Stefan Preston, Chief Executive Officier, Ingenio
The popular adage of Ernest Rutherford says, “We didn’t have the money, so we had to think”.
A couple of years ago, I realized that the two companies we started, and the 4 companies where I am a director/shareholder were all bottle-necked due to the inability of their tech teams to develop solutions reliably or cost-effectiveness within a practical time frame. This set me off on a journey of discovery and experimentation which has now brought me to the realization that the whole framework of enterprise computing is about to change dramatically.
For small businesses there is a wealth of SaaS offerings covering nearly every use-case or role you can imagine. Because they are typically built with great UI and narrow scope, they require little training. These offerings have great API’s and are often federated with others so that non-tech’s can connect them into entry-level ERP systems.
Then we discovered Graph databases. These have been around for a long time but have traditionally been the domain of the science community where there has been a need to analyze very large data sets. Graph DB’s are extremely scalable and not dependent on inflexible data models. With the help of open-source community, cloud infrastructure, hardware improvements like GPU acceleration and low latency web connectivity, Graph DB’s can now also be used for transactional data sets. This has yielded the possibility of a single unified data pool into which an organization can pour the data from all their client applications, ERP systems, public services and anything else they can think of.
"A web-based architecture running on a single Graph DB can be a low-cost way to unravel decades of technical debt. "
ERP systems were great when companies were designed around products. But a monolithic application built around products is hopeless in an age where we need systems designed around people interacting in an ecosystem. For example how do you support a market place for products and services that involves many different users if you are using an ERP plus a data warehouse as your core data infrastructure?
A web-based architecture running on a single Graph DB can be a low-cost way to unravel decades of technical debt in larger companies with large numbers of SQL databases, legacy applications, multiple integrations, middleware and all of the mess that usually accompanies legacy business models. Because of the flexibility of the graph data pool and semantics, it is possible now to add applications or migrate functionality to the new stack in small modules involving only a handful of people with no single point of failure. And every project can have a commercial return.