Allen provided the class with two case studies on IONA Technologies.
IONA Technologies was an Irish software company. It was founded in 1991. The company began life as a campus company in Trinity College, Dublin and maintained headquarters in Dublin, Boston and Tokyo. The company specialized in distributed service-oriented architecture (SOA) infrastructure. IONA products connect systems and applications by creating a network of services without requiring a centralized server or creating an IT stack.
The first case study described how a group of Academicians & Engineers doing research and development in Trinity College made a leap to the commercial world and formed a pioneer IT company in Ireland. The company products comprised Artix suite of neutral SOA infrastructure products; Orbix, an enterprise CORBA product for security and systems management; and FUSE, an open source family of distributed SOA infrastructure products for companies seeking an open source option for system integration and SOA implementation. IONA Technologies Limited served various customers in the financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing/distribution, government, and information technology industries. The company marketed and sold its products and services through its marketing and direct sales organizations, as well as through indirect channels, including software vendors, system integrators, original equipment manufacturers, and value-added resellers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific Rim. The case study highlighted the challenges a rapidly growing start-up ICT company faces. In this particular case it was described how the IONA engineers were fixing product bugs in the client site and the obvious problems it resulted for knowledge transfer within the organisation. The lack of bug tracking and issue tracking processes within IONA bring to the forth the challenges IONA faced in delivering the quality products to the clients.
The second case study highlights the challenges a fast growing ICT company faces in managing the increasing workforce. It is important to manage the cost & complexity within the different team members & within the diverse teams in an organisation and this is where IONA struggled and had to pay the price. The over commitment by managers to the clients, the lack of workable processes, the quick fix mentality shows the bigger malice which had crept in once IONA had crossed a threshold and increased in size. Also the lack of vision and strategic direction by top management made the company put it’s resources behind dated technologies instead of innovating & researching to produce and embrace new industry standards & frameworks.