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acrisSparx Systems will be attending an Airports Council International (ACI) technical meeting at Munich in June.

Aviation Community Recommended Information Services (ACRIS) Working Group meeting will be held at Munich Airport on 7-8-9 June 2016.

The ACRIS Working Group provides the industry standards necessary to improve information exchanges in passenger and baggage end-to-end processes. Sparx Systems will join representatives from the industry’s most progressive airports and aviation organisations to discuss how technology can be leveraged for positive change.

For more details regaing ACI and ACRIS, please visit: http://www.aci.aero/About-ACI/Priorities/Airport-IT/ACRIS

Published in Events

iiba jp logo

IIBA Japan, in conjunction with a number of organisations, will be hosting the 'C3' Business Analysis conference during early June located at Fukurashia Shinagawa Crystal Square

 

'C3' aims to encapsulate 'Change by Creative Collaboration' by creating a forum for attendees to share ideas with a 'fusion of knowledge' based on change management.

Sparx Systems Japan will be an exhibitor and also conducting a 45 minute presentation at the event - additional details will be available in the future.

 

Dates: June 10 and 11

Venue: Fukurashia Shinagawa Crystal Square

 

For more details please visit the event website (in Japanese): http://www.iiba-japan.org/news/topics/c3-change-by-creative-collaboration.html

Published in Events

Managing Connectors

In this latest instalment in the series Phil Chudley will be looking at managing your connectors in Enterprise Architect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhTsvUDrgDU

As always all of our videos are available right now via our YouTube channel ... and don't forget to subscribe!

Published in Tutorials

 

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At this year's Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit in London, Sparx Systems will be a speaker and a premium sponsor of the event.

In its presentation "Agile Architecture for the Digital Business," Sparx Systems will be addressing attendees regarding the challenges in this age of disruptive innovation. We will introduce representatives from successful enterprises to share their stories and help attendees leverage planning platforms to support better business outcomes.

We invite all those attending the summit to both attend Sparx Systems' presentation - which should provide practical insights - as well as the Sparx Systems booth where our friendly representatives will be chatting with visitors to the show floor.

 

For more informatio, please visit:

http://www.gartner.com/events/emea/enterprise-architecture#!section_exhibitors

Published in Events

Creating Composite Elements

In this latest instalment in the series Phil Chudley will be looking at creating composite elements in Enterprise Architect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbWwYAc1ijM

As always all of our videos are available right now via our YouTube channel ... and don't forget to subscribe!

Published in Tutorials

At the start of this year, the training organization TwentyEighty Strategy Execution released a report titled The Top Ten Business Analysis Trends for 2016, which examined a number of the forces effecting change in the work of business analysts (BA). Amongst its findings, the report noted an increased focus on modeling and collaborative communication, which it attributes to an evolution from the BA's "traditionally tactical role to one of true alignment to overall business strategy to better meet customer needs.”

LinkedinPlus spirographBA

This finding mirrors much of the current commentary regarding BAs. Views from analysts and observers indicate an involvement of the BA in overall enterprise improvement. Moving away from “gathered and managed” requirements as indicated in the recent article on BA Times by the staff at Watermark Learning. Expectations of the role are changing from one of project-based software delivery, to one of overall strategy execution - resulting in an increased purview of people and processes, as well as technology.

From a quick review of the IIBA®'s Business Analysis Competency Model1, we can surmise this evolution is also indicative of the emerged BA career path, with senior BAs expected to perceive the "overall picture and how individual actions fit within it"1. This is no small feat, considering some of the factors which can hold progress back.

The TwentyEighty report notes the pressures for and against the evolution of the BA role. It notes there is often pressure to provide the weighty and static requirements documents that limit a BA's flexibility to evolve and adapt to ongoing business needs. This is where tooling can help.

Platforms such as Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect can help mitigate these pressures, by keeping BAs connected with and manage the changes within the enterprise. They can remain connected with business and IT teams, helping to produce flexible requirements documents using corporate-formatted templates, using just a few button clicks.

Further to this, modeling techniques such as BPMN, org charts, strategy maps, business rules, enterprise architecture frameworks such as Zachman and UPDM, in addition to balanced scorecards, help demonstrate meaningful links between corporate strategy and execution. They are then communicated with the teams responsible for development. When a platform is shared, its easier to be a part of the same team.

The execution of established strategy can be facilitated using a shared environment and communication tools, including in-tool 'model mail', cloud services, team review and document generation. Communication tools keep domains continuously connected across different geo-located teams.

