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SparxSystems CE: Belgian Railway relies on Enterprise Architect

In order to prepare itself for the liberalisation of national railway markets in 2023, the Belgian National Railway Company SNCB has developed an architecture continuum using Enterprise Architect over the last three years. With more than 1000 applications in use and a huge volume of data, this was not an easy task. Today, IT decisions can be made more easily based on reliable information, and the company is now able to move toward a modern IT landscape.

SNBC1

 Luc Alix (left), Head of Enterprise Architecture and Alain Garsoux (right) in charge of Architecture Governance at Ypto, a subsidiary of the Belgian National Railway Company

Vienna/Brussels – In 2005, the Belgian National Railway Company was divided into three public companies, in accordance with European and Belgian regulations. This naturally had considerable consequences for the common IT: Thousands of components (applications, servers, networks, etc.) had to be recorded, analysed and reassigned. To ease this IT transformation, SNCB decided to create a new IT company called “YPTO”, a 100% subsidiary. Ypto started to invest in its enterprise architecture with Enterprise Architect from Sparx Systems. Luc Alix, Head of Enterprise Architecture, hired Alain Garsoux to promote and improve Ypto’s architectural knowledge database (continuum). Alix: "We very soon decided to define our own architecture framework by adopting and integrating major architecture standards like Archimate™, TOGAF™, BPMN, SAFe, etc.. The adopted prescriptive language helps the decision-making process by forcing us to address the important concerns and not getting lost in details.”

Enterprise Architect: Cost-effective and adaptable

Since a suitable tool is naturally required for the construction of such a complex IT landscape, the decision was made to purchase based on specificity. Enterprise Architect proved to be the cheapest and most adaptable solution. A. Garsoux explains: "Being active in the public sector forces us to regularly reconfirm the purchase, the good price of the platform has so far always made it possible to extend the licenses and to avoid migration tasks. This allows us to continuously work with the tool, which has now been ideally adapted and makes our architecture work much easier and more productive.” Hans Bartmann, Managing Director of SparxSystems Central Europe: "We are pleased that Enterprise Architect has so far overcome the hurdle of tenders so well due to its excellent price-performance ratio, adaptability and openness to many languages and standards. At the same time we congratulate SNCB on their state-of-the-art IT architectural solution, which can also serve as a very good example for other companies!”

SNBC2

The EA Shared Model Repository provides an overview The EA Shared Model Repository provides an overview of the mapped areas and guidelines for modeling

Open tool to reduce complexity

During the embedding phase for the modeling platform, Ypto specified precise guidelines for solution architects. Standard architectural views were defined to support the work of 12 Enterprise Architects and 50 Solution Architects. "Thanks to pre-fab architecture diagrams, we are able to easily capture our current complex IT landscape into the architecture knowledge database (Continuum). The captured raw data is then transformed into actionable information to support decision making”, says A. Garsoux. With this capture, a continuous documentation is automatically updated, which is of decisive importance for traceability and further developments.

The analysis of the existing applications showed for example that currently up to 20 applications are necessary for the handling of a single business activity. Since each of these applications (currently over 1.000) has to be maintained, the declared goal is to significantly reduce this number. "For any new request for change, we always start by specifying the impacted business activities and the impacted applications. From this we can very quickly see - thanks to our architectural knowledge database - what things we want to keep and what needs to be renewed,” says the IT architect.

SNBC3

The Architecture Framework provides an overall view of the IT architecture

New applications are subject to precise specifications

"Precise architectural principles have been defined for all applications, which must be adhered to. Only in this way can we ensure that we achieve a uniform architecture. The framework also helps us to make very efficient decisions on certain developments," explains A. Garsoux. The IT architect now describes the structure as mature and ready for roll-out in the company, which is already ongoing. But he also knows that this will require a lot of internal persuasion: "The commitment to this forward-looking IT architecture must now spread throughout the company, because this of course entails changes. Our delivered information convinced our management and we prove every day that we are taking a decisive step towards a prosperous future for SNCB!"

