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sparxsystems

sparxsystems

Sparx Systems


99 Albert Street
Creswick,
Victoria
3363
Australia
P: +61 3 5345 1140
F: +61 3 5345 1104
 
Sparx Systems specializes in high performance and scalable visual modeling tools for the planning, design and construction of software intensive systems. A Contributing Member of the Object Management Group (OMG), Sparx Systems is committed to realizing the potential of model-driven development based on open standards. The company’s flagship product, Enterprise Architect, has received numerous accolades since its commercial release in August, 2000. Enterprise Architect is the design tool of choice for over 380,000 registered users world-wide.

cio review 20 most promising productivity solution providers 2016

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.' 

 

Sparx Systems Productivity Tools 2016 Certificate

“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.  

 

 

Monday, 10 October 2016 04:40

Geospatial Data and Service Innovation

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.

 

earosehoneycombHowever, 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.

 

Big Data

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..."

 

Innovation

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).

geospatial technology competency model

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.

 

Collaborative Approach

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.

LOGO SDTimesSparx 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 

CIOReview cover 100916In a candid interview with Arun Kant from CIOReview, Sparx Systems' CEO Geoffrey Sparks highlights how Enterprise Architecture has become an imperative for survival in the ever-changing and globalized corporate landscape.

 

CIOReview has also included Sparx Systems in their '20 Most Promising Enterprise Architecture Technology Providers 2016' list, resulting from a robust selection process actioned by a highly qualified panel of domain experts. The in-depth interview with Geoffrey Sparks is the featured article in this month's edition of CIOReview, where Geoffrey discusses the Sparx Systems tradition of continual development of the Enterprise Architect platform, while maintaining the highly competitive price-point that enables affordable outfitting for all project stakeholders.

 

Geoffrey Sparx, Founder and CEO, Sparx Systems

 

To read the full featured article, simply download the PDF attachment at the top of this article.

 

cioreview ea tool vendors top 20 logo 2016

BBC Las Vegas 2016

 

Sparx Systems is proudly sponsoring the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference, the official event of the International Institute of Business Analysis (#IIBA) at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, during Oct 31 - Nov 4.

The @BBCapability event provides attendees with insight into Business Analysis & Architecture, Business Rules & Strategy, plus Business Strategy & Transformation, in the pursuit of business excellence. A delegation from Sparx Systems will showcase the powerful Business Transformation features within Enterprise Architect.

Enterprise Architect posseses a powerful suite of features, specifically targetted at the Business Analysis profession - From the initial, yet critical Requirements Engineering stages of any project, through to Business Modeling, Business Process Simulation and onwards to Documentation.

Sparx Systems is also in partnership with the BBC event host IIBA, working closely with chapters and the core leadership team towards the provision of a reference model of the Business Analysis Body Of Knowledge (BABOK).

For more details about the BBC event, and Sparx Systems' involvement at the event, please visit the BBC website.

Saturday, 08 October 2016 00:55

Sparx Systems Releases Enterprise Architect 13

Sparx Systems is proud to announce the full release of Enterprise Architect Version 13.

This groundbreaking build focuses on streamlining the user interface, agile teams, model management and parametric simulation.

 

Enterprise Architect 13 - A Fresh New Look!

 

In its 15 years of continuous development, Enterprise Architect has become the pre-eminent visual modeling platform, bringing together all aspects of the development cycle. Its feature-set has evolved to provide traceability, from the initial design phase through to deployment, maintenance, testing and change control. Version 13 delivers significant new capabilities in these areas and delivers them, in a streamlined and agile interface.

 

Enterprise Architect 13, represents many years of research, consultation and development - working with a broad community of customers, partners and industry observers. This has helped make this release what Sparx Systems has identified as truly defining.

 

Sparx Systems is confident, that the combination of distributed agile modeling and design, cloud based repository, Kanban project management, simulation, software development and database engineering capabilities of Version 13, will represent a powerful platform for realizing even the most ambitious projects.

 

A full list of updates and enhancements in Enterprise Architect 13 can be found at the Sparx Systems website.

 

Additional resources:

Security - A Shared Concern

In July 2016, Sparx Systems attended the Australian National Security Summit as a key sponsor. What struck one about this conference, was the chorus of concern from the speakers, for collaboration and integration. In every presentation the shared concern was for the ability for different people in the same or geographically dispersed locations, to share information. Joining the dots, so as to be able to identify patterns or connections, in what appear as isolated or unrelated events that could present a threat to security.

