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In this third instalment of exploring EA through video Phil is looking at Creating a Repository:

 

 

https://youtu.be/7SC9-UCVYFc

If you can't wait to view all of our videos from this series please visit our YouTube channel ... and don't forget to subscribe!

Published in Tutorials

Sparx Systems partner OMNILINK was awarded the Victorian Spatial Excellence Award (VSEA) for Export in September 2015.

OMNILINK has also been nominated for the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Award (APSEA) at Locate 16 during 12-14th of April at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

The AssetWhere™ product which allows organisations to visualise underground services, room and building details and key asset information in a map-based system, was recognised for improving the Management of Property Records in Schools in the UK.

 

vsea 2015  locate16  apsea

 

The Sparx Systems visual modeling platform, Enterprise Architect, the tool of choice for the global geospatial community was used to design and build the AssetWhere™ solution.

Published in News
Friday, 26 February 2016 00:42

BPMN and the Digital Enterprise - Part 2

This is the second of a 2 part series - Read Part 1 here.

 

Internal Coherence:

The link between processes and value creation is the point of focus for business.  Processes are often the heart of how many organizations look to deliver value both inside and outside of the organization and the overarching organisational process is the value chain.

The BPMN standard developed by the Object Management Group (OMG), provides the ability to communicate both internal and external business procedures, in a graphical, standardised manner.  This core enabler of business process management supports both Business and IT, in that it allows the modeling of business processes and services, in a notation that is both intuitively understood by the Business Analysts, who draft the processes, while including the complex semantics - comprehended by Software Developers, who implement the technology - to execute these processes.

waves of change slice

 

Complexity and Risk:

An equally important aim of the BPMN is to ensure that XML, designed for business process execution - and BPML - can also be visually expressed in a common notation. The value of modeling is the capacity to assist the management of complexity and associated risk and to facilitate communication. The models produced, reflect the activities between businesses and their customers and provide explicit records of the agreed requirements for successful business processes.

 

Change Readiness:

To manage inter-organizational business processes, concepts for business process management (BPM) need to be adopted and extended. Formerly siloed key industries are being forced to collaborate, rethink their fundamental business purpose, envision the business they are in and will be in.  They are rapidly adapting from exclusive, to inclusive and from “me” to “we.”  In the “we” future of collaboration, success lies in how organisations use technology to improve their own internal processes, while tapping into exo-organisational ecosystems.

Mobile and automotive industries are collaborating, as are health, retail, and aviation. This requires the propagation of data between different organisations where sharing of standards based process models has a mutual benefit.

New cross-organizational processes need close coordination among networking partners and in this area the Schema Composer in Enterprise Architect 12.1 represents a key enabling technology.

 

Business Language:

cio review bpmJust as the value of a model, is the standards-based common view of a complex system that it presents to a variety of stakeholders, so being able to successfully construct messages from within the model is very valuable because the format or style of messages to be exchanged, can be designed and communicated in a standards-based way- between machine to machine or business to business.  

The Schema Composer provides all entities with mutual assurance via interoperability standards, as to how each entity will react, read and connect with respect to the message exchange and removes the concern to ensure that messages will be successfully exchanged - i.e received and understood - on key levels such as business, information, software etc.  

New business opportunities are realised through collaboration and interoperability. At the heart of any change, whatever it may be is a common standards-based reference frame that allows individuals and business to understand their industry goal, and their contribution and role in achieving the goal.

 

Collaboration:

Collaboration is becoming a new enterprise standard. In the face of the disruptive challenges, successful transition to optimised utilisation of strategic information technology is a priority for many organisations.  Collaboration supports group synthesis, enabling the enterprise to leverage the strengths of all its parts to increase the chances of success while reducing or eliminating process overlap and resource redundancy. The shared awareness of issues promoted through collaboration, encourages trust and builds confidence in group stakeholders, synergising the collective response to problem resolution.

Betsy Burton, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner said in a 2011 press release “Organizations that do not focus EA on their business strategy and on collaborating with business leaders will be greatly limited in their ability to deliver substantial business value. To achieve business outcomes and to drive business change, EA value must be collaboratively developed and supported within the context of the business direction, strategy and future vision."

The organization's enterprise architecture plays a key role in this transition. It is no surprise that in the current atmosphere of technology change collaboration in the enterprise architecture work space is growing.  A recent article in SD Times, reports from the 2014 Collaborative Development trends report by the Linux Foundation that collaborative development is on the rise. Nearly half of business managers surveyed said they got involved in collaborative development because it allows them to innovate and/or help transform their industry.  

