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Tuesday, 07 November 2017 21:13

Sparx Services North America at BBC 2017

sparx services north america logo

Come Visit Sparx Services North America at BBC2017 in Orlando, FL November 6-10

For those of you attending the 2017 Building Business Capability Conference in Orlando this week, stop by the boot and learn about the exciting new training, consulting and technology offerings from Sparx Systems North America - specifically targeted at the Business Analyst community. 

Request a demo of the Sparx Business Architecture Toolkit aligned to the BABOK v3 and while you are there, learn about how you can use the industry leading architecture modeling tools in Sparx Enterprise Architect to support your BA processes and practices.

If you are CBAP certified and in need of some additional CDU's, Sparx Services North America can help!  As an IIBA Endorsed Education Provider, we hacan offer a wide variety of courses to help you continue your professional development as a Business Analyst that can be conducted either on-site at your company or virtually.  Talk to one of our staff at BBC to learn more or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

We look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

 

Published in Events

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Sparx Services North America launches new offerings to support the BIZBOK® Guide for Business Architecture

Sparx Services North America is pleased to announce a new set of training, consulting and technology offerings aligned to the BIZBOK Guide to support the Business Architecture discipline.  Business Architecture is an essential part of companies’ digital transformation and operational excellence strategies - weaving together people, processes, information and technology in support of strategic vision and operational objectives. A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge® (BIZBOK Guide) from the Business Architecture Guild® represents the generally accepted standards of practice for the Business Architecture discipline.

BIZBOK Training Offerings

Whether you are a new or aspiring Business Architect seeking to learn the fundamentals of the role; a seasoned Enterprise, Business, Information or Systems Architect looking to add the BIZBOK methodology to your toolbox; or a company that uses Sparx Enterprise Architect today and are looking to bring best-practices into your architecture function – the BIZBOK training offerings from Sparx Services North America, a Guild Accredited Training Provider®, can help provide the skills you need to succeed.

BIZBOK Foundation: A 3-day course covering the core framework content of the BIZBOK to help students prepare for the Certified Business Architect® exam from the Business Architecture Guild.

Sparx Enterprise Architect BIZBOK: A 2-day course to help students understand how to use Sparx Enterprise Architect (the industry leading EA tool) to support Business Architecture activities as outlined in the BIZBOK.

BIZBOK Essentials: A 5-day course that combines the framework and essential concepts from the BIZBOK Foundation course with the practical application and tooling guidance from the implementation course into an intensive overview to give students the knowledge and skills to apply the BIZBOK in their daily work. 

Business Architecture Alignment and Integration: A 2-day course focused on leveraging the BIZBOK concepts to integrate Business Architecture with existing EA, Business Analysis and Solution Delivery functions.

BIZBOK Consulting Offerings

As active contributors to the Business Architecture Guild, the architects from Sparx Services North America understand how to apply the BIZBOK framework and methods within the context of a company’s EA/BA practice along with best-practices for configuring and using Sparx Enterprise Architect to support the BIZBOK methods.

Coming Soon! BIZBOK Extension for Sparx Enterprise Architect

Sparx Services North America will soon be releasing a new BIZBOK Extension (MDG Technology) for the Sparx Enterprise Architect platform - providing pre-configured objects, data models and templates to enable Business Architects to quickly perform techniques direct from the BIZBOK using the industry leading EA tool, Sparx Enterprise Architect.

To learn more about the BIZBOK offerings from Sparx Services North America, visit www.sparxsystems.us/bizbok or contact one of our BIZBOK experts at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

gatp badgeSparx Certified Training Stamp

Business Architecture Guild, BIZBOK, A Guide to the Business Architecture Body of Knowledge, Certified Business Architect, CBA, Guild Accredited Training Program, and GATP are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Business Architecture Guild. Sparx Systems, Enterprise Architect, MDG Integration, and MDG Technology are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sparx Systems Pty Ltd

Published in News

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).

