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- 99 Albert Street
Veteran Project Manager and user of Enterprise Architect in 100+ projects since 2001, Herminio Lourenço has recently published some illuminating articles regarding toolsets for systems development.
This article was orginally published on Mr. Lourenço's LinkedIn profile on November 22nd, reprinted on the Sparx Systems Community site with permission from the author.
Firstly, tool is something that enables, facilitates, gives bigger productivity to one or more activities. The tool works for us. We dedicate some effort and as a result we have a lot of work done. That said, I will suggest a set of tools to give productivity and quality to systems development.
A concept being introduced is the ALM: Application Lifecycle Management. According to Wikipedia, is the marriage between business management with software engineering, which became viable thanks to tools that facilitate and integrate processes such as requirements analysis, architectural modeling, code development, change management, test management and managing of versions of products accomplished. Each one of these processes is part of a stage of a software life cycle.
This can be achieved through a framework, as the Jazz from IBM or Microsoft TFS, among other options, which integrates specialized tools to manage: requirements; code repository; construction; architecture and coding; tests and quality, versions and components.
In that effort to implement multiple tools, the company may have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars and dozens of months in software settings and in training.One of the options that brings fastest return in productivity and quality is the Enterprise Architect (EA) from Sparx Systems. With this tool you can manage and analyze requirements, with automatic control of traceability of the requirements until the code and vice versa, besides producing the models of analysis and design and code as much classes as databases.
Support for testing and integration with configuration and release managers practically complete the required skills. Furthermore, EA has tools like KANBAN and task planning that help you plan and control the progress of work.
Other tools like Jira and Subversion can help complete the spectrum.
Of course that the biggest suppliers will try to convince IT managers that this solution may not be as good and complete as their offers, but this solution has more than 300,000 users developers across the planet. Theirs might have a few hundred followers. I will not discuss what is the perfect solution because it doesn't exist.
The adoption of a good, solid and tested set of tools is crucial to obtain the desired productivity in systems development.
Save the Date: 21.2. – 22.2.2017
Enterprise Architect 13 is full of new functionalities that we would love to show and explain to you. So, for the first time ever, we will be presenting EA 13 as a combination of numerous Workshops in a two-day format. We're looking forward to seeing you there, and to showing you how to use the new EA 13 to your advantage!
This event caters primarily to German-speaking users; therefore, please be aware that all presentations will be delivered in German.
For more details, please visit the Sparx Systems Central Europe website: http://www.sparxsystems.de/ea-practice-days/
With the initial release of the Airline Industry Data Model (AIDM), and with an increasing number of airline industry standardization workgroups leveraging and adding to the data model, a training consortium of Sparx Systems’ Training Partners will support the data model with a global training program designed specifically for the airline industry.
This training will provide guidance and skills to individuals involved in the development of Airline Industry Data Exchange standards, as well as organizations or individuals wanting to use the models in the AIDM for development of their IT systems.
Public Training Schedule for 2017:
This webinar will show you how to make the most of Dynamic Documents to create simple, yet effective reports.The 'Dynamic Document' tab of the Document Window helps you to instantly generate a document on a selected element, using one of a range of templates. A style template consists of one or more command lines, each of which defines an element type (or all element types) and the document template to apply to the generated document.
In this LIVE webinar session, you will learn how to:
- Create your own style templates and document templates
- Understand how selectors and style templates work
- Use the Template editor to create rich and engaging document templates
We are trialling a new webinar technology based on YouTube Live streaming.
In our second installment of the Enterprise Architect 13 release series, we delve into some of the new productivity tools introduced in this major milestone release.
In this LIVE webinar session, you will learn how to:
- Generate Dynamic Documents based on a selected Element
- Undertake Parametric Simulation using SysML and OpenModelica
- Publish models directly to Joomla!
We are trialling a new webinar technology based on YouTube Live streaming.
To access the webinar, simply visit and bookmark the webinar link below and return at your scheduled time.
Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) can move IT and Business to a position of congruency and shift IT from application thinking to process (and service) thinking and in Business, from service to IT. The gulf between Business and IT exists on a relationship from a time past, when there was little contact between the two parties following a commission from Business to IT for services and/or products.
Before the availability of ALM, the window on the progress of development projects lacked transparency for most managers, right to the point when business took delivery. Whatever visibility the managers had, was gathered from assumptions rather than from objective data.
