How to Create A Process Application Landscape

This tutorial will guide you through the steps to create an interactive Process Application Landscape Overview on the Dragon1 platform. The tutorial will teach you how to publish this visualization on the devices of the stakeholders who want to use it, to manage projects, processes, and IT.

dragon1 process application landscape diagram

An example Process Application diagram created in the Visual Designer.

This tutorial from start to finish takes about 4 hours if you have never done it before. And if you have created landscapes about four or five times, this tutorial can be done within an hour. You can do this tutorial all by yourself or split the task up into a group.

This tutorial teaches you to create a dynamic architecture visualization, not a static architecture visualization. This means that once set up, if the data or the model is changed, the published visualization that is seen and used by stakeholders via the Viewer on their iPad or iPhone is also automatically updated. Of course, you can also make static backup copies that do not change.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives are:

  • What is a Process Application Landscape?
  • Why create a Process Application Landscape?
  • Setup a Dossier Structure
  • Importing Data
  • Defining New Attributes
  • Entering and Enriching Data Manually
  • Creating a Model
  • Connecting the Model with the Data
  • Creating Views
  • Using a Template
  • Drawing Shapes on the Canvas
  • Creating Visual Items
  • Creating Indicators
  • Using Popup Dialogs
  • Using Tracking and Tracing
  • Using Click-Through Links
  • Publishing a Visualization
  • Use the Changes and Updates window
  • Using the Workflow window
  • Using the Comments features
  • Filtering the Views and Visualization
  • Processing Comments and Messages
  • Printing a Report

In the following paragraph each of these learning objectives is discussed.

What is a process application landscape

A process application landscape is the structure and/or coherent set of all-important business functions, business domains, business processes, information systems, services, business objects, modules, functionalities, building blocks, software applications, components, interfaces, and databases and their platforms, technologies, types, and interdependencies, with regards to business continuity.

The difference between a process application blueprint and a process application landscape is the level of detail and its purpose. The purpose of a blueprint is to guide design and building activities. A blueprint, therefore, contains functional and technical details. The purpose of a landscape is to inform the management of the structure and dependencies. A landscape, therefore, contains generic functional and technical information.

A second definition is: a process application landscape is the management overview of all business processes, business objects, and software applications in an organization.

Next to the definition that comes from the Dragon1 open EA Method, we advise visualizing landscapes using a certain View Layout. As architecture is defined as a total concept and seen as the bridge between strategy and transformation, architecture visualizations are best visualized with strategy at the left-hand side, architecture in the middle, and transformation at the right-hand side. In this way, stakeholders will see at the left 'why things need to be done', in the middle 'how the solutions must be built', and on the right 'how the building of the solutions must be executed'. In this way, the architecture visualizations can be used to manage projects and direct changes.

Setup Dossier Structure

If you are going to create a process application landscape you need to create a cabinet, dossier, and some folders in your repository where you can store data. Typically you would set up folders like: Data, Models, Views, Viewpoints, and Visualizations.

To setup a dossier structure

Importing Data

You can now start creating a process application overview by importing data automatically or entering data manually. So you either follow this step or skip it and go to the second step.

As said in the definition of a process application landscape, you need to have certain data to be able to create a process application landscape. This data is often available in all kinds of systems and spreadsheets in your organization. And the data will be stored in the folders you created.

To import data:

Defining New Attributes

Dragon1 has by default 400+ Entity classes. Read here more about the Dragon1 EA Modeling Language

Every Entity class by default has 10 user data attributes, like name, title, description, type, and a few system data attributes like internal ID. Now it could be that you want your data attributes for an entity class. Say you want to administer 'Budget' at stakeholder, you can enter Budget as User Defined Attribute. When importing data, entering data, and creating views and indicators, you can make use of that value.

To create user-defined attributes:

Entering and Enriching Data Manually

We have discussed importing data automatically, now we look at entering data manually. If you want to enter a process or application or even enter 100 processes or 100 applications manually, it is a task that can easily be accomplished.

Also the data you imported can be enriched. Maybe not all fields you need for views and indicators are filled by default.

To enter data manually:

Creating a Model

Now you are at the point where you have data in your folder, but the data is not connected. In this step, we are going to connect the data. Creating relationships between entities is called modeling. You give the data structure, shape/form.

One unique thing is that when data changes, the model, view, and visualization change automatically. That is why we create models based on stored data.