 

The SNCB

SNCB is Belgium’s national railway company. It is a public company which provides the operation and marketing of railway services for national and international passenger and freight transport. It is also responsible for the maintenance of the rolling stock. SNCB employs around 21,000 people and has a turnover of 2.2 billion euros. It also owns shares in Eurostar and Thalys, as well as in the IFB and TRW branches. SNCB plays a crucial role in the development of sustainable mobility by providing a quality, reliable service that is in line with the market.

 

About Sparx Systems

Enterprise Architect is the world’s premiere UML/SysML modeling platform. Produced in Australia by Sparx Systems since 1996, it has been implemented by over 730,000 users worldwide, due not only to its high performance at an unbeatable price. Enterprise Architect is a powerful yet intuitive modeling tool that facilitates any desired level of explicitness and precision in the development, analysis and documentation of even the most complex systems and architectures. Individuals and teams can use EA to design and produce software systems, perform business process modeling, handle requirements or model any process or system using standardized or custom modeling languages and frameworks with maximum reuse and traceability throughout. Pro Cloud Server and WebEA allow geographically-distributed model-based development and engineering teams to actively collaborate on any number of ongoing projects in real time. SparxSystems Software Central Europe was founded in 2004 in Vienna, Austria to provide individuals and organizations in Europe's core German-speaking and other economically-aligned markets with Enterprise Architect software licenses, training and support in their own language and time zone.

Published in Case Studies

The first Sparx University Week for 2018 will be run during March, with most training sessions being held during the week of March 2-9.

University Weeks are hosted by Sparx Systems Japan, Sparx Systems Central Europe, Sparx Services North America, Sparx Systems India and Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software).

 

 

The delivery format for each course varies depending on the subject, audience and location, with a mix of both online and face-to-face seminars and courses.

It is anticipated that Sparx University Week will be run on a global basis every few months, in conjunction with Sparx Systems Sister and Services Partner network.

Bookings are essential, please review the course schedule below and visit the course provider's website for more details and to register your place.

 

Sparx University Week Schedule:

 Facilitator: Date/Time: Course Title: Location: Language: Link:
Sparx System Japan 2nd March 1:45pm - 5:25pm Tokyo Enterprise Architect Case Studies Seminar 2018 - Free Session! sign-up will be open on the 15th January
Tokyo International Forum (1 minute walk from JR Yurakucho Station) Japanese Details & Registration
Sparx Systems India 5th - 7th March 9:30am - 4:30pm IST Enterprise Architect Training & Workshop for SDLC using UML Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems India 8th - 9th March 9:30am - 4:30pm IST Enterprise Architect Training & Workshop for BA Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software) 5th-6th March 2018 (2 days) 10am - 4pm GMT EA and ArchiMate for Business Architecture Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software) 7th-8th March 2018 (2 days) 10am - 4pm GMT EA and ArchiMate for Enterprise Architecture Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Services North America 6th & 7th March 9 am - 5:30 pm CST Business Process Modelling with BPMN - 2day course Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Services North America 8th March 9 am - 5:30 pm CST Enterprise Architect Business Process Modelling Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 8. März 2018: 09:00-12:00 (MEZ) Webinar Sparx Pro Cloud | Installieren, Konfigurieren, Modellieren auf der Zeitachse und wiederverwendbare Bausteine und Standards Online Delivery Deutsch Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 8th March 2018: 1p.m.-4p.m. (MEZ) Webinar Sparx Pro Cloud | Installation, Configuration, Time-Aware-Modelling and Reusable Asset Services Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 15.-16.02.2018 UML Grundlagen, 2 Tageskurs bei München München Deutsch Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 08.-09.03.2018 Modellbasierte Entwicklung, 2 Tageskurs bei München München Deutsch Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 13.-14.02.2018 SysML mit EA, 2 Tageskurs in München München Deutsch Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 07.-08.03.2018 SysML mit EA, 2 Tageskurs in Wien in Wien Deutsch Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 805.03.2018 9-12h00 MEZ Pro Cloud Installation u.v.m. 3 hours Online Delivery Deutsch Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 10.04.-11.04.2018 Best Practice Days in Nürnberg Nürnberg Deutsch Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 5-06.03.2018 UML Fundamentals Vienna, 2 days course Vienna English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe 05.03.2018 13-16h00 CEST Pro Cloud Installation and more Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Published in Events