A common reference frame that allows individuals to understand what the goal is, and their contribution and role in achieving the goal, is at the heart of any change, whatever it may be.

 

 

Viewing the Future:

BPSim is directly linked to (and extends) the Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) standard to enable easy exchange of models and analysis data required for simulation between platforms.

Business transformation projects are frequently initiated by enterprises in order to capitalise on market opportunities and boost profitability and a critical task is to create an accurate picture of exactly which business processes and resources are needed to deliver against future demand.  Furthermore, they must be sure that any business changes support optimised efficiency and a clear understanding developed around  the crucial timing of key asset investments.

Simulating business processes offers a view of future performance of new processes and the opportunity to validate changes to existing processes without disturbing current business operations.

 

Additional Resources:

Page: MDG Technology for Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)

Brochure: MDG Technology for BPMN

Platforms Page: Tools for Business Process Modeling using the BPMN

Resources: The Business Process Model

News Item: Sparx Systems - 20 Most Promising BPM Solution Providers 2015

 

For information about how Enterprise Architect provides essential support for all of the critical business change issues mentioned above, please visit Sparx Systems website at www.sparxsystems.com, where you can download a 30 day evaluation licence and test for yourself.

Published in Sparx Insights
Monday, 15 February 2016 23:43

BPMN and the Digital Enterprise - Part 1

Schumpeters Gale:

Creative destruction or “Schumpeters Gale” describes the persistent process of change that internally renews the economic status quo, destroying the old and creating the new. Schumpeter’s description of the process of change - while describing economic forces - could aptly be applied to technology, specifically, information technology. Just like a gale, the disruption maelstrom can suddenly destroy markets, industries and businesses and their operations and processes.  The aftermath is the new “normal”.

 

Digital storm blur sliced 600x251

 

Value Chain:

Michael Porter first used the term “Value Chain” three decades ago, to describe how an organisational unit, can manage its business while gaining competitive advantage. Within that period, Business Process Management (BPM) has become a critical success factor.  While the cyclone of digital disruption grows in intensity, the time to adapt business processes to the tempest shrinks. This adaption is business process re-engineering, necessitated by the forces of change - cloud, social media, mobility, Internet of Things and data. See “Growing Business Agility to Create Competitive Advantage - Digital Transformation”.

 

Business Language:

BPM Notation, (BPMN) a core enabler of Business Process Management (BPM), is a  notation readily  understood by business users, from the business analysts that create the initial drafts of processes, to the technical developers responsible for systems implementation, that will execute those processes and finally to the business people, who will manage and monitor those processes.

The value of BPMN is that it simplifies the creation of business process models while addressing the inherent complexity of business processes. Enterprise Architect provides a full-featured implementation of the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) allowing business processes to be expressed in a standard graphical notation and traced throughout enterprise and system models. It can also be used, to automatically generate Business Process Execution Language (BPEL).

 

cio review bpmMobile:

The Mobile revolution is providing equity of access to education, health, government, banking, environment and business, for much of the global community. However, it is also challenging enterprise business models in every sector. It is here to stay and represents a disruptive influence on business that cannot be ignored.

 

Cloud:

The transformative power of Cloud is presenting opportunities to efficiently facilitate new revenue, services and business, as companies harness. It is collapsing the supply chain, creating more effective and timely interaction between clients and suppliers while delivering speed, agility and cost reduction to IT and other functional areas within the enterprise, such as HR and CRM.

 

Internet of Things:

The Internet of Things (IoT) will require organizations to master new business models, architectures, operating systems, tools, methodologies, databases, networks, middleware, and sourcing partners.  The explosion of the IOT will contribute to the generation of exponential data growth which threatens our current ability to cope. Without support from collaborative technologies that support highly automated processes, the time required to make this data re-usable is impractical. Meanwhile new data silos are spawned. Sparx Systems has provided a trinity of powerful tools to address this issue, - Cloud Service, Reusable Asset Service and OSLC.

 

Measured Success and Business Governance:

Meanwhile, systems integration is being challenged because legacy systems cannot integrate with the new force-driven technologies, as system documentation is often inadequate.  The inability to meet this challenge prevents many sectors from seizing the new opportunities created by change.  The success of this critical adaption and reinvention of core business processes is measured in the resulting digital value, consistently realised by customers, suppliers, partners and other stakeholders alike.