Heatmaps, use case modeling, business process simulation and Enterprise Architect's tractability matrix can ensure corporate strategy is realized. The new Kanban diagrams in version 12.1, provide high level insights which allow analysts to zero in on potential gains by calling attention to standout processes.

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A free read-only version called EA Lite, is available to download from the Sparx Systems website making it a lot simpler to engage executive management in the progress of work items, helping to promote buy-in and keep a project on track by demonstrating its connection with business value.

In a new initiative to integrate business analysis best practices into the modeling environment, Sparx Systems has established a strategic partnership with the IIBA and is currently developing a BABOK® Guide v3 Reference Model to be delivered within Enterprise Architect.

As the role of the BA expands to take in so much more of a company's strategy and requires ongoing connectivity with many different teams - smart, integrated platforms can help mitigate some of those pressures and facilitate opportunities for innovation that can go otherwise unexplored.

Sparx Systems offers a free 30 day trial of Enterprise Architect from the Sparx Systems website: www.sparxsystems.com/try

 

1. International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®) (2011). Business Analysis Competency Model. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: International Institute of Business Analysis. 16.

Published in Sparx Insights
Thursday, 24 March 2016 11:07

New: Dunstan Thomas Consulting MDG Workshop

MDG Workshop

Dunstan Thomas Consulting is proud to announce the new one day MDG Workshop!

Overview


Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect provides modelling extensions to supplement UML through a technology known as Model Driven Generator or MDG. Tools are provided in Enterprise Architect for experienced users to develop their own MDGs either from scratch or based upon an existing MDG such as ArchiMate, or BPMN. This one day workshop will provide attendees with a practical experience of the tasks required to build a typical MDG.

User Story Screenshot


Agenda

The following topics will be covered:

  • What is an MDG, what it can contain and the benefits an MDG can provided to an organization.
  • Using the Model Wizard to create an MDG model repository.
  • The steps in planning an MDG.
  • Tagged values, their typed, use and creation.
  • Using the MDG Helpers to create a Profile.
  • Using the MDG Helpers to create a customized Toolbox.
  • Using the MDG Helpers to create a customized Diagram.
  • Generating the MDG.
  • Testing the MDG.
  • Deploying the MDG.
  • Making changes to the MDG and applying those changes to an existing model repository.
  • Shapescripts, their use, structure and applicability to an MDG.
  • The concept of Quicklink and its application to a customized Diagram.

Full details are available on our website.

Published in News

Creating a Diagram

In this latest instalment in the series Phil Chudley will be looking at the basics involved in creating a diagram using Enterprise Architect.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs98ZjLqCMQ

As always all of our videos are available right now via our YouTube channel ... and don't forget to subscribe!

Published in Tutorials

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Dunstan Thomas Consulting Cloud services deployment of Sparx Enterprise Architect for ATOC


Dunstan Thomas Consulting (DTC) worked with ATOC to install and configure Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect to enable them to work in a collaborative environment using a MySQL hosted model repository.

This model repository was located on a server within the ATOC premises and accessed via LAN and ODBC and remotely via a VPN.

During this engagement, Dunstan Thomas Consulting not only worked with ATOC but also ensured that they had gained the skills necessary to perform all repository administration tasks (such as creating new Groups and Users) by themselves.

They made a strategic decision to move all servers to the cloud and dispense with VPN connections for remote working.

ATOC contacted Dunstan Thomas Consulting to work with them to perform a migration of their existing Enterprise Architect infrastructure to the cloud.

Background


ATOC are relative newcomers to Enterprise Architect and have been using the tool to model, primarily, business processes using BPMN 2.0.

ATOC have a number of modelling teams allocated to specific groups and have a number of floating licenses. Dunstan Thomas Consulting worked with them to create a collaborative modelling environment using a shared model repository hosted using MySQL, together with a repository structure and the necessary Groups and Users which were authenticated using Windows Authentication.

The initial modelling infrastructure was as illustrated below:



While this infrastructure was very successful, ATOC made a strategic decision to move all servers to the Cloud, thus allowing access via HTTP or HTTPS protocols from any location. After some trials, they decided upon using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the cloud hosting platform.

ATOC contacted Dunstan Thomas Consulting to provide consultancy services to:

  1. Install and configure an AWS hosted MySQL repository suitable for use as an Enterprise Architect repository.
  2. Install and configure Sparx Cloud services to use HTTPS protocol for connection to this AWS hosted MySQL repository.
  3. Install and configure secure access to Enterprise Architect floating licenses also hosted on AWS cloud.
  4. Create a set of Groups and Users for the AWS hosted MySQL repository, ideally using Windows Authentication.
  5. Migrate the existing model repository from the ATOC hosted MySQL database to the AWS hosted MySQL repository.