In his presentation, 'Asia Pacific to 2025 - Challenges and Opportunities' Peter White from the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, emphasised that to maintain aviation security in our region there was a “need to work collectively and cooperatively with regional partners”. Detective Inspector Glyn Lewis, National Coordinator Cyber Crime Operations, from the Australian Federal Police spoke of “collaborating with our international law enforcement partners” in his presentation 'Tackling the challenge of Cyber Crime in an ever changing landscape'.

In the same month, at a meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw, participating Heads of State and Government committed to enhance resilience, in facing “a broader and evolving range of military and non-military security challenges.” The statement went on to say, that being resilient against these challenges requires Allies “to work across the whole of government and with the private sector.” Resilience also requires that the Alliance continues “to engage, as appropriate with international bodies particularly the European Union, and with partners.”

 

Sharing Information

In the international security network today, the message to increase collaboration and integration for information sharing is consistent. The Information Sharing Environment (ISE) was established by the United States Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and provides analysts, operators, and investigators with the information needed, to enhance national security.

In 2001, a handful of organizations, collectively known as the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, started to create a seamless, interoperable model for data exchange to overcome the challenges of exchanging information, across state and city government boundaries. The first pre-release of the Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM), a foundational predecessor and building block of NIEM, was announced in April 2003. Parallel to the GJXDM effort, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began working on standards for metadata and these efforts by the justice and homeland security communities, led to the beginnings of the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM).

 

National Information Exchange Model

NIEM was formally initiated in April 2005 by Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, uniting key stakeholders from federal, state, local, and tribal governments, to develop and deploy a national model for information sharing and the organizational structure to govern it. A standards-based approach to exchanging information, NIEM enables communication between systems, even if they have never communicated before, while ensuring that information is well understood and carries the same consistent meaning, across various communities supporting interoperability.

NIEM standardizes the semantics describing the data, so that the underlying information is exchanged between jurisdictions seamlessly, accurately and – when fully implemented – without delay.
For example, databases in one American state may refer to a person in jail as a prisoner, while another refers to someone in identical circumstances as an inmate. If the federal government wants to query databases in both states to ask if a particular person is in jail, all three need to agree on identical, standardized language. NIEM enables individual agencies and sectoral domains to map their language, to the terminology set out in the NIEM standards.

 

Joining the Dots for a Clearer Picture

In the poem by John Godfrey Saxe , six visually impaired men provide their individual descriptions of an elephant by touching the animal. In their conclusions “each was partly in the right And all were in the wrong.” The message of the story is that when not coordinated, the investigations of a system components and the relationships between them, prevents shared understanding of the overall picture, which can lead to serious misinterpretations, based on a lack of information.

The brilliance of the standards creation effort is, that while standards codify best practices, for the benefit of all stakeholders, they also reduce or eliminate those differences between individual stakeholders, that would hold them in silos and place them collectively at a competitive disadvantage. In the context of collaboration and integration, security standards eliminate the weak linkages in the chain.

The ISE SAR Functional Standard exemplifies this value proposition. It supports improved information sharing and safeguarding capability, enabling community members to better plan and execute initiatives.
Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) is a common police procedure for recording observations from patrol shifts. The different personnel capturing the information, varied locations, formats and definitions has raised the question as to how best to use the data. How will different people in the same or different locations join the dots, to identify patterns or connections in what appear as isolated or unrelated events?

In the past, Local, State and Federal systems were not designed to interoperate. In fact, in some states, it was illegal to share information with the federal government. Incompatible computer systems compounded the siloed nature of information. Most people are familiar with the stories of emergency vehicles turning up at the wrong address due to incompatibility between the databases of different local authorities.

 

Communities of Interest

The Nationwide SAR Initiative (NSI) is a partnership among state, local, tribal, and federal agencies, including the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department Of Justice (DOJ); the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s eGuardian; the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative; and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) all unanimously support the SAR (Suspicious Activity Report). This is what is called a NIEM Community of Interest (CoI). These NIEM domains each have an executive steward, to officially manage and govern a portion of the NIEM data model.

With the development of XML, departments were able to exchange information legally while maintaining their own legacy systems naming conventions and exchange information using a metadata dictionary. For instance, agreeing to use the term “car” instead of automobile or vehicle, allowed different entities to share information without changing their own departmental language.

Over the last decade, the NIEM (National Information Exchange Model has become a significant new resource for information sharing. In 2007 the various stakeholders in different departments got together to discuss how to standardise information sharing and in due course, defined the elements of the SAR Information Exchange Package Documentation or IEPD. 16,000 data elements from various sources were collected analyzed and reduced to around 2,000 unique data elements which were incorporated into about 300 reusable components, resulting in the Global Justice XML Data Dictionary (Global JXDD). The Global JXDD components were accessible from multiple sources and resulted in increased interoperability, throughout different justice and public safety information systems.

