Making data meaningful has become an industry in itself and Dublin-based start-up, Derilinx, spotted a niche in the market for a data management platform aimed at public sector bodies both in Ireland and abroad.
Derilinx was co-founded by Deirdre Lee and Fergal Marrinan in 2014 and is a spin-out from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway. The concept for the business originated as part of an Enterprise Ireland-supported commercialisation project at the centre and the company began trading at the end of 2014. It has a team of four people and expects to generate 25 jobs within the next three years. It is already revenue generating and heading towards a turnover of €500,000.
Lee is an expert in the digital government domain and the Derilinx platform assists data-driven public services to make the best use of the information they have to inform decision-making, innovation and change. An example would be using data related to water level monitoring to determine flooding patterns and offer appropriate remedial actions on the back of it.
The current problem is that data projects typically rely on information from a number of sources. However, this data is rarely uniform and can be of poor quality and out of date.
“It has been said that data is the new oil: it is valuable and can fuel innovation. But just like oil it can be hard to source. It also needs to be of high quality to be useful. This is where Derilinx comes in,” Lee says.
“Our platform provides secure access to high-quality data that resides in a variety of different data sources and, unlike other offerings on the market, our platform enables organisations in the early stages of data use to ensure they have clean data in appropriate formats to work with.
“But for any new technology to be adopted it has to be intuitive, easy-to-use and embedded in existing processes. These are the fundamental guiding principles of the Derilinx platform.” says Lee.
Lee graduated in ICT from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. She then spent two years as a research assistant in IBM's lab in Zurich before completing an MSc in Computer Science at Trinity College and joining the Insight Centre as a research associate in 2008. Lee is also co-chair of the international W3C Data on the Web Best Practice working group.
“Data growth remains IT’s biggest challenge and experts are predicting a 4,300 per cent increase in annual data generation by 2020,” Lee says. “One sector that is positioned for particular growth is the public sector and we are addressing a fundamental problem faced by government bodies globally so our platform is aimed at the international market. Our current customer base includes central government departments, local government agencies and public-sector bodies.”
Derilinx's plan is to position itself as the global leader in linked open data and data governance and it is currently collaborating with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on Ireland's National Open Data Initiative.
Lee says the company’s launch timing is good as there is a big push underway internationally for public bodies to put more data into the public domain. In addition they are also coming under pressure to make better use of the data they hold internally.
“With the Derilinx platform there is greatly improved management of data processes and this paves the way for evidence-based decision making, cost savings through greater organisational efficiencies and improved use of business intelligence,” Lee says. She estimates that in Ireland and the UK alone there are around 1,200 public sector bodies that could benefit from using her company’s platform.