This new infrastructure is illustrated below:

Challenge


In January 2016, Dunstan Thomas Consulting worked with ATOC to perform the installation, configuration and migration of their model repository.

ATOC had already created the necessary server images on AWS for the MySQL database and a Windows Virtual Machine for hosting the Sparx Cloud Services and floating licenses.

The challenges posed by this installation and configuration were:

  1. Creation of the database structure on MySQL.
  2. Configuring the Sparx Systems Web Services.
  3. Creation of a certificate for HTTPS protocol connections.
  4. Testing the connection.
  5. Allowing access to the AWS hosted Sparx Systems Web Services via specific TCP ports.
  6. Providing an alternative to Windows Authentication since the ATOC active directories cannot be migrated to AWS.
  7. Ensuring access to the AWS hosted floating licenses were protected from unauthorised access.
  8. Performing the migration of the existing ATOC model repository to the new AWS hosted model repository.

Why ATOC chose to use Enterprise Architect and Dunstan Thomas

“For many years here at ATOC we had been using a number of modelling tools. The office was comprised of a mish-mash of modelling tools raging from Microsoft Visio to Rational System Architect this often resulted in interoperability issues and a lack of standards across the enterprise. As the Lead Data Architect I was given the task of procuring a new modelling tool which was affordable and fit for purpose across the ATOC enterprise. After tediously trawling through a labyrinth of Modelling tools it was decided that Sparx’ Enterprise Architect (EA) was the best tool that would meet ATOC’s needs and after a further careful selection Dunstan Thomas was chosen to carry out the installation and customisation.

DT showed professionalism and very importantly grasped and understood ATOC’s business needs. DT have provided ATOC with both the skills and expertise to productively use and administer EA over the last year. It was therefore a given that when I was asked to move our entire EA infrastructure into the Cloud I selected DT for the job a decision that once again proved to be the right one. The entire EA infrastructure was successfully moved into the Cloud on time and on budget.”


Al-Rasheed Amzart
Enterprise Data Architect, ATOC

Solution


Creation of the database structure on MySQL

This was a simple matter of executing the SQL script as provided by Sparx Systems. Only a single user (with DBA privileges) needs to be created, since all access to the MySQL database is via the Sparx Systems Cloud Services.

Configuring the Sparx Systems Web Services

The installation of the Sparx Systems web services presented no issues. ATOC decided on using the default settings for the Cloud Services including the use of the default ports for Cloud Services administration, HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

Using the Cloud Services administration tool, DTC created an ODBC connection to the MySQL database.

Creation of a certificate for HTTPS protocol connections

This wasn’t complicated, as a batch file is provided by Sparx Systems for the creation of a Self-signed certificate using OpenSSL. This did require downloading an openssl config file which again presented no issues.

Testing the Connection

In order to test the connection to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository, it was necessary to create a minimal structure. DTC performed this task by using the Model Transfer functionality within Enterprise Architect to transfer a local repository consisting of just a single Model Root to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository. This was achieved without encountering any issues.

Once transferred a connection was made between Enterprise Architect and the AWS hosted MySQL model repository using both HTTP and HTTPS protocols. This worked perfectly.

Allowing access to the AWS hosted Sparx Systems Web Services via specif ic TCP ports

Since access via TCP ports is usually blocked by default by the Windows Firewall, DTC created the necessary inbound and outbound rules to allow traffic through the TCP ports for HTTP and HTTPS access as specified in the Cloud Services configuration file.

Providing an alternative to Windows Authentication since ATOC active directories cannot be migrated to AWS

Authentication on the ATOC hosted MySQL model repository was performed using Windows Authentication and active directory. However, this cannot be migrated to AWS, so another method of authenticating the connection to the AWS hosted MySQL had to be found.

There is only one viable option, namely that each user has their own user id and password. ATOC found this solution perfectly acceptable, and were able to create the necessary groups, users, passwords and permissions using skills learned during the first consultancy engagement with Dunstan Thomas Consulting.

Ensuring access to the AWS hosted f loating licenses were protected from unauthorised access

Initially the solution was to install the Sparx Licence keystore manager on the same Windows Virtual machine as the Sparx Systems cloud services.

This was performed without any issues, and included modifying the Keystore services configuration to request a password for access to the keystore. However upon testing it was discovered that the Enterprise Architect client was not able to connect to the Keystore Service running on the AWS hosted virtual machine.

