September 15, 2021
5 min read

Ellie’s Journey Towards a brighter future!

Data modeling
Team Ellie
Ellie editorial team

What is the history of Ellie and what it is today?

Ellie Technologies has been around for a couple of years, and what a ride it has been!

In the beginning, we were just a small startup with what was basically just an MVP (minimum viable product) of a data modeling tool – now we’ve got a great product and a bunch of major corporations as clients. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to introduce something new that brings value to so many people!

Nowadays we have an ever-growing number of companies approaching us from all corners of the world asking for more information about Ellie. We have also more and more investors knocking on our door asking to join in on the success.

For both groups, there are some basic questions that need answers: What is Ellie? What Ellie does? and How it will conquer the world?

We can consider three different perspectives from which to answer: user perspective, decision-maker (or investor), and our own vision.

For us, our plan is simple: we are reinventing data modeling and bringing it to a whole new level. Let’s have a closer look at what that really means.

How does Ellie align with the user’s perspective?

First, there is the user’s perspective: what would an Ellie user have to say about the product. What sort of problems do they solve with Ellie? For us, this is the most important point of view; at the end of the day, the users are the ones that actually create real value with Ellie.

Many of them are using Ellie to define and understand the real scope of a data project such as data warehousing/lakes, MDM, Data Governance, or Data Mesh.

As we all know, there are loads of skilled data engineers, architects, developers, scientists, and other technical experts building fantastic data pipelines, database structures, and all kinds of technological components. However, with the enormous amounts of data everywhere, none of these data professionals can usually get to the core of the actual problem – the business reason of why this work is done, and what it is actually about.

To ensure that their development work goes in the right direction, there has to be a definition of scope or specifications on what’s the information content that needs to be processed, in terms of actual business rather than complicated technological solutions.

That’s where Ellie steps in. Our users can gather and transform the business requirements into the language of data by building conceptual data models in Ellie. Being 100% cloud-based, Ellie then allows them to easily share these models across the organization. Data models in Ellie are linked to the so-called business glossary. The business entities of the glossary are defined once and utilized many times in various models. This reusability and interconnection between models mean that “behind the scenes” Ellie is building a network of models, representing eventually the entire information architecture of an organization.

Ellie is often integrated into other software and applications such as data warehouse automation tools or data catalogues to further improve the connection between business requirements and technical development. According to our clients’ testimonials, Ellie provenly improves the level of automation in data projects; this is achieved by turning complex business problems into structured models.

All in all, our customers just love this, and the usual comments after a while are to the tune of “how could we ever have done this without Ellie”!

Decision maker/investor perspective

Most commonly, companies approach us because they have heard about Ellie from a colleague or a peer. The users of Ellie who spread the good word around are generally data professionals, with job titles such as Data Architect very common among them.

These people, however, are not often the managers or decision-makers. What usually happens is that the Data Architect asks for a demo, after which they tell their bosses (perhaps the CIO, CDO, or CFO): “Look, this Ellie tool would help us a great deal by saving us time and money. Perhaps we could add it to our tech stack?”

The CxO’s, like most external investors, are not experts in all of the new data management software and tech in the market. They look at the bigger picture; their line of thinking is “get us whatever would help us to become data-driven”.

Investors and decision-makers usually want us to label ourselves in a category. What existing (legacy) tool Ellie replaces, they might ask? In which Gartner Magic Quadrant it fits?

The answer to such questions is that Ellie can be best positioned as a metadata tool:  It helps you to understand your data landscape and unlock the value of the data.

However, our way of doing this via fast and easy, business-friendly data modeling is different from many others. We’re not necessarily directly replacing any existing tool, we are introducing a new and better way to do things!

Consider, for example, Snowflake: it would be silly to call it just a “database tool”. They have come up with something that transforms many aspects of the technical side of things. This is what we also aim to achieve with Ellie.

This brings us to the last perspective, which is our own vision of what the future would look like.

Internal vision – Part 1. How does Ellie envision becoming “Google Maps of Data Management”?

From day one, we identified one major problem that, in many cases, prevents data projects from delivering real value to the business stakeholders.

Fancy data management technologies don’t really add much value if you don’t understand the connection between data and business. This connection is often lost in the details of technical solutions. So how could we see the forest from the trees?

Let’s use an analogy of geographical maps such as Google Maps. When you zoom out, you see a bigger area, but at the same time, smaller details disappear – only districts or bigger roads are visible. If all the small alleys and everything would still be kept on the map, it would become basically unreadable.

This is how zooming in and out works. Sometimes you are interested in seeing a larger portion of the map, in other use cases you need to see the exact building where you’re heading to.

This is exactly the case with your data landscape, too. Corporations have hundreds of IT systems, applications, databases, and files where their data resides. If you were to draw an architectural diagram or some kind of visualization of it all, containing all the possible details, it would be a complete mess that nobody can understand.

Ellie aims to be the “Google Maps of data management”: we want to give the user different “levels of zoom” into their data so that a suitable level of abstraction can be found for every user and every situation.

On the highest level, we have business entities and their definitions; on the lowest level, we will have detailed models of technical solutions.

These levels will be linked together, giving the user the ability to navigate back and forth between different levels of models. In the modern enterprise with huge amounts of data and technology everywhere, this kind of ability to understand the big picture is sorely lacking in many cases.

Internal vision – Part 2. How does Ellie aims to become a Collaboration Platform?

Understanding, using, and utilizing your data assets is a collaborative effort. In today’s data management discourse, there’s no one left who would claim that data projects are purely IT projects that should be handled by IT departments, IT consultants, and programmers.

Most of the data world has by now come to realize that in order to get real business value out of data projects, larger audiences within the company need to be involved in the development of data capabilities.

In addition to development projects, we also claim that collaboration is vital for Data Governance efforts. Data Governance is often considered protective, bureaucratic, and rule-based. Obviously, this defensive aspect of it is really vital, as some data are really protected by privacy regulations and legislation. GDPR is serious stuff!

However, defence alone won’t get you far: if a company wants to succeed in the 2020s, it needs to understand how to utilize data as part of its digitalization to grow business. This is the offensive aspect of Data Governance: how to enable wider and more effective data usage?

Solving this requires collaboration: you need to enable people to work together, to communicate, and to develop practices for sharing common understanding.

In Ellie, sharing the easily understandable models, and enabling easy access to all stakeholders, is absolutely at the very core of everything we do. In the future, we will be bringing in even more sophisticated features to support efficient remote teamwork.

Our secret sauce for enabling collaboration and cooperation is the usability of the tool: Ellie is and will always be so easy to use that the less technically skilled people won’t be running away screaming when they encounter Ellie (because that’s the case with most of the other tools in your average data tech stack!)

We’re moving constantly forward, and the future looks really bright for us right now. We’re growing at a high speed both in terms of revenue and team size; as an example of the latter, as we already announced earlier this year, perhaps the most influential data modeler in the world Steve Hoberman joined our team as a Senior Advisor.

It’s going to be a great journey, and it has only started. Interested in more? Just book a demo here.