The initial version of ITAS was built on the OpenVMS Operating System and was written in DEC/VAX Basic. It included essential business logic and functionality to support traders' and accountants' day-to-day activities with a strong focus on Sugar. Movement around the screens was controlled by tab which was typical of software applications at that time and users could become very fast at data entry because the method was highly predictable. From a management perspective, ITAS ensured high levels of data integrity as the process could not be deviated from and it was a simple process to educate new users; however the features were limited.
ITAS for Windows (also known as ITAS NT and ITAS 2000) was launched following an intense transition process, involving the conversion of the code from DEC/VAX Basic into Visual Basic. The newly adopted Windows Operating System enabled a more feature rich application including colour screens, icons, graphics and most significantly navigation using a mouse. Core applications such as TRADE and CLI were introduced as part of this initial version which allowed early users to migrate from the legacy VMS version with relative ease.
Our VMS system was so popular and trusted that getting users to switch to Windows was surprisingly difficult, despite the obvious improvements that the new Operating System provided. ITAS for Windows was by now a mature product and recognised as a market leading Enterprise system. The decision was made to discontinue support and the last OpenVMS Server was switched off in 2003, 6 years after the launch of ITAS for Windows.
By 2012 we had built up a large and diverse user-base. By closely following innovation in the software development world, and working side-by-side with our loyal customers, we were able to develop a deep, feature-rich Enterprise system covering virtually all aspects of trading, risk and inventory management. The development languages of choice (now a blend of Visual Basic 6 and VB.Net) were starting to restrict our ability to innovate so investment for new technologies was secured and a new transition strategy agreed. The development team needed to grow!
A decade and a half after the launch of ITAS for Windows, software development had accelerated beyond all recognition and a huge array of new technologies were now available. In 2013, driven by a need to deliver a more modern user interface and new features, Hivedome embarked on a significant project to transition the ITAS codebase to Microsoft’s flagship technology, the .NET Framework.
Hivedome recognised the transition would be difficult and adopted a risk averse approach ensuring minimal impact to its clients. The strategy was to run the business logic of ITAS 7 alongside new desktop features while building a new architecture on which to base the new platform. A technological vision of the future was emerging.
In March 2015, the first version of ITAS 8, “Trader Desktop” was released. This modern Desktop application delivered new ‘user focused’ features such as personal tiles, alerts and notifications and Enterprise level features including a Reporting Database and Web Services.
Alerts delivered a much-sought feature enabling users to be notified when data changed, or a system process succeeded or failed, while the Reporting Database enables external systems and reporting solutions to access ITAS data without disrupting operational activities. Web Services offered an in-road to live data and could be extended much further. Via the Web Services API, risk, accounting or customer relationship applications could directly read and update data in the ITAS database, web based screens could be created so that data could be read via a phone or contracts created on a tablet.
Hivedome continued to build on this momentum and quickly delivered additional features including an MDI (Dock-able) Desktop so users could personalise their view.
This was delivered alongside several Platform level features such as a re-architected API and a new Web Portal. The API was extended to fully support GraphQL and oData, enabling queries far deeper into the data and across indirectly related ITAS entities. For the first time our Enterprise clients were able to form their own API queries, allowing them to use the data relevant to their specific requirements. Integration with Enterprise systems supplied by SAP, ORACLE and Microsoft were now possible and workflow development was now largely in the hands of our clients' IT departments. Self-service was now a reality.
The Web Portal not only offered access via tablet or phone but also gave the ability for our clients' clients to access and process their own data. Screens could now be customised so that different users would see only the fields made available under configuration. Our powerful Document Management Service also became available via Web Portal.
And the story is not over. Today ITAS has become a true Enterprise Business Platform and includes APIs, Reporting Databases and a sophisticated Notification service. Access to your data is available via web and phone, complementing our feature-rich Desktop application. With deep industry knowledge accumulated from many years of collaboration with our clients and excellent technical capabilities, Hivedome's developers are uniquely positioned to understand commodity trading and origination and provide Adaptable Solutions to give our clients the edge.