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Events and Webinars

DIA Webinar Recap: Data-Centric Development


Our June webinar from DATAVERSITY’S Data Insights & Analytics webinar series featured Malcolm Chisholm, First San Francisco Partners’ Chief Innovation Officer, along with our Chief Delivery Officer John Ladley as moderator. This month’s topic: Data-Centric Development and why organizations that are truly data-driven are shifting their focus from process-centric development to a data-centric approach.

At the beginning of the webinar, Malcolm compared the two development methodologies by saying:

  • Process-centric development is for traditional projects for computerized systems that automate a process and where data is thought of as a by-product.
  • Data-centric development is focused on building a system that is to purely manage data in some way and not to automate a business process.

Adding a caveat, Malcolm stated there is always overlap between the two — as process is a part of data-centric projects and data exists in process-centric projects. Even with the overlap, the leading methodology’s focus is noticeably different.

Malcolm shared examples of how organizations use these methodologies, along with examples of initiatives:

  • Process-centric development projects automate some aspect of the enterprise. Often, it’s automation of a manual process or the upgrade of an existing automated process and with no particular focus on the data. Examples include:
    • Point-of-sale systems
    • Payroll systems
    • Medical billing systems
  • Data-centric development projects get value out of pre-existing data or from curating data so separate areas of the enterprise can derive value from it. Examples include:

Malcolm used a timeline to show how the past 50+ years have seen periods when different technologies dominated for specific use cases. He said that while there has been some movement from process-centricity to data-centricity, the 1960s-era Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) project development methodology is still almost universally used (including its Agile variants).

Different technologys for use cases

Malcolm Chisholm’s “Different Technologies for Different Use Cases” illustration from the June 2017 Data-Centric Development webinar.

Data-Centric Development Life Cycle

Malcolm introduced our proprietary Data-Centric Development Life Cycle (DCLC) on the webinar as a methodology that:

  • Recognizes specific activities needed for a data-centric project, instead of abstracting them into over-generalizations like “analysis.”
  • Provides for real iterations that lead to refinement of information requirements, instead of a single-requirements activity.
  • Understands some activities can be carried out in parallel, instead of the linear flow of SDLC and Agile.

These are just a few of the June webinar highlights. If you missed it, visit DATAVERSITY’S webinar archive to catch the reply.

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