 

Essential Tools:

bpmn model with bpsim configuration

 Across different business sectors, an awareness of this “new business norm” necessitates the basic requirement that enterprise-class BPM principles are hard wired into operations.  To fulfil this fundamental governance requirement, Enterprise Architect and standards, including Business Process Modeling and Notation (BPMN), are essential tools. They can improve agility and flexibility and create leaner organisations, by assisting to integrate the business elements of the value chain.

 
While applying UML as the base, these techniques enable the enterprise to better understand and design its enterprise architecture and allow the organisation to react rapidly, with greater control over outcomes and governance obligations.  Enterprise Architect supports the direct mapping of these obligations to the enterprise architecture.

 

Additional Resources:

Page: MDG Technology for Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)

Brochure: MDG Technology for BPMN

Platforms Page: Tools for Business Process Modeling using the BPMN

Resources: The Business Process Model

News Item: Sparx Systems - 20 Most Promising BPM Solution Providers 2015

 

For information about how Enterprise Architect provides essential support for all of the critical business change issues mentioned above, please visit Sparx Systems website at www.sparxsystems.com, where you can download a 30 day evaluation licence and test for yourself.

 

BPMN and the Digital Enterprise Part 2: Read More Here

Published in Sparx Insights
eausergroup lindholmen science park gothenburg

 

 

 

 

 

This one day Enterprise Architect User Group will be held on 14th April 2016.

Featuring three tracks, the meeting will focus on a “hands on approach to Enterprise Architect” that will be supported, with 30 minute presentations and associated workshops.

 

new.png

 

For full details of the event, please visit the Biner website here.

For future User Group events in your area, please visit the EAUG website.

Published in Events
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 21:47

Introduction to the Database Builder

enterprise architect for database administrator roles banner

Enterprise Architect’s Database Builder provides interactive connectivity to a DBMS,  supporting both the initial creation of a database and the ongoing update of tables, views, triggers and procedures – all from within the design model.

 

This tutorial paper works through a simple database example (attached in .ZIP file) using the Database Builder to create tables within a new Database, then make modifications in both the model and the Database and use the compare functionality to update the Database and the model respectively.

Published in White Papers
Monday, 01 February 2016 01:04

ISO 19160-1 Addressing Standard Released

arcgis screenshotOn 15 December 2015, ISO 19160-1 was released.  This standard was developed by ISO/TC 211- a standard technical committee within the International Standards Organisation (ISO), to cover the areas of digital geographic information and geomatics.

The ISO 19160-1 standard defines a conceptual model for address information, together with the terms and definitions that describe the concepts in the model. The model was developed in Enterprise Architect and is presented in the Unified Modeling Language (UML).

For almost a decade Sparx Systems has supported the global geospatial community through provision of Enterprise Architect licences for standards development and inclusion of
Esri ArcGIS and GML profiles within Enterprise Architect.  

Additional Information:

Published in News

Sparx Systems: Authorised Enterprise Architect Training PartnerExploring Enterprise Architect through video...part 2

In this second instalment of exploring EA through video Phil is looking at the visual style and workspace configuration options in Enterprise Architect.

https://youtu.be/Bfg_1h4rews

If you can't wait to view all of our videos from this series please visit our YouTube channel ... and don't forget to subscribe!

Published in Tutorials
Thursday, 21 January 2016 01:48

The Agile Business Analyst

“It's not the technology that's scary; it's what it does to the relations between people that's scary”

- Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Everything Changing:

We are all aware that we are living in a period of unprecedented disruption where everything that we thought as being the status quo, business as usual, is changing rapidly.  Technology ‘disrupts existing markets and value networks, displacing established market leaders and alliances’.  Popular examples are Uber which is challenging the taxi industry model. Then there is AirBnB challenging the accommodation industry model and 3D printing which is challenging the manufacturing model.  

However, in a recent interview Jay Scanlan and Paul Wilmot from McKinsey, posit that unlike a pure play disrupter such as Uber, “our incumbent organizations and our incumbent clients have a broader range of concerns that they need to address. And they have a broader range of customer needs and consumer demands that they want to fulfill.”

Unlike start ups, incumbent organizations hold valuable assets like people, finance and data, etc. Scanlan and Wilmot pose the question as to how incumbents will strategically use these assets to defend themselves against aggressive competition, as digital disrupts their industry.