Sparx Systems attended the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit in National Harbor during May 2016 where Enterprise Architecture was reviewed as a “catalyst for Digital Tranformation.” and two “big” challenges were identified, as the transformation moves forward. These were, managing the connections within complex ecosystems of communications, partners, platforms, services and technologies and working with New Development methodologies such as Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery.
ALM makes IT development visible to upper management and reinforces the requirements of Business to demonstrate Governance, Risk Management and Compliance. On a competitive level it assists in the reduction of development costs, increases innovation and effectively supports change management. As a business process for the management of end to end software development ALM promises benefits in terms of increased project success rates, improved quality of deliverables and reduced development timescales.
Between IT and Business, ALM creates and supports a bridge which embodies a set of processes and methods, including software development, operations, and services, to enhance communication and collaboration between departments. It also aligns the business, development and operations capabilities of the organization, by providing the ability to integrate different tools used and the activities performed within each.
While this establishes a culture of more frequent software builds, tests and releases, the pressure to manage application delivery is growing ,as is the complexity. The need to co-ordinate and automate the process of delivering these projects, with collaborative planning and reporting activities has become critical. Sparx Systems recognises that this requirement makes ALM processes essential to the delivery of worlds best development practices.
"DevOps is a culture that supports improvements
in the software development lifecycle through
automation, best practice and collaboration."
Tight coupling of the stages of the application lifecycle is a key to increasing productivity in application development and establishing traceability and accountability across multiple processes, locations and tool types, in the stages of development and delivery. This completeness of functionality leads to increased quality, reduces time to market and promotes a culture of business agility. By coordinating activity and facilitating communication, ALM provides real time transparency and traceability, proactive change management and error mitigation.
We hear a lot about cultural change in the discussions about DevOps. We also hear a lot about people. Not so much about enabling technology. There is an accepted notion that DevOps is about drawing together people in DEVelopment and people in OPerations with the goal of shortening delivery time through the elimination of constraints that naturally exist between functional silos.
DevOps is a culture that supports improvements in the software development lifecycle through automation, best practice and collaboration. DevOps is about changing culture and the responsibility for this lies with executive management. To realise a cultural change of automation, best practice and collaboration, is to expose the organisation to DevOps benefits,- agility and productivity. As a key enabler of DevOps, Continuous Delivery supports automation of software development, testing and deployment which are in turn supported by agile planning and execution tools.
In an article by Madison Martin, published recently in SD Times, the impact that DevOps and Agile are having on application lifecycle management (ALM). She states that “Those looking to refine their application life cycle are sifting through the marketplace to find the right tool—one that will give their company agile feature functionality and help them move toward a more continuous way of working. A business can no longer look at just the planning and the building of software; they have to monitor every step in between to make sure the software delivered meets the expectations of the user.”
ALM is accepted as the management of end to end software development and as a business process it promises benefits in terms of increased project success rates, improved quality of deliverables and reduced development timescales. Due to the absence of a common industry standard, ALM deployment is interpreted differently by different stakeholders.
The ALM tools market has seen a continuous evolution over the greater part of the last decade. The change is demonstrated by various benchmarks conducted by Gartner. As recently as July 2016 Gartner has announced their decision to retire “the ADLM MQ and focus on a new MQ for Agile planning and execution tools.” The leading reason cited for this decision is “Shifts in the market due to DevOps.”
Between 2012 and 2013 Gartner blogged that work had begun on the update to the Magic Quadrant for ALM stating “We are subtly shifting our terminology for the market from Application Lifecycle Management to Application Development Lifecycle Management. We feel this is a more accurate depiction of what the tools in this space are focused on.”
In 2008 Gartner published the “Marketscope for Application Lifecycle Management”. This document was described ALM as the practices, processes and tools that aid in the application management lifecycle, specifically the workflow of producing or maintaining an application. This document identified a number of key capabilities that an ALM offering should include. These capabilities have been listed later in this document.
Sparx Systems ALM
In 2015 Sparx Systems was named in the 2015 SD Times 100 for its excellence in the ALM and Development Tools category. When using separate tools in development, there can be a lack of integration between the tools used in each phase of the process and due to the absence of a common industry standard, ALM deployment is interpreted differently by different stakeholders.
