Case Study - The Open Data Model


Case Study - The Open Data Model®

Written by Rodger Nixon and Quentin Griffiths


The Open Data Model®

The Open Data Model® is a ground-breaking cloud-based metadata repository, conceived by Rodger Nixon and built by YouDo.  One of New Zealand’s pioneer software entrepreneurs, Rodger is best known as a founder of the Christchurch company that created EXSYS, an expert system for software development Gartner Group called “The first fifth generation language.”  The Open Data Model® builds on insights on the potential of metadata Rodger gained from EXSYS and his experiences in senior roles with a range of multi-nationals where he saw their problems at first-hand

Business Challenge

Metadata repositories are a specialized sub-class of “enterprise software.”  Large enterprises share a number of seemingly intractable problems.  The big one is the millstone around their necks created by large portfolios of aging legacy systems.  Gartner Group estimates up to 90% of IT resources are consumed by “lights on” maintenance, leaving little for innovation.  Another intractable problem, the outcome of years of silo development, is that of data redundancy, the same data in many places often with different values.  The loss of data quality affects all areas of the business.  A third problem, also resulting from silo development, is the ad-hoc growth of complex communication networks for inter-application data sharing.  No application is an island.  Upstream and downstream data dependencies greatly increase the risks associated with any effort to remediate the other problems.

The lack of resources and loss of “institutional memory” (the knowledge they had of their data assets when they first implemented these systems) puts enterprises in a bind.  They can see the benefits of digital transformation but without control of their data they face huge costs and risks in making that transition.


The Open Data Model® is a SaaS data governance ecosystem that puts total control of all your data at your fingertips.  Its advanced data metadata repository lets you see instantly what your legacy data is, where it is, how it got there and how it gets used.  All data gets mapped to a powerful semantic model in the form of a future state Canonical Data Model through which you gain an enterprise spanning view of your data.  It reduces the cost and risk of maintenance and reveals data redundancy and inconsistency.  It is the speed with which it enables this control to be established that distinguishes the Open Data Model® from traditional metadata repositories.  Benefits are literally obtained immediately.

The Canonical Data Model shows how the data spread across your silos would be held if data redundancy and inconsistency were eliminated and you had a “single source of truth."  This is the ideal state to which everyone aspires but assumes will cost millions and the risks of a “big bang” rewrite to achieve.  The Open Data Model® enables the enterprise to quickly and systematically transform their aging systems to a fully integrated state-of-the-art cloud-based solution to their computing needs.  It gives them a fact-based-roadmap for digital transformation and the functionality that will enable them to bring their 20th century legacy systems into the 21st century.

For YouDo, developing the Open Data Model® was a large, technically challenging project that took some of our most talented developers several years to bring it to its current production ready state. Working alongside Rodger, YouDo continue to innovate with new iterations being created year on year.

Customer Implementation

Open Data Model® customer, MBIE, is achieving exactly these benefits.  They, possibly alone among all Government agencies, know everything about every last one of the tens of thousands of data items in their legacy systems.  Following establishment of this level of control, Immigration New Zealand will within the next few months bring into production a new system that follows exactly the incremental, project-based model for digital transformation prescribed by the Open Data Model®.  Now the software is available on the Government Procurement Marketplace it will be easier for other agencies to follow their lead.


Check out Computerworld’s article on The Open Data Model;

Open Data Model promises to accelerate metadata management - Computerworld