Saturday, February 25, 2017

Q&A on EA: Is there any website that compare Enterprise architect modelling tools?

Here are a couple of questions from an online forum and my responses:


I am comparing Sparx System’ Enterprise Architect, Software AG’s ARIS, and MEGA HOPEX. Already search on the web with no good result. Is there any web or blogpost that compate these tools in terms of their features? I am looking for UML, data modelling, BPMN and TOGAF support.

Websites and blogs comparing EA tools are going to be subjective (and may be biased on a tool or domain). The better question to be asking is about fitment of tool/s vs your requirements.
Years ago, I lead an Enterprise Architecture survey (link), the outcome of which was interesting: An Observation that Visio is by far the most popular and common "tool" to document Architecture. Others like Powerpoint and even Word are prevalent too.
This was true even in organizations using EA tools (like the ones you named). The situation is no different in 2017. We continually have a similar debate on tools at my organization, a global 1000 company that has teams across the globe, and have a “best of the breed” approach for specific BDAT requirements.
Why? Many EA tools are really good “Swiss Army Knives,” but need a lot of support and inputs from SMEs and the different domains before they can enable insights.

The requirement you state are very broad “UML, data modelling, BPMN and TOGAF support.” So, I am assuming that you are looking for "tools" to document an EA Journey in your Enterprise; perhaps for a transformation program?
I am also assuming that you work for a large organization - since EA tools require an investment in dedicated infrastructure and support (in addition to licensing costs)
The scope of an EA, especially in a large organization is broad and will cover EA domains (BDAT), functional domains and platforms. For a broader documentation of your landscape and some BPMN and UML support, you could leverage some of the tools you mentioned. However, some domains will require specialized tools. For instance, data-modelling is a very specialized activity, best done with specific tools (Comparison of data modeling tools - Wikipedia ).
Assuming your EA modeling requirements are well defined and you have the executive support, you should evaluate toolsets for distinct requirements, especially if your organization also has invested in major ERPs (e.g SAP shops will prefer “Solution Manager”) or SaaS solutions (e.g Force.com)

(you may message me if you need further guidance or consulting inputs on the way forward)


I have been working as solution architect and organization required us to take care of EA function as well that was not present earlier. So far we have established EA repository and started using Archimate framework but I want to dig in further to add more value to business.


A few “tips” for you (not necessarily in order of importance)
  • Learn – preferably undergo formal training and certification – in a formal Architecture framework like TOGAF or others that is used in your organization
  • Learn and try to engage stakeholders in other BDAT domains. As you are from a technical background, breaking into the “B”usiness Architecture is the key to success. This assumes you have some exposure to Information, Data and Technology architecture in addition to Application Architecture.
  • “B”usiness Architecture in some organizations may be the domain of Business Analysts, Business Process consultants etc. Try and engage with them, especially as needs of transformational programs arise
  • Engage in Transformational programs. This will give you necessary exposure to the tactics involved in “strategy realization” and also help you engage with stakeholders.
  • Continue to engage with external forums – Q&A groups like this, Linkedin Forums etc, and also other face-to-face forums in your city or region. This will help you contribute to the community and learn with them