 

agile cycle 300pxAgile... The New Norm:

In the face of this change, the adoption of Agile approaches to project management is growing.  It is expected that in 2016 the US Federal Government General Services Administration will solicit bids for a number of major agile projects.  This follows the piloting of agile projects last year by 18F, an agile development consulting arm, within General Services Administration.

A recent survey of development and IT professionals, shows that Agile is now the norm. The majority of development teams and projects now embrace the methodology, while pure waterfall approaches are in the minority. The study conducted by HP in 2014 consisted of an online survey of 601 software developers and IT professionals  representing over 600 organisations,  where 400 + described themselves as “pure agile”.

According to Gartner “Digital business will require application leaders to explore development outside of traditional IT and to ensure fast-paced incremental releases in order to be competitive.”  Just as digital transformation is changing role of application leaders such as the CIO, so too it is impacting the role of the Business Analyst (BA) in the private and public sectors.

 

The Agile Business Analyst:

The BA has traditionally embraced the rapids of change much like a canoeist. Using the IIBA Body of Knowledge (BABOK) as both their map and compass, they engage the volatility and uncertainty of change. With an innate capability they navigate successful transits, piloting by their experience and understanding of the different currents and hazards.  

Agile presents great opportunity for the BA.  In the process of connecting people and engendering understanding, improving product quality and increasing customer satisfaction, they have the potential to play many roles, to become the consultant.

A key finding of the HP survey was that the majority of participants agreed that “the primary motivators for Agile adoption are associated with improving team collaboration and increasing software quality and customer satisfaction.”

Becoming increasingly involved in Agile projects and addressing the growth in the variety of concerns of the stakeholder (the Customer) will require that the BA leverage the use of Agile tools.  This technology will enable the BA to help their clients find ways to make Agile work for them.


BABOK  3.0 Reference Model - an Agile Approach:

babok mindmap shotRecently, through a collaboration agreement between International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA) and Sparx Systems, a BABOK 3.0 Reference Model has been developed in Enterprise Architect.

This Reference Model provides case studies covering every knowledge area, task and technique in the BABOK Guide. Each case study contains hundreds of examples utilizing diagrams, matrices, charts, documents, and a plethora of tools.  This functionality with many others is combined with the power of Enterprise Architect.

The Reference Model links the BABOK 3.0 to a rich and complete User Guide that provides help and guidance with every aspect of using Enterprise Architect.  Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is the control center supporting real time collaborative Enterprise Architecture planning, building, testing, deployment and communication across all domains and stakeholders.


Enterprise Agile Adoption:

As the constraints of the traditional enterprise architecture approach are replaced by the force of digital convergence and transformation, executives seek agile enterprise architecture approaches and technologies that are fit for purpose.  The tools deployed to manage that architecture are critical to the success of digital transformation.

Detailed descriptions in the Reference Model will teach the Business Analysts how to use the tool to complete tasks and perform techniques including process modeling and requirements management. Videos, slideshows and white papers add to the rich set of guidance that will help BA's become an Agile Business Analyst assisting organizations to become more purposeful in how they choose to adopt Agile.

Seeking customer feedback and quickly improving the product, fuels the success of many disruptive technologies.  This is the approach of Sparx Systems to the ongoing development of Enterprise Architect. As Sparx Systems CEO, Geoff Sparks notes, “Agile development provides a shared and flexible team experience through complete transparency, iterative development and constant feedback - it has been the essential design goal of Enterprise Architect for over a decade and it will remain just as valid today.”

 

Additional Information:

Published in Sparx Insights

Introduction

Straight out of the box, Sparx Enterpise Architect provides support for multiple modeling notations. Using a synergy of notations can result in a better description of business architecture. This article considers how ArchiMate, BPMN and UML can be combined into a model that is focused at a high-level of abstraction, whilst still allowing for some critical details to be explored.

Revealing layers of abstraction

As explained in Marc Lankhorst's book Enterprise Architecture at Work (third edition, p. 117), modeling notations provide a way to represent knowledge. The process of building, sharing and transforming the model can foster a new level of understanding amongst the participants. This refined knowledge is (at least) as valuable as the resulting model artifacts (the representation). Effective communication of that knowledge requires consideration for the target audience and an appropriate level of detail.

ArchiMate is good for:

  • People who have a job title like Enterprise Architect or Business Architect.
  • Presenting high-level and layered abstractions of the business itself, along with the software and technology that are used to support it.
  • Tracing and illustrating how the motivating strategy is realised by the business.
  • Planning the evolution and transformation of a business.
  • Supporting concepts that are similar to those found within TOGAF.