However, when using Enterprise Architect, an integration of all the key features of ALM is provided in an “out of the box” tool set, which uses a single repository as the common data source. Within the integrated Enterprise Architect project workspace, you can view and update artifacts with version control, code review, and continuous integration tools. This is the level of functionality that defines Enterprise Architect as a leading ALM solution.
Key ALM Capabilities
- Requirements definition and management
- Change and configuration management
- Agile project planning
- Work item management
- Quality management, including defect management
- Integration to version management
- Support for wikis and collaboration
- Integration to other ALM tools
This is the first of a series of related articles on DevOps and ALM
The final Enterprise Architect User Group event in Europe for 2016 will be held on November 11th at the Folksam, Bohusgatan 14, 106 60 Stockholm.
Tickets available now for the upcoming Swedish Enterprise Architect User Group, full schedule published with presentations based on separate User Story and Technical tracks
For just €75, join with other Enterprise Architect users for the last European User Group Event of 2016. Presentations will be in English and Swedish.
Meet other users, and share practical insights, advice, experience and inspiration.
Full event information, including directions to the venue, agenda and presentation abstracts, plus links to buy tickets are available now at www.eausergroup.com
Global publication CIOReview has identified Sparx Systems as a stand-out Productivity Solution Provider, including the company in their annual '20 Most Promising Productivity Solution Providers 2016' list.
CIOReview has highlighted the importance of productivity solutions with the corporate landscape, citing that '... state-of-the-art productivity tools, no longer does an ‘upgrade’ from IT mean ‘rip-and-replace the infrastructure.’ Rather, it involves an easy add-on to the existing hardware, which seamlessly collaborates with the already functional, process-oriented software, without the high upfront capital expenses.'
“We are happy to announce Sparx Systems as one among the 20 Most Promising Productivity Solution Providers 2016,” said Jeevan George, Managing Editor of CIOReview. “Sparx systems have a long and proven track record in a wide range of industries for providing high value, end to end modeling tools that help individuals, groups and large organizations model and manage complex information.”
The publication also inteviewed CEO and founder of Sparx Systems, Geoffrey Sparks in this month's magazine, who provided some insight why Enterprise Architect is regarded so highly in the productivity domain; “Our platform has been engineered with appropriate levels of abstraction to support deeply layered architectures and processes that capture the full end-to-end spectrum of knowledge and behavior, within a particular business or domain,” explains Geoffrey. “It operates across several distinct but essentially linked layers.”
To read CIOReview's full interview with Geoffrey Sparks, titled 'Sparx Systems - Architecting the Visual Enterprise', simply download the attachment from the link at the top of this article.
According to the World Economic Forum, over the coming years, the employment landscape will be deeply impacted, by the disruptive changes to today's commonly accepted business models.
However, opportunity abounds for those industries, enterprises and individuals, who effectively adapt and transform. That said, the middle aged geospatial sector is now facing a crisis, - a perfect storm of advancements in technology infrastructure, market sustainability and geospatial information commodities.
Together, these critical elements present a change force, whose energy source is relentless innovation. It is challenging market exclusivities and the business models of every industry including journalism, taxis, accommodation and travel which have recently, been irrevocably changed.
A nascent technology, the Internet of Things (IOT) promises to enhance our physical environment and the geo-specific data generated in real time by the IOT, will reveal how the physical world is shaping human activity, - and vice versa. Within a decade, IDC predicts, that 30 billion geo-located things will be connected and this ecosystem will generate a revenue of $1.7 trillion. In 2007 the estimated information content of all human knowledge was 279 Exabytes growing to 35 Zetabytes by 2020.
Big data is disrupting the enterprise, data processing methods and usage and for the enterprise to effectively work with vast volumes of data at speed, new enterprise architectures will be required. People, processes and systems help the enterprise turn raw data into useful information and informed action and with big data talent in short supply, successful users source skills wherever they can find them, leaning heavily on external, experienced resources. Furthermore, well-defined user needs, functional requirements, and application specifications are essential for the success of any enterprise system, be it geospatial or otherwise.
The Big Data explosion is also “driving strong growth in big data-related infrastructure (21.7% CAGR), software (26.2% CAGR), and services (22.7% CAGR),” according to a report from IDC in late 2015, while the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, has forecast a higher than average 17% growth in demand for software developers, between 2014 and 2024.