 

niem iepd lifecycle3

 

Using the JXDD would define the terms that would be used to compose a SAR, wherever it was used. In 2008, the office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment issued the ISE SAR Functional Standard codifying the SAR IEPD.


Painting the Picture

The IEPD is a data dictionary that allows agencies to validate data exchanged in reports or queries. It provides a clearly defined path for the development of an exchange model and a reusable basis for any new system to join the same exchange. When speaking about how the SAR IEPD enabled agencies to connect unrelated events, Los Angeles Police Department Commander Joan T. McNamara commented, “This paints an amazing picture in real time.”

Non-experts can develop NIEM-conformant messages if required and watch officers, analysts, and scientists can read and interpret those messages, even if they are sent machine-to-machine.


Sparx Systems Support for NIEM

The NIEM-specific UML profile – which enables data exchanges to be modeled in tools like Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect – was released by the OMG in 2013. A recorded webinar (March 2016) which examining the benefits of using Enterprise Architect to model and define information sharing using the NIEM standard, is available on YouTube videos from Sparx Systems and can be viewed here:

 

 

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect supports the representation of the NIEM as a Unified Modeling Language (UML) profile, providing the ability for users to automatically produce NIEM-conformant XML schema. The MDG Technology for NIEM facilitates the creation and development of IEPD models, by providing starter models, model patterns and a number of toolboxes, for creating IEPD models and schema models.

All of the NIEM specifications and naming rules are written into the NIEM-UML profile now built in in Enterprise Architect. The challenge of building a NIEM exchange for an organization is now simplified and automated, enabling architects and developers to finish sooner with a smaller budget and better quality assurance.

Complete IEPDs can be generated from IEPD models and NIEM conformant schemas from information models. NIEM Reference Schema can be imported into the model and NIEM subset namespaces, composed from elements of the NIEM Reference Schemas can be created along with PIM, PSM and Model Package Description (MPD) diagrams, using the NIEM Toolbox pages. By using the Schema Composer, subsets of the NIEM -core reference schema can be easily created, eliminating time consuming human error.


Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is featured on the NIEM Tools Catalog.

In conjunction with the development of Enterprise Architect 13, the team at Sparx Systems have built on the extensive support currently available with the introduction of the new User Guide PDF Library, a completely revamped Learning Center and further refinement of the Enterprise Architect User Guide.

 

Enterprise Architect User Guide:

eaug screenshot

 

The Enterprise Architect User Guide was completely redeveloped in early 2016 to cater for complete online use; adopting a new, streamlined search and menu function enabled for easier access to the information required to facilitate more effecitve knowledge gathering.

Through extensive reseach and testing, the structure of content has also been updated to bring into line new features, reflecting the continual integration ethos central to the Sparx Systems philosophy.

While the majority of EA users have unrestricted access to the Internet to access the User Guide, thus being able to experience of an up-to-the-minute support resource, we have also recognized that some environments require a stand-alone version of the help system. For this purpose, an installable file is available to download and run on local machines.

Visit the Enterprise Architect User Guide: Click Here

Download the installer for a local version: Click Here

 

User Guide PDF Library:

pdf library

 

The User Guide Library is a new approach to providing essential resources to the EA community, each document has been produced from the extensive User Guide and delivered in the popular PDF format.

The library consists of 58 seperate documents, classified into 10 categories covering Fundamentals, Project Management, Simulation, Automation and more.

Visit the Enterprise Architect User Guide PDF Library: Click Here

 

Learning Center:

learning center

 

The Learning Center Library can be downloaded and added to Enterprise Architect for easy access to more than 4,000 pages of resources.

A complete installation guide is also available on the Library page.

Visit the Enterprise Architect Learning Center Library: Click Here

 

Report from the first ever

Scottish Gathering of Enterprise Architect Users

Thistle Logo

Held in Livingston on Wednesday 8th June 2016

Written by Gillian Adens, Director at Hippo Software

 

In June Hippo Software hosted a local gathering of Enterprise Architect users in Scotland. Forty-five delegates from twenty different organisations signed up to attend this event. This included some delegates travelling from as far afield as London, Nottingham and Northern Ireland as well as lots of delegates travelling the length and breadth of Scotland, coming from Livingston, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamilton, Perth, Glenrothes and Inverness. For the vast majority of these delegates, this was their first ever EA user group experience and an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas, share challenges and propose solutions.