By design, the ArchiMate 2.1 specification does not (explicitly) provide for detailed:

  • Business process modeling
  • Data modeling

Meanwhile:

  • BPMN (Business Process Modeling and Notation) is focused on the detailed modeling of business processes; naturally enough, BPMN is increasingly used amongst the Business Analyst community.
  • UML Class diagrams may be used to detail data types, along with the relationships between data types; they are widely recognized amongst software developers, and a good alternative to using entity relationship diagrams for logical data modeling.

Coordinating multiple notations in a single model repository

UML is the native metamodel and notation of Sparx Enterprise Architect. Each additional notation (such as ArchiMate and BPMN) is provided as a MDG (Model-Driven Generator) technology within the tool. The UML specification provides for semantic extension of the UML through the mechanism of Profiles, Stereotypes and Tagged Values. Profiles are the heart of each MDG Technology, enhanced with Sparx tool specific details supporting new types of diagram notations and diagram toolboxes.

Using multiple notations within a single repository requires a disciplined approach in order maintain clarity. In brief, the best practice is to:

  • Restrict the elements of each notation to a separate root node.
  • Use the UML «Trace» dependency to provide an elegant way of relating elements belonging to different notations.

Add root node to your Sparx Enterprise Architect repository

You might not have realised that the File|New Project… menu option is something of a misnomer. Both EAP and FEAP files are actually self-contained model repositories, and can therefore contain multiple root nodes (just like a RDBMS hosted shared repository, whether accessed through an ODBC or Cloud connection). As a reminder, you can add a new root node into a repository by performing the following steps:

  1. If necessary, click View|Project Browser to open the Project Browser window.
  2. Right-click inside the blank (white) area of the Project Browser window and then click Add|Add Root Node….
  3. The Create New Model (root node) window is displayed. Type MyCorporation (ArchiMate) into the Model Name field.
  4. In a similar way, create root nodes for:
    • MyCorporation (BPMN)
    • MyCorporation (UML)

Create a «Trace» dependency between elements belonging to different notations

As stated in the Unified Modeling Language 2.5 specification (p246):

"Models can have Abstraction Dependencies between them: refinement (stereotyped by «Refine» from the Standard Profile) or mapping (for example stereotyped by «Trace» from the Standard Profile). These are typically represented in more detail by Dependencies between the elements contained in the Models. Relationships between elements in different Models generally have no direct impact on the contents of the Models because each Model is meant to be complete. However, they are useful for tracing refinements and for keeping track of cross-references between models."

ArchiMate for an architectural understanding

For example, an ArchiMate Business Process Viewpoint diagram for Purchase Item might look as follows:

 

business-process-viewpoint-purchase-items.jpg

This provides a high-level overview of a core business process, with enough detail to inform stakeholders and decision making at a whole-enterprise level of abstraction.

BPMN for detailing business processes

BPMN can be used to detail the ArchiMate Business Process concept, as follows:

 

bpmn-purchase-items.jpg

UML for detailing the data entites

UML Classes can be used to detail the ArchiMate Business Object concept, as follows:

 

logical-data-modeling.jpg

Usually, diagrams should only contain a single notation. In the examples above, multiple notations are deliberately used to visualise «Trace» dependencies between the ArchiMate, BPMN and UML elements.

How-to add «Trace» dependencies between elements model elements

Best practice for adding «Trace» dependencies using a diagram is to:

  1. Temporarily add the required elements of the foreign notation to a diagram.
  2. Draw the «Trace» depencies between elements.
  3. Remove the foreign notation elements from the diagrams, whilst retaining the traceablity links within the model repository. (So, delete the foreign elements from the diagram, but NOT the repository).

Alternatively, you could use the Relationship Matrix functionality of Sparx Enterprise Architect (click Tools|Relationship Matrix to get started).

Summary

The UML specified «Trace» dependency (relationship) is an elegant way of tracing between different modeling notations. Sparx Enterprise Architect provides a wide coverage of modeling notations, by leveraging the UML Profiles mechanism, and enhancing it with MDG technologies. In practice, this enables a synergy of the ArchiMate, BPMN and UML notations. Models can be constructed as layered abstractions, moving from one notation to another to suit the level of detail required by the user and intended audience.

Published in Tutorials
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