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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

In BA Lens this month - the IIBA magazine discusses how Sparx Systems has brought the BABOK Guide for Business Analysts into Enterprise Architect's tooling environment, helping to make it more interactive and functional.

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Sparx Systems' BA toolset is a product of a memorandum of understanding between the two organizations that aims to "create greater connections and engagements across the business analysis community" (see press release). 

 

As stated by the editor at BA Lens - "As a business analysis professional, you need access to the leading-edge tools and resources. This toolkit will allow BAs to meet any challenge with instant access to BABOK® Guide v3 in a convenient and familiar web-based format."

The toolset comprises of two different parts - an interactive, editable example model of business analysis techniques and a convienient web-based reference to the BABOK.

 

tools and techniques for babok guide v3 page ctr

“It is the first-time business analysis techniques have been actualized in this way, and the solution has the capacity to revolutionize the way the BABOK® Guide v3 is applied within the enterprise,”, Sparx Systems COO Tom O'Reilly said.

To read the BA Lens article in full visit:  http://balens.iiba.org/?q=content/collaboration-driving-new-level-efficiency-and-engagement

To learn more about Tools and Techniques for BABOK Guide v3 visit: http://www.sparxsystems.com/products/mdg/babok

 

 

Published in News
We recently published Panorama 360 Insurance and Wealth Management Enterprise Business Architecture Framework as a book (456 pages) which is globally available on Amazon. It covers all functional  (Capabilities) and informational aspects of the industry. This enterprise business model was also introduced on Sparx EA a couple of years ago.
 
The new Version 4.0 of Panorama 360 Insurance and Wealth Management Enterprise Business Architecture Framework is now available as a book on all Amazon sites for $95.  If you are interested in viewing the model before purchasing a Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect version, you can go to Amazon. Here is the link to Amazon:
 
 
You can buy paperback and soft copy formats. Subsequently, if you are interested in a Sparx Enterprise Architect version, you can contact us directly. We have attached a file showing screen shots of Panorama 360 on Sparx Enterprise Architect to this news.
 
 
 
Panorama 360 will give business and IT projects more speed, at lesser cost and with more quality. Panorama 360 is the definitive reference for managing organizations and planning, designing, developing, and implementing business processes and technology in Insurance and Wealth management.
 
As an insurance company, a consulting organization, an independent consultant or a technology vendor, Panorama 360 Enterprise Business Architecture Framework is a key resource to create value, reduce costs while increasing quality and speed.
 
The Panorama 360 Enterprise Business Architecture Framework is successfully used in several situations such as:
 
·         Strategic planning
·         Organizational planning
·         Business and IT architectures
·         Digital transformation
·         Process Improvement
·         Business requirements
·         Software evaluations
·         Information management
·         Mergers and acquisitions
·         Training new employees
·         Activity Based Costing
·         Risk Management
·         Management of Change
 
For more information, you can write us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
 
Published in News
Tuesday, 29 November 2016 22:47

Requirements for Digital Transformation

Requirements are fundamentally important as they are about building the right system.

Yet the failure of requirements is the primary cause of project failure.

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How many times do we forget passwords AND user names? This is a clear example of the risk associated with the reliability of the human memory and associated human error. Let's consider the management of the myriad detail accumulated throughout the requirements planning process and the steps of Eliciting, Documenting, Analysing and Communicating. Oh, and let's not forget Tracking, Validating and Verifying!

So spare a thought for the Business Analyst, whose whole focus is on capturing requirements, to ensure successful project outcomes. Or to put it another way, the task of translating the needs, wants and expectations, of all user stakeholders, into technical language for the developers and others, to ensure that they - the users - are are going to get the functionality, that they need, want and expect from a system. This is not a petty task and it can take months. Meanwhile, there is the probability, due to complexity, that not all of the requirements are going to be addressed because of a number of factors, not least, their having been lost or forgotten.

Requirements Coques2 175x100However if effectively managed, requirements identification and supporting traceability improves the overall project outcome, simply because time will be saved, less money will be spent, and most importantly, the customer will be happier.

