activities, analysis, forecasts.
For these reasons, one should manage data in every phase of its life cycle knowing that their value is not limited exclusively to that phase. It is thus necessary to guarantee the data remains complete and accurate also for possible future use.
These considerations bring about the need to describe the data with a set of additional information to characterize them in terms of ownership, semantics, business architecture. This is what stands behind data governance.
In general, predicting or simply drawing attention to what may happen leads us to managing risks, taking advantage of opportunities, anticipating, if possible, events and phenomena. This attitude can be expressed and exercised in different ways.
Acting and taking decisions considering the future
In some cases, looking ahead, looking beyond means assessing the consequences of a decision or an action beyond their immediate effects.
For a company that, like Irion, develops innovative technologies, it is crucial to preserve our customers’ investments. We have therefore ensured that the solutions developed on the version 1.0 of our platform over ten years ago still work in new releases. In fact, our ‘factory’ designs new versions with the guarantee that no expensive porting of applications from previous releases will be necessary.
In the preliminary stages of designing a solution, our consultants and architects follow the principles of sustainability and robustness. The detailed knowledge of the platform’s features and its potential allows them to design its use in a way that ensures correct operation and performance of the final result.
Irion services offer is structured to support our customers not only in the implementation of software solutions based on our technologies. Upon necessity we have a complete offer of training, education, and managed support and maintenance services up to operational management.
Acting and taking decisions inspired by the future
In some situations, the ability to prevedere o anticipare predict or anticipate competitive advantage factor. We speak of a mix of vision and prudence, which is not fortuitous intuition.
It is important to provide the conditions to activate these mechanisms. It is necessary:
- to be curious, cultivate interest for the practiced disciplines and the context and competitive scenarios in which to operate;
- to read up, research the information that satisfies this interest;
- to process the information to come up with a useful forecast.
These processes are often unstructured and unconscious, but they derive from the constant and structural application of the mentioned steps.
To be precise, there are three principles that form the base of the Irion Way: not only Forward looking, but also Declarative thinking and Agile managing. It was these principles that inspired the evolution of the Irion EDM platform and the RTG add-ons over the recent years.
In particular, the product was developed taking into account its possible use following an Agile approach. Over time this development methodology would establish itself as a winning one, particularly for “data-centric” solutions.
The information gathered from the market confirmed that there were no Enterprise Data Management Technologies on the market fit for supporting the Agile paradigm in a native way. Yet there was a sense of its immense potential. Based on that prediction, which proved to be correct, we introduced into the platform a series of features specifically designed for an Agile approach.
Agile principles include, for example, progressive convergence to the solution through releases of portions of working software and frequent discussions between the development team and the customer. The applications created with Irion are organized in building blocks. Each of them can be developed by a separate team, tested individually and then dynamically and automatically assembled to the others thanks to another proprietary technology, DELT™.
Besides, an Agile approach makes it difficult to manage and keep aligned the specifications throughout the project. For this reason, we introduced a component that allows automatically producing the documentation in the natural language of the solution at any time starting from when it is physically realized by the project team. These and other features make Irion today a tool capable of natively supporting Enterprise Data Management projects realized following the Agile paradigm.
Today certain market sectors, particularly Finance issue regulations and norms that oblige companies, although from different perspectives, to a structured management of their data assets. Over time, this has led to the need for an integrated approach based on an Enterprise Data Management model capable of giving consistent responses to different obligations.
For example, it is now clear that a system of compliance to GDPR, the new European Data Protection Regulation, should be based on a business glossary and a metadata dictionary. The latter incorporate the data governance metadata needed to support the compliance with other regulations. With time, other regulations with analogous characteristics are and will be introduced.
The phenomenon in question is therefore still in progress. Irion has been able to anticipate it by including an active modeling tool in its Ready To Go suite. This tool allows to manage models evolving in time by managing the history of changes. Thus the structure of the metadata can vary in time to support new needs while still providing information assets already registered.
Forward Looking in other contexts
We have considered the examples of how Irion has exercised this principle in its working and managing practices. It is now important to specify the nature of applicability of the Forward Looking principle in other contexts, particularly by companies that use technologies and solutions offered by Irion.
For instance, coming back to GDPR, it is interesting to note the dynamics of how companies adapt to the regulations, especially regarding set of tools.
In many cases, the initial decision is to pursue a progressive path, identifying the specific steps and tools to cover each individual obligation indicated by the Regulation. In pursuing this path, one should realize that each tool handles the data also processed by other tools. Therefore, the best way to ensure that the business’s operations are consistent with the GDPR is to consolidate all data (in particular the metadata) used by the individual modules into a single information base, a kind of data hub for the GDPR.
In our experience we have come across companies that anticipated the idea of a single vision of data for GDPR. Therefore, they first designed the model of this data hub and then an implementation program for subsequent modules. At each step of this program, hub sections that allowed the functioning of a specific module switched on progressively. Thus each new module benefits from the data already available as it was managed by the previously installed ones.
“Forward Looking” and the other principles of the Irion Way
The “Forward Looking” principle, i.e., the attitude of considering or anticipating the future, is one of the three pillars of the Irion Way. Irion adopts this approach in every corporate behavior and suggests it to partners and customers as a crucial factor for successfully managing initiatives and actions of Enterprise Data Management.
- It is Forward Looking that has led us to create a Declarative platform to support Agile projects.
- And it is the principles of Declarative Thinking and Agile Managing, physically enabled by the platform, that allow us and our customers to capitalize and materialize in solutions the insights, the perspectives, the ideas that emerge from our forward looking practices.
The effectiveness of the Irion Way comes from the integrated and systematic application of these three principles. Sustaining each other, they aim at focusing on and reaching the goals set.