Our June webinar from DATAVERSITY’S Data Insights & Analytics webinar series featured Malcolm Chisholm, First San Francisco Partners’ Chief Innovation Officer, along with our President 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:
- Data Warehouses and Data Marts
- Customer Master Data Management (MDM)
- Big Data projects for analytics
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).
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.