The Requirements management process has seen much change in the past 20 years and two of the most obvious are the involvement of the customer in all phases of the process and that the requirements process itself is now dynamically linked into an agile culture of continuous integration and delivery. The increase in software defined business, is driving the growth and importance of application delivery within encumbent enterprise and with ever more startups disrupting their industries, enterprise needs greater levels of automation to compete and to deliver quality, quicker than competitors.

In the past Requirements were captured in hand written paper documents, which in time, were augmented with spreadsheets and word documents. The rigour of the process left space for improvement. Today, requirements associated material is held in a central repository and updates are visible to all stakeholders. Enterprise Architect can capture all of the different information that records requirements information, be it from Word, Excel, Visio, handwritten notes, video or audio.

Requirements Coques3 175x100In the past Requirements was an isolated process that had built in “wait” or handover periods before being consumed by the other phases of the project life cycle. Today these gaps are closed with automation and requirements are integrated across the development life cycle, with many other functions. The end result is less time to delivery.

Organisational cultures of resistance to change, identified by a bulwark of divisional and departmental silos and a reluctance to co-operate, increased the risk of failure for the change process. Today, technology based collaborative platforms are increasingly being adopted as they are inclusive, breaking open silos, empowering stakeholders and drawing them together.

The progress of development projects lacked transparency for most key stakeholders, right to the point when business took delivery. Whatever visibility the stakeholders had, was gathered from assumptions, rather than from objective data. Today, key stakeholders form an integral part of the development team and have access to progress charts and dashboard metrics.

In the past, the management of shareholder supported organisations held tightly to the overarching goal of ensuring change was minimised or avoided, so as to maintain the value of their shares. Today the digital imperative, as opposed to the business imperative, says be prepared to change, or risk oblivion.

Requirements Coques 175x100These examples are a reflection of the changes in the Requirements Management process, which in the development model of today, supports iterative requirements gathering and continuous delivery of software. It has become an Agile practice approach, being adopted to address the challenge of digital transformation. This collaborative, iteration based business lifecycle, between requirements and stakeholders, has given rise to DevOps, a strategy for managing continuous change.

Enterprise Architect is unique in its ability to support Requirements throughout the development lifecycle and to deliver the benefits of the Agile practice approach. Requirements can be defined in the model, or imported from other tools including Visio.

Recently, through agreement with IIBA, Sparx Systems is in the process of developing the Enterprise Architect Guide to BABOK Implementation. Through the power of this collaborative, visual modeling platform, the extension provides the Business Analyst with a fully augmented BABOK user experience.

On March 29, 2017, the public Beta launch of Tools & Techniques for BABOK Guide v3 was announced - please visit the Sparx Systems website for more details.

Published in Sparx Insights

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.

Published in Events

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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

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

How to combine Sparx Enterprise Architect and BABOK to manage Requirements in a modern way?

Days when Business Analyst was using only Word and Excel applications together with e-mail program are slowly fading into the past. This is a good thing. There are many tools that allow us to work faster and smarter. One of them is my favorite Sparx Enterprise Architect. The tool so powerful and versatile that it's hard to find single person who used all of its features :-)

Personally, I used Enterprise Architect in my work for past several years to design IT systems and prepare documentation of them. I used a lot of built-in features of Enterprise Architect to streamline my work and improve quality of my deliverables. Among them Relationship Matrix, powerful template functionality for document generation, extensive support for Use Case modeling. 