 

A Journey to a More Collaborative Future?

scottish eaug 1

Our first speaker was Darren Campbell, Senior Solution Designer at ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Darren provided an honest and open account of ACCA’s journey so far. He explained the starting position with the company using a wide range of disparate tools for architecture, business process, data and design models. ACCA identified EA as an environment supporting ArchiMate, BPMN and UML in a single repository. The aim was to bring together all these various disciplines and allow traceability between high level architecture and detailed BPMN and UML models.

With a little training and strong support from a newly formed Enterprise Architecture team, this aim has been largely achieved. Darren spoke candidly about some of the challenges encountered and others that still face their team. The setup of a cloud repository was a substantial challenge at the time and the focus now is on developing some templates to facilitate automatic document generation and encourage the use of EA. In addition the team wish to establish more governance to ensure the consistency and quality of models in EA.

 

Transforming Scottish Local Government Services

scottish eaug 2

Our second speakers presented a very entertaining and lively double-act – Gordon Hunter, Digital Business Architect at Fife Council and Lee Brown, Business Analyst for Improvement Service. Gordon and Lee provided some background on the challenges facing Scottish councils, eloquently describing the complexity, diversity and scale of services supported by councils.

They have been instrumental in the development of a common framework and creation of a local government reference architecture using ArchiMate within EA. Gordon talked about the mapping that they did between TOGAF and ArchiMate terminology and shared their meta model. Example EA diagrams were used to demonstrate the motivation for the reference model and the advantages and benefits it offers to the thirty-two Scottish councils in terms of reusable model artifacts.

 

Interactive ‘Grumbles’ Session

scottish eaug 3  scottish eaug 4

Hippo Software than facilitated a ‘grumbles’ session, organising the delegates into small groups and giving them an opportunity to discuss those aspects of EA that irritate, annoy or challenge them. The delegates were tasked with choosing their top two or three grumbles and presenting these to the rest of the delegates. The main grumbles were fed back to Sparx Systems for their assessment and will hopefully influence future EA development plans. On a positive note some of the new features in EA V13 should address some of these grumbles and delegates were also able to share their own ’work-arounds’.

 

Effective Collaboration with Use Cases and BPMN

scottish eaug 5

After lunch we introduced Ian Freeman, Business Systems Architect at Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution. Ian gave a fascinating presentation covering some of the projects he has worked on at SSE and others where collaboration has taken place at the Energy Networks Association.

Ian explained how much the power industry has changed over that last couple of decades with a focus on renewable energy sources and how the introduction of smart metering
requires the industry to collaborate and adapt to new business processes. He explained how EA was used to create BPMN and Use Case models to provide a common narrative and allow exchange of information and ideas. Ian showed some examples of good architecture models and roadmaps to assist strategic planning.

 

New Features of EA V13

scottish eaug 6

We were delighted to welcome Ken Harkin, Global Business Development Manager and Tom O’Reilly, Chief Operations Officer from Sparx Systems who joined us at our EA Gathering. The audience was enthusiastic and pleased to have the opportunity to meet with representatives from Sparx Systems and provide face to face feedback on their experiences with EA.

Tom O’Reilly showed us some of the new features in EA V13 including the new ribbon interface, improved diagram filters and time aware models. Everyone seemed keen to try out the new beta version of EA V13.

 

Interactive ‘Highlights’ Sessions

scottish eaug 7  scottish eaug 8

scottish eaug 9  scottish eaug 10

The day concluded with another interactive session facilitated by Hippo Software. This time we asked delegates to share their highlights – things they have discovered in EA that delight and greatly assist them. To get things started, our consultant Gareth Tuckwell shared some of our favourite keyboard and mouse shortcuts. Delegates then discussed their own highlights including the use of the diagram context filer and using scripts to automate repetitive tasks.

Thursday, 21 July 2016 05:42

Kanban with Enterprise Architect

At Sparx Systems there are a number of key objectives that are always in the minds of the developers. One is delivering what the end user wants and the other is to exceed end user expectations, by delivering to their needs at an affordable price point. A third objective is to add value by making the end user experience more practical, inclusive and convenient.

 

These are the reasons why Enterprise Architect is the total modelling and design environment, -adaptable and extensible, providing all that is required by the end user and reducing or eliminating the inconvenience of access to the “external application”. That’s a simple expectation of a modelling tool, and the Sparx Systems interpretation of this expectation puts Enterprise Architect Version 13 in a class of its own.

 

Kanban was first introduced into Enterprise Architect Version 11. As a key agile process, Kanban is a method for managing knowledge work, with an emphasis on just-in-time delivery. It presents all participants with a full view of the process, from task definition, to delivery to a customer. Because Kanban is a set of practices that can also be implemented in traditional hierarchical bureaucracy, it does not present a threat to the existing culture and can work within different cultures.