A Turning Point
The AGI Foresight Report 2020, from 2015 highlights the fact, that the geospatial industry is at an existential point in its history. Industry change will only be driven, through the recognition of the latent possibilities of data and data value-add services, and this requires a fundamental and deep understanding of the relationship with digital data. At this time, the inability of the industry to succinctly explain the usefulness or value of their data, tools or services coupled with a perception of an “inner sanctum of GIS” are holding the industry back. To “ditch this image” and change from seeing itself as a data provider and become a data service will present the geospatial industry, with the greatest of untapped opportunities.
As the industry struggles to take advantage of this data El Dorado, other industry sectors are reaping rewards. A recent survey of leaders in the Australian spatial sector “found that 95% believe spatial services are either not achieving growth potential, or that the growth is being captured by other industry sectors.” In a global geoservices market with anticipated annual growth of 30%, ideas have to be actualised faster and more cost-effectively, otherwise competitive market forces will eat the associated opportunity and those ideas will never reach fruition.
"... demand for enterprise application development is
set to significantly outstrip supply in the short term..."
The uniqueness of geospatial technology, lies in its use of geography as its common framework to integrate many different interests, within which the range of innovative use cases, is growing rapidly. Ubiquitous geospatial technology flows into opportunity spaces and enables innovation in many sectors and opportunity for the geospatial industry, lies in collaboration with those sectors which consume geospatial data.
For example Drone technology is now feeding the demand for high quality data and enhancing data processing and accessibility and it is predicted that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) will replace conventional ways of collecting remotely sensed data.
A practical use case for this innovation is the support being provided in Kathmandhu for the humanitarian efforts, following the devastating Nepal earthquakes. Another is conservation and environmental protection, such as analysing glacier dynamics in the Himalayas.
Software's Growing Market Influence
'Preparing for the Software Future', written earlier this year by Sparx Systems, focused on the pervasive influence of software on the future, specifically in terms of those innovative business solutions, in every sector of industry, (including geospatial) which are disrupting long accepted and protected models. The post noted, that success for a growing number of companies, lay in embracing the rising strategic importance of software and in viewing software development, as a crucial competitive battlefield.
The US government also acknowledges this fact. In April the Washington Post reported that leading companies, like Walmart and AT&T, along with the likes of Facebook and Apple and a bipartisan coalition of 27 governors, have called on Congress “arguing that the United States needs far more students who are literate in the technologies that are transforming nearly every industry.”
The demand for enterprise application development is set to significantly outstrip supply in the short term and given these market dynamics, platforms that reduce hand coding and enable rapid delivery of business applications are essential technology. By freeing businesses of this overhead, these development platforms significantly reduce the costs associated with traditional development solutions while addressing the challenges of future enterprise application development and legacy modernization.
Geospatial Services Demand
Oxera published a report on behalf of Google back in January 2013 showing a geospatial services market revenues at between $150-270B per year and according to Technavio, the global GIS market will experience “a CAGR of more than 10% by 2020.” Analysts have estimated the software segment to account for a market share of more than 48% during the forecast period.
Digital disruption will create many new cross-functional roles for which employees will need both technical, social and analytical skills. An article by Forbes reporting on the skills demand being generated by big data shows that between 2014 and 2015, the highest growth was for software and application developers. This is corroborated by the Geospatial Technology Competency Model from the US Employment and Training Administration (ETA).
Software based demand for business applications, coupled with well documented shortages of developers , is giving rise to the 'citizen developer', a new role description, that is increasingly turning up in social media. According to the Gartner glossary, this emergent user, is one who “creates new business applications for consumption by others, using development and runtime environments, sanctioned by corporate IT.” While it is likely that citizen developers such as a GIS-savvy geographers with limited programming skills, could eventually become developers, coding is less that 20% of the application development lifecycle. When it comes to developing a concise, correct, consistent, and mutually understandable design, software system requirements and designs, must be easily analysed, developed and managed in a coordinated manner.
Amidst myriad communication barriers and team pressures, constantly changing system requirements, increasing complexity and shrinking design cycles, the right automation tools are essential to ensure that the right system is built, with the right quality and performance characteristics, within budget and on schedule.