You are going to drag the entities from the folder structure onto a model canvas.

To create a model:

Connecting the Model with the Data

This step is not always necessary. It could be that the data entities are used to create a model, but that the model entity is not interconnected with the data entity (an invisible lifeline one could say).

If you switch a model to the Normal model, every entity that is not correctly linked to a data item, will be marked red.

To link entities and entity classes in a model correctly with data entities:

  • Read the Connect Data With A Model page

Creating Views

After we have one or more models that link the data with each other we need to define views. As said earlier the landscape overview is a canvas with a lot of views for various topics on it (strategy, architecture, and transformation). A view is a filter on a model, so for every topic, we create a view: like mission, stakeholder, requirements, processes, applications, projects, and deliverables.

To create the views for the process application landscape:

Using a Template

Dragon1 is not only an EA Tool or platform but also an open EA Method. In this method architecture (as a total concept) is placed between strategy and transformation to act as a bridge or integral enterprise blueprint. In the EA Method, we have prepared a default view layout for architecture visualizations to accommodate strategy, architecture, and transformation. You can insert this template on your canvas.

To use a template on the canvas

Drawing Shapes on the Canvas

It is time to dress up your canvas with a template. For instance, put a background picture on it, upload a logo, or place a domain layout background on the canvas. Drawing shapes on a canvas is as easy as dragging and dropping an item.

To draw shapes on the canvas

Creating Visual Items

On Dragon1, you link data in a model and create a view to filter data from a model. You place a Visual Item on a visualization canvas to instruct the system to draw the view with certain shapes, sizes, layouts, and colors in the Visual Item area on the canvas. In this view, you can place as many views as you like on the same visualization canvas.

To create visual items and draw them on a visualization canvas:

Creating Indicators

Indicators are specialized Visual Items. Suppose, you want all processes that are not documented to be colored red on a diagram, and you want all the applications that need to be replaced this year to be colored blue. You can do this with a Visual Item. But the easiest way to do that is to make use of an Indicator.

To create indicators and use them on a visualization canvas:

Using Popup Dialogs

On Dragon1, you can generate popup dialogs on mouse-over of your shapes in the Viewer. For this, you need to enter at least a description for your shapes.

To have popup dialog generated on mouse over on an item:

Using Tracking and Tracing

When models are big and complex, tracking and tracing helps to see what is and what is not connected.

Tracing means showing a path forward from A to B. Tracking means showing a path backward from B to A. Dragon1 supports both.

To make use of tracking and tracing:

Using Click-Through Links

You can create a set of interrelated visualizations utilizing clickable links. That is easy to do. How this works is explained below.

A common practice is to create an overview visualization where you can click on shapes and next be forwarded to detailed visualizations. This scenario can be created by you. For example, you click on a process or application and you are forwarded to a process schema or application design.

To make use of click-through links:

Publishing a visualization

To publish your visualization to any device:

Use the Changes and Updates window

To make use of the changes and updates window in the Viewer:

  • Read the Data Changes and Models Updates page

Using the Workflow window

In the Viewer you can watch who has worked on the visualization and what the outstanding tasks are for development, usage, and maintenance. Depending on your privileges you can see certain information or even can send messages to persons about their tasks.

To make use of the workflow window in the Viewer:

Using the Comments features

To make use of the comments feature in the Viewer:

Filtering the Views and Visualization

To filter the views and visualizations in the Viewer as a stakeholder:

  • Read the Filter Visualizations page

Processing the Comments

Users may have left some comments in the Viewer or you may have been sent some messages via the workflow window. Now you as a creator of the visualization need to update and change data, models, views, or the visualization template. Doing that results in changes and updates in updates windows, so everyone can see you have processed their comments and messages. And of course, someone with the same privileges as you in the same account can also process the comments. In this way, you can collaborate on the platform.

To process the comments that stakeholders entered in the Viewer:

Viewing and Printing a Report

From time to time you as creator or manager will want to print out a report on the progress of creation, usage, and maintenance of the landscape.

To view and print a report:

Screenshots of the Steps Creating the Process Application Landscape:

dragon1 visualization canvas empty

A screenshot of the Visual Designer showing an empty visualization canvas after inserting it.

dragon1 visual items on the canvas

A screenshot of the Visual Designer showing an instantiated View Layout on a Visualization Canvas.

dragon1 visual items on the canvas

A screenshot of the Visual Designer showing visual items placed in particular areas of the visualization.