seven reasons why enterprise architects are entitled to a cloud-based EA Tool

vrijdag 1 mei 2015 | Likes: 0 | Comments: 0

Mark Paauwe

VP Product Development

Dragon1 Inc

Below are seven reasons why it is recommended to use an EA tool for creating visual communication products in the organization.

Especially when working with enterprise architecture is a priority on the agenda, the architecture documents are piling up to chaos and every year the discussion is redone about what is architecture and if entity relationship diagrams are architecture models, without actually getting any further.

Any of these seven arguments below show how I as a Visual Enterprise Architect have observed, practiced and experienced Enterprise Architecture and how I have used Dragon1, the cloud-based EA Tool, to create pragmatic visual architecture solutions.

1. Management

If we see enterprise architecture as an instrument that needs to be taken and managed seriously just as Sales or Purchasing, it is advisable to start using a specialized EA Tool for this. Professional sales, such as cross-selling and up-selling, using a 360 client view or doing purchasing in a smart way, like eProcurement and Maverick buying, none of this is easy and few people do this without the use of a specialized CRM-tool or Purchasing tool. Administration and management of personnel files at the HR department and bookkeeping at the Finance department are almost never done anywhere without specialized tooling. To have enterprise architects do their work properly, efficiently and effectively and to control the number of produced architecture documents it is a smart thing to start using a specialized EA tool from the start of working with architecture in the organization.

2. Consistency

When an organization first starts to explore 'how to work with architecture' using various and own methods and techniques, chances are that created fragments of architecture do not fit (gaps and overlaps). Nor they can be assembled into one coherent piece of work. By using a specialized architecture tool and edit or adjust the present examples in the tool to your own situation, one can be sure that architecture is stored and administered as a consistent and coherent whole.

"Using a specialized EA Tool brings consistency into models and stimulates reuse of building blocks as opposed to non specialized EA Tools"

3. Reuse

Every organizations has a current architecture (the AS-IS architecture). Every physical operation, logical construction of a project of change in the organization is enabled or constrained in freedom of moment by the AS-IS Architecture of the organization. With an architecture tool, it is much more easy to collaborate on documenting, charting, visualizing in a coherent and consistent way the complete AS-IS architecture, with everyone focussing on his or her part (fragment, system or domain). Building blocks that are defined and designed by one architect can be published in a repository in the tool for reuse by other architects for charting his part of the architecture. The presence alone of an Architecture tool in organizations sometimes already set architects on the path of spontaneous charting the current (AS-IS) architecture of the organization. Without having an architecture tool chances are much lower that spontaneously the AS-IS architecture is being charted, or that activity will be planned.

4. Distribution of Tasks

With a cloud-based architecture tool tasks can be distributed much easier than without cloud-based architecture tool: tasks can be distributed based on experience and on specialism. One team member may focus on shapes, definitions and relationships of terms, another team member creates the blueprints and roadmaps. A third one takes care of the underlying metamodels and someone else does research for the correct concepts and principles. If and when an organization chooses to work with a cloud-based enterprise architecture tool immediately the benefits of collaboration with a repository will be revealed. Any time, any place, anywhere members of the team and stakeholders can collaborate on architecture via one and the same tool.

5. Administration

The world is changing more rapidly every day and so your coherent set of information systems in the organization. If architecture documents are created with office automation software, such as a word processor, spreadsheet application or a presentation tool than it requires a lot of manual labor and time to continuously process all changes a 100% consistent is all the separate documents. With an architecture tool, one is able to generate complete Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and Excel sheets using building blocks in an architecture tool. Also, changes in models will automatically be processed the in visualizations used in real-time generated documents. So will always have an accurate and up-to-date report of the current situation.

6. Costs / Benefits Ratio

It is always justified to invest in an architecture tool because of significant increased productivity of its users; Users can process changes more quickly, consistent and integral, no more time is wasted on making documents consistent by several people and time is saved because the wheel is not reinvented anymore. Reuse of building blocks is made very easy by means of a repository mechanism. The business case for or return on investment (ROI) of an EA Tool is sometimes less than a month if its, for instance, prevents employees looking for hours for a certain document with specific information, using wrong document versions, or not finding documents and duplicating existing documents.

"Do you take a sales team very seriously and do you expect them to work efficient and effective without them having a specialized CRM tool?"

7. Maturity

An often heard remark from practitioners is: we are just starting to work with architecture in the organization. It is much to early to go and use an architecture tool. First, we need to get some experiences in working with architecture, to be anyhow capable of creating a TO-BE architecture, and to do some organizational changes to embed architecture better. With professional architecture tool, you start from the beginning with a phased approach and in maturity levels. For instance: if you have never ever done anything with architecture, first chart the AS-IS architecture of a domain or system in your organization you know very well. Also, your apprentice colleagues at the sales department often first start to enter the current contacts, clients and products of the organization, before they analyze the market for trends and opportunities using graphical report created with complicated queries in the CRM-tool.

Dragon1

You probably will understand I am not talking about any EA tool here and not every EA Tool holds features to comply with each mentioned argument. Dragon1, the cloud-based EA tool actually does comply with all these seven arguments. Dragon1 is more and more often used as a source as the base for working with enterprise architecture in an organization. With Dragon1 you practically take over control visually on your organization. Dragon1 is much more than just a modeling tool for creating views on Entity Relationship Diagrams. Dragon1 is a cloud-based EA Tool for designing architectures (total concepts) and monitoring the realization of this integral business- and IT-concepts for enterprise-structures.

Next to creating models, it is possible to create with care and attention in Dragon1 powerful visualizations of these models. These visualizations can be made interactive (clickable). With for instance the objective of supporting the board, directors and management of the organization in taking strategic decisions with correct and quickly generated up-to-date architecture visualizations. Such interactive maps, atlases and design books have proven to be very effective means of communications. And alas in most cases not already done. Creating a design book or interactive map is what I call an Architectural Quick Win!

Finally

Rounding up, from a proactive management point of view, increased consistency, more reuse, better or improved balanced distribution task, realistic administration capacity utilization and correct cost/benefit analysis, enterprise architects are entitled, just like their colleagues, to a specialized tool. In their case an EA Tool.

My advise to organizations is to start at any time with creating an architecture framework diagram and to visualize their AS-IS Enterprise Architecture and domain architectures that are on that Architecture Framework Diagram. This because the current situation of architecture is constantly of impact on the business operations and projects of change.

"Transform your AS-IS Architecture into a new Architecture Plateau with an EA Tool to give your enterprise strategy more room to execute"

Also implement a process to regularly on a monthly or quarterly basis update your AS-IS architecture visualization as EA Baseline for every architecture recognized. Once the AS-IS Enterprise Architecture is pictured enough is become more tangible and controllable. Compliance views on company standards, policies and architecture principles can be generated using the AS-IS architecture. A set of coherent and reinforcing measures to transform the AS-IS architecture into a new architecture plateau that gives more room to the companies strategy to execute, can easily taken be taken. By using Dragon1 as cloud-based EA Tool for this task, success is inevitable.

Related Terms

EA Tool Definition