Requirement attributes

Among many other things, BABOK Guide defines list of commonly used requirement attributes:

  • Absolute reference: provides a unique identifier. The reference is not altered or reused if the requirement is moved, changed, or deleted.
  • Author: provides the name of the person who needs to be consulted should the requirement later be found to be ambiguous, unclear, or in conflict.
  • Complexity: indicates how difficult the requirement will be to implement.
  • Ownership: indicates the individual or group that needs the requirement or will be the business owner after the solution is implemented.
  • Priority: indicates relative importance of requirements. Priority can refer to the relative value of a requirement or to the sequence in which it will be implemented.
  • Risks: identifies uncertain events that may impact requirements.
  • Source: identifies the origin of the requirement. The source is often consulted if the requirement changes or if more information regarding the requirement or the need that drove the requirement has to be obtained.
  • Stability: indicates the maturity of the requirement.
  • Status: indicates the state of the requirement, whether it is proposed, accepted, verified, postponed, cancelled, or implemented.
  • Urgency: indicates how soon the requirement is needed. It is usually only necessary to specify this separately from the priority when a deadline exists for implementation.

Source: BABOK Guide V3, page 45.

As it is stated, those are most commonly used, which means that this list is not written in stone and each Analyst must decides which to use. Actually, for this exercise we have a special task  in BABOK Guide named Plan Business Analysis Information Management.

The purpose of Plan Business Analysis Information Management is to develop an approach for how business analysis information will be stored and accessed.

Source: BABOK Guide V3, page 42.

Since I read the Mastering the Requirements Process: Getting Requirements Right (which was quite sometime ago) I extended my requirement attributes list with those two:

  • Justification
  • Fit Criteria

Justification is a rationale for requirement. It explains why requirement is needed by stakeholder(s). It is very important attribute as it allows to distinguish between real requirements and solutions requested by stakeholders that pretend to be requirements.

Fit Criteria's aim is to make sure that requirement is verifiable.  It means that there is defined way of proofing that the requirement is met. This attribute directly addresses one of the characteristics of a good requirement which is Testable. (Have you ever seen requirements like: "System must be easy to learn" or "System must be user friendly" and wondered What the hell this means? I bet you did! :-) )

Enhanced Requirement Attributes Addin for Sparx Enterprise Architect

Sparx Enterprise Architect does not support all of the mentioned above attributes out of the box. Some are there, but not all of them. You may add missing ones as TaggedValues in requirement element, but working this way on a daily basis is hard and miserable.

To address this problem I created Enhanced Requirement Attributes Addin for Enterprise Architect. In short ERA addin (addin means plugin). It adds new properties window which is dedicated only for Requirement type. When you double click on any Requirement element this new window will be opened by default. Properties for other element types will be opened in EA's default properties window.

ERA Addin – Requirement properties window

Sometimes you may still want to open Requirement element in default properties window, just click 'Default properties' button, or press Alt+Enter keys on the selected element.

Requirement properties window aggregates in one place all most important attributes that were described above. This makes reading and editing a requirement very easy. Requirement properties windows supports:

  • Some of BABOK / Volere additional attributes
  • Rich edit functionality for Description attribute
  • Key shortcuts (Ctrl+S - save & close  and Ctrl+W - close without saving)

Compatibility

All of the additional attributes are stored as TaggedValues of Requirement element. This a built-in functionality of Enterprise Architect. There is no custom solution for storing information. As you can see in the picture below, you can access and edit those attributes in normal properties window.

EA’s normal properties window

This means you may use ERA Addin without worrying about compatibility. You can be the only person on the project or in your organization using ERA Addin and other Analysts & Architects will still be able to view and edit Requirement without problems. Of course it will not be as easy and convenient as in ERA Addin, but important thing is that you will not break anything!

ERA Addin does not use any custom UML Profile, it works with default, built-in Requirement type. So you can start using it on your already created requirement models without any conversions or problems with migration. There is also no risk, if you will not like ERA Addin you will simply uninstall it, there will be no impact on your model.

Generation of documentation

ERA Addin was created with easy reporting in mind. It comes with a Requirements Details template that is used to generate documentation about all additional requirement attributes. Here you can download sample document with generated documentation about requirements in Stakeholder package.

Practical

ERA Addin is free to use for everybody including commercial purposes. It is redistributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License.

Downloads

  • Installer of ERA Addin together with Requirements Details template can be downloaded from here.
  • Sample Enterprise Architect project can be downloaded from here.
Published in Community Resources
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