The second Sparx University Week will be run during October, with most training sessions being held during the week of October 23-27.

University Weeks are hosted by Sparx Systems Japan, Sparx Systems Central Europe, Sparx Services North America, Sparx Systems India and Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software).

uni week 2 hi rct

The delivery format for each course varies depending on the subject, audience and location, with a mix of both online and face-to-face seminars and courses.

It is anticipated that Sparx University Week will be run on a global basis every few months, in conjunction with Sparx Systems Sister and Services Partner network.

Bookings are essential, please review the course schedule below and visit the course provider's website for more details and to register your place.

 

Sparx University Week Schedule:

 Facilitator: Date/Time: Course Title: Location: Language: Link:
Sparx Systems Central Europe Mon 16 Oct: 9:00am - 12:00pm CEST UML Fundamentals with Enterprise Architect - Free Session!  Online Delivery  English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Thur 19 - Fri 20 October Model-based Development with Enterprise Architect Nuremberg, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Japan Fri 20 Oct: 1:30pm - 5:45pm JST

Enterprise Architect Introductory Seminar - Free Session!

Yokohama, Japan Japanese Details & Registration
Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software) Mon 23 - Tue 24 October Enterprise Architect, BPMN and Use Cases Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Mon 23 - Tue 24 October Enterprise Architect Foundations Munich, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tue 24 - Wed 25 October SysML with Enterprise Architect Munich, Germany German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tue 24 - Wed 25 October Enterprise Architect Foundations Zurich, Switzerland German Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tue 24 - Wed 25 October Enterprise Architect for Developers Amsterdam, Netherlands English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Central Europe Tue 24 - Wed 25 October Enterprise Architect for Developers Vienna, Austria English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems North America Tue 24 - Thur 26 October BIZBOK® 4 Foundation with Enterprise Architect Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems India Tue 24 - Thur 26 October Enterprise Architect for Business Analysis Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Services UK (Hippo Software) Wed 25 - Thur 26 October Enterprise Architect and ArchMate  Online Delivery English Details & Registration
Sparx Systems Japan Fri 27 Oct: 1:30pm - 5:40pm JST Enterprise Architect Utilization Seminar - Free Session! Yokohama, Japan Japanese Details & Registration

 

Published in Events

CIOReviewPBMedIn the February edition of CIO Review, Sparx Systems has been recognized by a distinguished panel of CEO's, CIO's, CMO's, VC's, analysts and the CIO Review editorial board, from a select group of over 300 companies as one of the "most promising BPM technology solution providers".

 

First awarded the honor in 2015, this is a continuing recognition of Sparx Systems' ability to provide technology solutions to streamline operations in a faster, less resource-intensive manner, while keeping costs under control. 

 

For more information regarding CIO Review's 20 Most Promising BPM Solution Providers - 2017, please view the PDF here.

 

An interview with Founder and CEO Geoffrey Sparks is also featured in this month's edition titled 'Architecting' Agile Enterprises, where Geoffrey discusses Enterprise Architect's unique market position as the go-to platform for enterprise-wide digital transformation. 

 

Read the in-depth article between CIO Review and Geoffrey Sparks here: Sparx Systems - Architecting Agile Enterprises (PDF)

 

The February edition of CIO Review can be read at the CIOReview website: http://magazine.cioreview.com/magazines/February2017/BPM

Published in News

Enterprise Architect User Group

London 2017; 18th - 19th May

EA User Group - London 2017The London

2017 meeting of the Enterprise Architect User Group sees a shakeup to the agenda in the form of an additional day being added to the roster. In additional to the traditional presentation day of User Stories, How to's etc the extra day added to the event is taking the form of a training day.