The ability to universally share maps in the cloud, makes them available across many mobile devices. These can be programmed and customized by outside developers and users, through application programming interfaces, or APIs. With the introduction of the Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect ArcGIS profile, the information gap between different domains is bridged, allowing geospatial components to be linked to requirements, system and business models. Geospatial experts are equipped with the modeling tools, to create and work with geodatabases, re-engineer spatial legacy data and integrate their work with others.
As experiences are gathered from initial commercial applications of a new technology, the range of functionalities and their adaption are increased, for each specific technology use case. The geospatial industry recognises, that its specialists “are no longer representative of the typical user of many of the technologies (they) are developing.” Innovation is driven and supported by collaboration between different stakeholders with shared aims. The collective intellectual effort of academic institutions, start-ups and large corporations, propels the progress of new technologies.
Collaboration is becoming a new enterprise standard and it enables industry and enterprise to synergise the strengths of all their parts, while creating a shared awareness of issues. It encourages trust and builds confidence in group stakeholders and promotes interoperability and collective problem resolution. Because collaboration reduces or eliminates process overlap and resource redundancy, creative energy is harnessed and the chance of success is increased. This makes practical sense, as the combined data sets are too large for any one industry or enterprise to analyse. With a documented history of working collaboratively with many industries including the geospatial industry, Sparx Systems standards based technology, is used by these industries, to assist their adaption to the challenges of disruption.
Innovation often occurs by bringing different approaches to problem solving, together in a business. Many industries have worked hard over the last decade to define shared meta-models that are specific to their industry and which support a standardized structure for systems communications. It is these models which now form the basis for contractual information sharing across organizations and across geographic borders.
However, when information is shared between organizations, it is frequently the case that only a subset of the full meta-model is required, but it is essential, that what is shared conforms precisely to the agreed meta-model. In this case, the Schema Composer is the perfect tool for deriving contractual schema based on sub-sets and restricted data sets that take a 'slice' through the meta-model as a whole.
"Collaboration is becoming a new enterprise standard and it enables
industry and enterprise to synergise the strengths of all their parts..."
Role of Academia
The World Economic Forum report “The Future of Jobs 2016”, notes that education systems are providing siloed training and continuing practices from last century that are hindering progress in addressing the current labor market and talent issues. The Report recommends that businesses and education providers, government and others collaborate as this can result in higher quality across the talent pool, lower costs and increased social benefits.
Similarly the United Nations Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) report “Future Trends in Geospatial Information Management: the five to ten year vision”, commenting on extracting value from big data, notes that “will place a premium on highly skilled data modellers.” The report also notes that “The development of these skill bases will be delivered through a wide range of professional, academic and in business approaches, as recognition grows of the need for a managed process of skills development and capacity building.”
Support for the Geospatial sector and Academia
Sparx Systems has an education outreach function that delivers flexible licensing options for academic institutions and individuals, through in our Academic Licencing Program. Access to Non Commercial and low cost licences of the popular visual modeling platform, Enterprise Architect is made available to those education institutions who are interested in offering education programs that address the challenges presented by big data. We have also worked closely with 50+ global industry domains including government, providing licences through our support program for Standards Development and have instituted awards to encourage universities and institutions to develop model based solutions for industry. Two of these awards have been offered in the health and geospatial communities and were awarded through HL7 and the EU INSPIRE.
As an organisation that has been recognised by CIOReview, for helping rapid adaption to new technology trends and improving operations across the enterprise lifecycle, we look forward to ongoing collaboration with industry, academia and government.
Sparx Systems' Enterprise Architect has been featured in a recently published SD Times article, Online and Social Media Editor Madison Moore identifies the emerging influence of DevOps and Agile within the ALM domain... and the software that is supporting Enterprises to master their future evolution.
"Market disruptions such as mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as the digital and omnichannel trend as a whole, have contributed to this evolution of ALM. Once these disruptions happen in areas like DevOps and agile, they change the way companies build their applications."
Enterprise Architect has been identified as a platform that is "... a comprehensive team-based modeling environment that helps organizations analyze, design and construct reliable, well-understood systems." The feature rich toolset supports project teams to communicate and capture essential business information, to transform the Enterprise into a standards compliant entity, therfore realizing the potential for interoperability and future agility.
To read the full article by Madison Moore, please visit the SD Times website