Several attempts at finding a solution were tried:

  1. Creating inbound and outbound rules on the Windows firewall to allow access to the port required by the Keystore service.
  2. Configuring the AWS security group settings to allow access to this port.
  3. Removing the request for the password to access the keystore.

Unfortunately all attempts at finding a solution failed.

Dunstan Thomas Consulting then discovered that ATOC made use of Microsoft Cloud Based SharePoint functionality, and proposed a solution to host the Sparx Systems floating licences on the Microsoft Cloud Based SharePoint.

This was performed, tested and ATOC were delighted to see that this solution worked perfectly. Furthermore, since only their staff had access to the Microsoft Cloud Based SharePoint location, access to the Enterprise Architect floating licences was provided automatically without the need for a user to supply a password.

Performing the migration of the existing ATOC model repository to the new AWS hosted model repository

As the ATOC model repository is reasonably large, Dunstan Thomas Consulting proposed that only a single section be migrated to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository. This could then be tested and once agreed that all was working successfully, the remainder of the model repository could be transferred.

Initially, Dunstan Thomas Consulting performed this using the Model Transfer functionality within Enterprise Architect, and whilst successful, it took a very long time to complete.

Once transferred successfully, ATOC with the guidance of DTC created a Group, Privileges and Users on the AWS hosted MySQL model repository. Concurrent access to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository was then tested and this test was successful.

ATOC then undertook the transfer of the remaining sections of the model repository to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository themselves, and discovered that a more timely and reliable method of migration was to use export and import via XML files. ATOC then created the remaining Groups and Users.

This was achieved on time prior to the AWS hosted MySQL model repository going live.

Results


“ATOC’s main purpose for moving its EA infrastructure into the Cloud was twofold. Firstly floor space is at a premium and there was a need to decommission one of our primary in-house server rooms and all its contents in order to free up valuable space. And secondly a number of applications and file sharing resources have already been moved into the cloud. This move meant that key EA resources could be accessed directly over the internet and security would be provided by ATOC’s Active Directory and local client security would be provided within Enterprise Architect. Using AWS meant that we could scale our EA database in a more dynamic way.

Users have also found that when using EA across AWS it is much faster and more stable than previously. This ease of use has helped to increase and improve productivity and these improvements have all been realised within weeks of having EA installed within AWS.”


Al-Rasheed Amzart
Enterprise Data Architect, ATOC

Summary


With Dunstan Thomas Consulting’s help and experience ATOC migrated their existing model repository and floating licences to the cloud, on time and without any major issues.

At a Glance


  • ATOC took the strategic decision to move all servers to the cloud and required Dunstan Thomas Consulting to provide help and expertise to enable this to happen.
  • The Enterprise Architect model repository was hosted successfully using AWS and MySQL.
  • The Enterprise Architect cloud services was hosted successfully using AWS and a virtual machine running Windows server.
  • The Enterprise Architect floating licenses could not be hosted on AWS, but were hosted successfully using Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint.
  • The migration of the existing repository was successful, but very time consuming. The most reliable means of migration was using export and import using XML files.

You can download a copy of this case study here.

Published in Case Studies
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 23:53

Preparing for the Software Future

"Software is eating the world"

Marc Andreeson, Co-founder of Netscape

 

DigiziedWorld 300x300In those competitive business scenarios where most of the value is delivered by software, the value chains of established players are disrupted. The impact of this force will grow, with a voracious appetite for competition.

The software driven dynamic has been referred to as “unscaled” by Harvard Business Review and it makes incumbent industry players look listless.  Immediate instances are Uber who have left the taxi industry stalled in their wake and agile AirBnB who have stolen a march on the sleeping accommodation sector.

Unscaling is neither upscaling or downscaling, it is small becoming the new big and it occurs when the global audience of the inexpensive Internet becomes exploited and a wide choice of modular services is accessed. It is nimble and quick and it is an innovator nirvana.

 

Print Media

The newspaper and magazine industries have recently seen significant disruption as print circulation continues a global freefall, while the number of readers getting their news via smart phone or tablet rises rapidly. According to a report “US Smartphone Use in 2015”, published by the Pew Research  Center, 64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011.  A majority of these use their phone to follow along with breaking news, and to share and be informed about happenings in their local community.

This disruption is patently evident in many different industries over recent years. The disruption is not simply the move away from traditional media, but reflects a change in reader empowerment.  Ordinary people now have the capability to be journalists and contribute to online conversations.  All of this is facilitated by software that simplifies publishing, video production and live updates as global events happen.

 

Manufacturing

Take one of the more recent developments in the manufacturing industry, that of 3D printers which are software controlled. This technology enables the rapid development and revision of products while bypassing costly traditional manufacturing processes.