The training day adds to the event a selection of six, three hour training sessions on a variety of subjects from BPMN to TOGAF and Model Curation.


Location

Code Node, 10 South Place, London, EC2M 7BT

Get Directions

EA User Group - London 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Agenda; Thursday 18th May

EA User Group - London 2017

You can find information on these training sessions over at the EA User Group website.


Agenda; Friday 19th May

EA User Group - London 2017

You can find a synopsis for each of these presentations over on the EA User Group website.


How to buy your tickets...

Tickets for the event are available directly from the EA User Group website and are priced as follows:

  • Full two day event ticket; £550.00 +Vat
  • Friday only ticket; £75.00 +Vat

EA User Group - London 2017

Published in News

Digital Transformation is inevitable, are you ready?

Join us in our complimentary workshop to learn what the experts are saying about digital business transformation, and get a personal view of how Next generation Business Architecture and Business Process Management (BPMN, CMMN & DMN) tools and techniques are enabling stakeholders across the organization to bridge gaps and collaborate on the business transformation process

Date: Tuesday August 30 

Time: 12pm - 4pm

Venue: The Big Picture, Seattle, WA, USA

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/dmn-bpmn-cmmn-how-to-make-the-most-of-next-generation-bpm-in-your-digital-enterprise-tickets-27011203236

Published in News

Animated Banner eac2016 bpm2016 confStrategic IT Training organization IRM UK, will be hosting two co-located conferences in London during June 13-16.

 

IRM UK state that the EACBPM conference is "Europe’s only Co-located Conferences on Enterprise Architecture and BPM."

The event provides a unique opportunity to discover the latest approaches and innovative ideas to both BPM and EA and benefit from the synergies between them.

Sparx Systems is a sponsor for the event and senior Sparx representatives will also be in attendance to exhibit the Enterprise Architect platform.

For more information regarding EACBPM 2016, please visit the IRM UK website: http://www.irmuk.co.uk/eac2016/

Published in Events

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.

ea121banner2

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
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

BPMN GeneratorBPMN Generator

An add-in for Enterprise Architect from Dunstan Thomas Consulting

We have had our very own Phil Chudley busy beavering away at a new project which is now commercially available & already in use with DT's customer base.

Overview

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect has the functionality to create diagrams directly from Use Case textual scenarios, the most common of which is termed an Activity Graph. This Activity Graph is a simplified form of UML Activity Diagram. This works well, but many organisations have, or are in the process of, standardising the modelling of process flows using BPMN 2.0, and this form of diagram is not supported by Enterprise Architect. The BPMN Generator extension for Enterprise Architect has been developed by Dunstan Thomas Consulting Ltd to provide the functionality to generate a BPMN 2.0 process flow diagram from Use Case textual scenarios. A typical example is shown below:

Textual Scenario for the Basic Path

BPMN Generator - basic path  

Textual Scenario for the Alternate Path

BPMN Generator - alternate path  

Generated BPMN 2.0 Diagram

BPMN Generator - generated diagram


The BPMN Generator also provides the modeller with options to set:

  • The top margin of the generated diagram.
  • The left margin of the generated diagram.
  • The default height of each task.
  • The adjustment height of each task (used to ensure that text fits in a task).
  • Whether or not a new diagram and elements will be generated rather than overwrite any existing diagram and elements.

Watch the video below to see the BPMN Generator in action:

https://youtu.be/WhL9vEdvHF0 


The BPMN Generator is available from Dunstan Thomas Consulting at £85.00 +Vat per licence. If you would like additional information or to purchase licences for the BPMN Generator then please contact us.

Published in News
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