Tactical business application

In 2011 the administration of the Tuscany Region contracted to a major system integrator the development of a large software system (based on IBM DB2  and IBM WebSphere) to manage all its international activities and the related information: partner organizations and their contact persons, activities carried on (structure, classification, location, objectives and results), governance actions and accounting records (decrees, expenditure commitments, liquidations).

At the same time, the administration contracted another consultancy firm (Leman Consulting) to gather electronic and paper documentation about the projects, and to extract all the relevant information that would have to be injected into the system, once completed.

After just a few months, however, the administration realized that the amount of information gathered by Leman Consulting was so huge and so heavily structured that a temporary “tactical” application was necessary to manage and review such data while the final system was being developed. Since new types of information were regularly discovered into documentation gathered around, the technology required to create the tactical application had to be extremely flexible with respect to refinements and extensions of the underlying data model.

After evaluating several options, Leman chose Livebase as the reference platform for building the tactical application: in less than a week an analyst created with the Livebase Designer a first version of the data model based on the structure of the documentation gathered at that time, and then refined the model with a number of data-quality constraints to be enforced.

The generated application featured a number of structured forms properly connected, which allowed an entire team to enter all the data extracted from the documentation in a very efficient and controlled way. At the same time, Livebase allowed to gradually extend the model whenever needed, regenerate the tactical application and morph the schema of its database while preserving the content.

The Livebase model-driven development cycle proved to be so efficient that the data model of the tactical application soon become the master reference also for the database of the final system. In fact, when the final system was completed, the MySQL database generated by Livebase was translated into the final IBM DB2 database with a commercial tool.

In conclusion, the Tuscany Region has tactically leveraged the power and the flexibility of the Livebase platform to design, adapt and populate the database of the final system (based on IBM technologies) while it was being developed, therefore parallelizing two activities that would otherwise have to be carried out in sequence.