However as the 3D printing revolution is gathers pace the technology is finding deployments in core manufacturing.

In 2013 a South African aircraft manufacturer Aerosud, an established supplier to major aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, started building a 3D printer capable of manufacturing aircraft components an order of magnitude faster and close to fifty times larger than any previous printer capable of making metal parts.

 

DigiziedWorld autoAutomotive

The average high end modern car has 100 million lines of code, creating a lower-cost entry point for non-automotive companies with fresh approaches. The trend toward hybrid and electric vehicles such as the Tesla, which is completely computer controlled will only accelerate the software shift. Software runs engines, controls safety features, entertains passengers, guides drivers to destinations and connects each car to mobile, satellite and GPS networks. The automobile is shifting from mechanical to electrical and software controls. 

The degree of software control and complexity in cars and is growing and according to the Economist in January 2016, technology firms may be better placed than car makers to develop and profit from the software that will underpin both automated driving and vehicle-sharing.

Some of these firms may even manufacture cars of their own. Local Motors has produced the first of a range of road-ready, 3D printed vehicles. The Low Speed Electric Vehicles (LSEV) will debut in Q1 2016.  A highway-ready version will be released in late 2016.

 

Taxi Services

Uber is innovating at the intersection of lifestyle and logistics, connecting riders with safe, reliable, convenient transportation providers at a variety of price-points in cities around the world.  The company owns no cars and is disrupting the global taxi industry while focusing on new logistics sectors. Just before the recent consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, GM announced a $500m investment in Lyft, US based nationwide ride-sharing service. Lyft started in 2012 and is currently valued at US$2.5B

 

Retail

According to research from the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation (DBT Center), 47 percent of retail executives believe that disruption could put them out of business.  The combination of on-line, in-store, call center and mobile is creating a new retail customer experience called omnichannel that is managed to ensure that it is seamless, integrated and consistent across all channels.  The decision as to how service will be delivered is becoming the prerogative of the digitally empowered customer rather than that of the retailer.

 

DigiziedWorld aviationManaging the Crisis

While digital disruption of traditional business value chains is a fact, the disruption itself can be seen as a positive, not only because competition sparks innovation, but because it delivers greater value, particularly for the customer and those other actors who drive the success of the business, by consistently realising the resulting digital value.

 

Mission Critical

In a McKinsey article, on the perils of ignoring software development, the article includes a statement that “Despite the mission-critical nature of software, it gets surprisingly little attention in the C-suite.”  Further to this they add that as digital technologies continue reshaping markets, the keys to success for a growing number of companies are, embracing the rising strategic importance of software, and viewing software development as a crucial competitive battlefield.

In many instances it is not a single technology, but different technologies that merge which cause digital disruption in the value chain. Once again, change agility needs technology support.  These new process demands are growing in many business sectors and because successful transition to the maximum utilisation of strategic information technology is a priority for many organisations, enterprise-class BPM principles are being hard wired into operations. Tools such as Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect and standards including Business Process Modeling are essential. 


Innovative Technology

Approximately 2.3 million lines of code run the International Space Station and it is imperative that it continues to function as expected.  The development of software that is mission critical or essential to the survival of business today, necessitates the use of fit for purpose, industrial strength technology.

DigiziedWorld renewablesSparx Systems Enterprise Architect delivers revolutionary architecture to meet the challenges of the digital revolution, separating exploratory areas of the business, from those that are well established, while supporting collaborative agile development, based on the business direction, strategy and vision. It allows the organisation to revise existing enterprise architecture to support the ongoing process of business transformation.

 

Inherited Value

To accept risk and get comfortable with a pace of change that is very different from the current IT operational models, it is essential to leverage technologies that have been designed to mitigate risk and that are built to support industry best practice and standards for industry.

This agile enterprise architecture platform fosters innovation, by enabling continuous building and refactoring, to facilitate the emerging and vanguard technologies.  Simultaneously in a disruptive business environment where continuity is the highest priority, Enterprise Architect supports the consolidation of legacy capabilities.

 

Enterprise Architect

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is the popular, powerful and affordable visual modeling platform, capable of meeting the exacting demands of enterprise IT and Business. 

To manage change in a hyper changing world, organisational leaders are now selecting reliable, scalable solutions that have been extensively road tested, by many hundred of thousands of users. 

In a period of global industry disruption such as is currently being experienced, it is essential to choose the right, standards based platform with the lowest maintenance overhead, to meet the challenges of predictive change management, collaboration and  interoperability.

Published in Sparx Insights
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