 

In 2015 a Forrester survey found that the customer experience topped priorities for business and technology leaders. Based on these results Forrester forecasts that in 2016, customer experience “will be among the top 10 critical success factors determining who will win and who will fail in the age of the customer.” This is interesting because agile processes embrace change, which translates as the customer’s competitive advantage. Or put another way, the price of survival is to become agile. In recent times Kanban has been applied to the process of developing software-centric solutions in an attempt to ensure that value is delivered to the customer as quickly as possible.

 

Kanban is an agile entry point that while it does not challenge the culture it can be used to challenge the status quo. However, as an agile practice Kanban can be a cultural “change agent” and lead to Scrum and XP agile practices. Enterprise Architect offers a complete Agile Project Management foundation for the largest to the smallest of projects, supporting mainstream agile delivery frameworks and methods including, SCRUM, RUP, XP, DSDM and Kanban.

 

Kanban revolves around a visual board for managing work-in-progress and making work flow issues apparent through process definition based on how the work is handled in the team and on stakeholder priorities. A backlog is created in order to keep track of the work and as a basis for setting priorities. The cycle time of the tickets can be measured and used to keep track on improvements.

 

kanban three stage workflow sml kanban model patterns sml

 

Enterprise Architect has built-in Kanban diagrams and a number of pre-built workflow patterns that can be used 'as-is' or configured to suit any project or initiative. Because Enterprise Architect is also a sophisticated modeling platform for strategic and business analysis, architecture, design, implementation, testing and deployment, this Kanban facility becomes very powerful. Work items on a Kanban Board can be linked to strategic decisions, business rules, policies, requirements, architecture and design elements and every facility in the development lifecycle.

 

Agile planning is the assessment of the rate that agile teams can convert customer requirements into deployment ready software, while determining when they will be done. Burn down charts will provide these indicators. With Enterprise Architect burn down charts and time series graphs can be easily created and these are regularly and automatically updated by Enterprise Architect. A sophisticated charting facility is available to create powerful and expressive charts and dashboards, that will provide insights into the Kanban process and enable Product Owners and other team members to monitor performance and determine ways of fine tuning how the team works. There are a range of built-in charts, including bar, pie charts and heat maps, but a team is free to create any number of user-defined charts, which can also be incorporated into team processes and reviews.

 

As the affordable solution of choice for organisations who want to adopt Agile, including Kanban, Enterprise Architect 13 concantenates potentially siloed projects or sprints and provides assurance against the risk of segregation and ultimate fracturing of visibility across the enterprise, which can be caused by ad-hoc Agile initiatives.

 

In Enterprise Architect 13, Kanbans can be set at the individual level or project level in a shared model. With the 'My Kanban' feature, individual work can be tracked while the 'Project Kanban' option supports the team.

 

Projects of any size can benefit from the efficiencies of the flexible and integrated Kanban facility built into the Enterprise Architect core product. The Kanban features in Enterprise Architect are highly configurable and can be altered to suit any team or process, including agile, iterative and incremental, and even waterfall projects. This simple, yet powerful project management approach, creates a team collaboration platform that will result in products, services and solutions being delivered to customers with efficiency and in record time.

 

Webinar Recording: Introduction to Kanban and Heatmaps (using EA 12.1)

 

Workflow model patterns have been added, enabling the creation and linking of single or multiple stage Kanban workflows utilizing the Backlog, Iteration and Complete Kanban diagrams to support the existing “Standard type”. Together, these form powerful Kanban workflows, allowing the easy movement of Kanban elements between them. This movement provides the user with a view of the current team resources allocated to the Kanban element, enabling them to see what resource has been assigned, and completion status.

 

To assist with control of agile sprints, new menu items are available from the Construct Ribbon to search and find all Kanbans in a model. Kanban drawing style can be used showing Type, Status, Version, Priority, Bold Name, Stereotype, Phase, Author, and Truncate with name and Icon.

 

Work Items can be drawn with a compelling visual style, such as a colored card that can be dragged anywhere in the diagram to change order in a given lane, or from lane to lane, progressing from left to right through the board, representing progress towards value for the customer. The lanes are typically bound to the values of a 'project management aware' property such as status or phase, and as the item is dragged from lane to lane the value of the bound property is automatically changed. If a diagram is linked to a project management property, dragging an element from one lane to another automatically changes the value of the property, to the value that the lane represents.

 

To review Kanban features supported by Enterprise Architect 13. please visit: