Nizam Mohamed

Nizam Mohamed

14+ Years with Sparx EA - Training, Consultation, Customization and Support. Offered Training and Consultation for Sparx EA clients across the world.

Key Skills - Sparx EA - Metamodel definition, Deployment, MDG Development, Addin Development, Advanced Documentation Templates, Model Harvesting.

Complimentary Skills
Business Development, Data Warehousing, UML, SysML, BPMN, Enterprise Architecture, Solution Architect, TOGAF, ArchiMate, SDLC management.

Key pain points for introducing MDG Color Configuration

In previous versions of Prolaborate (before 4. X), creating charts and heatmaps with a consistent color was a tedious process as it required manual configuration for every chart. This made it difficult to scale up uniform visuals across architecture dashboards.

However, the latest version of Prolaborate (4. X) addresses this pain point by introducing MDG Color Configuration, which enables the configuration of colors across the model. The feature simplifies the process of creating charts and heatmaps with a consistent color setting, allowing users to easily create a uniform look and feel across their architecture dashboards.

As a result, Prolaborate 4. X helps to foster readability and better decision-making by enabling users to create clear and visually appealing dashboards.

Problem Statement 1: Inconsistent colors for properties

In Prolaborate V3, to apply a specific color for a property across model, we must set colors in every place it is used. This is a tedious process for one who tries to showcase the same color for a property across model. In the below dashboard, ‘Enterprise Capability Analysis’, the colors for a property ‘Criticality’ the color is configured manually in each widget.

Inconsistent Color across Model

The colors have been configured by using the color palette from the chart configuration. It needs to be done manually, which consumes a lot of time and effort. However, With MDG color configuration we can achieve this easily in V4.

Set consistent colors across the model

In the below dashboard, the colors are set to properties in one source and the widgets have automatically rendered the colors in dashboards in accordance. Hence, colors are maintained consistently across model.

The colors have been auto-configured from the MDG color configuration. For more personalization users can select the colors for tagged values, which consumes less effort and time.

Set consistent color

Problem Statement 2: Repeat the configuration for each widget

To generate a great visual cue, users need  to configure colors for properties in each widget. So that the widgets complement each other. To achieve this in Prolaborate 3.x one must configure colors manually for all the charts and reports. A user can easily overcome this challenge in Prolaborate V4.

Redundant Effort

One-time Color Configuration

One can skip the hassle by setting the colors for the tagged values in MDG color configuration as it  enables Prolaborate to render the colors in the following areas-

  • Dashboards and widgets
  • EA Reports
  • Property tab
  • Overview page

Below is a sample dashboard defined using MDG Color Configuration.

One Time Configuration

Problem Statement 3: Scale up uniform visuals across architecture dashboards

As we mature through the process, it becomes a necessity to define multiple dashboards that cater to different stakeholder groups. It is a mundane task for a person who is setting up these dashboards to refer across dashboards to find which color is for which property. This allows users to follow various colors across the repository. As, a result, they end up creating dashboards in different colors.

Challenges in scaling up uniform visuals across architecture dashboards

Showcase uniform visuals across architecture dashboards

MDG color configuration comes very handy in applying the uniform color for the tagged values across models. This helps us in creating various dashboards for diverse stakeholder groups with matching standard colors. In the below example we have shown multiple dashboards and the colors for the properties used in these dashboards at one place.

Showcase uniform visuals across dashboards

Other useful links

Read how to configure MDG Color Configuration here -

Find more resources about Prolaborate at 

Explore what is coming up in the next version of Prolaborate V4.4.1

Discover more such features from recent Prolaborate Training - 

Download latest version of Prolaborate from

The much-awaited Sparx Systems #EnterpriseArchitect 16.0 released!!!.

The world-leading modeling tool now with the cutting edge features to meet the emerging needs of remote, distributed teams. Auto-refresh diagrams, Auto-reloading in-flight diagrams, Excel-like views to edit artifacts and relationships, Custom dynamic documents, Faster

Model interchange. and a plethora of long-awaited enhancements to simplify and make modeling easier and efficient.

More information on key features can be found in the articles below


Enhanced User Security in Enterprise Architect 16

QEA Files in Sparx EA 16 enables EA SaaS solution

Scriptlets in Enterprise Architect 16 – A Step Beyond Static View

Enterprise Architect 16 Menus and Shortcuts – A Detailed Comparison to EA 14 and EA 15

Additional Resources

EA SaaS is now available for Small and Medium Teams, powered by QEA files

EA SaaS for Small Teams (EA for Mac) Video  -

Visit or reach This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a demo.

Sparx Enterprise Architect 16 introduced the SQLite-powered QEA / QEAX files as the default project file types. This replaces the conventional EAP / EAPX files which were built on the MS Access database(??).

The robust, stable, and scalable SQLite databases now allow small teams and groups of individual practitioners to collaborate on projects without a need for a dedicated Database Server and Database instances.

The EA SaaS Solution ( Click For More Information) allows users to use the fully-featured Enterprise Architect modeling tool using web-browsers (Refer to Video) making it extremely simple for users to start using EA without any installation overheads, especially Mac Users, and organizations with stringent installation policies and complicated update process.

 Sparx EA SaaS

However, the EA SaaS solution has always been backed by a powerful Cloud infrastructure to host the Central Repositories (DBMS), which is usually seen as a barrier to entry for smaller teams or individuals with budgetary constraints.

The QEA file-based sharing has now enabled spinning up a EA SaaS solution with simple files, and this lowers the entry costs significantly, allowing teams to embark on EA SaaS option.

EA Saas For Small Teams

Why EA SaaS (Vs installed application)

  • No configuration overheads
  • Access EA using a browser from any device (Mac, Linux or Chromebook)
  • All updates and overheads managed by EA Experts
  • All connections are secured using HTTPS protocol
  • Floating license hosted and managed in Cloud
  • Engage partners, vendors, and other members in the value chain to participate in modeling
  • Fast, reliable, and robust connectivity to shared databases with minimal latency

Check the performance comparison video here.

Please check the EA SaaS webinar for a holistic understanding of the solution.

Reach to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ or visit our cloud website to get started with your EA SaaS solution.



The e-Conference For the Global EA Community

Discover and learn with the world’s prolific EA professionals

Explore the latest trends and learn how to best use Enterprise Architect to solve real business problems. A line-up of expert speakers from across the world is ready to deliver webinars on the latest techniques, best practices, implementation guidance and much more.

Pre-Register Now at

ea global summit


SparxEACloud linkedin

Sparx Systems suite of products enables enterprise architecture, process management and informed decision making. We are committed to ensuring that you stay connected and continue working in the current scenario.

Companies around the globe have rolled out mandatory remote work. However not all companies would have had the time to organize remote access to their teams, neither would have had time to organize VPN or any other form of accessing the model information.

Introducing a ready to start, obligation free, Cloud infrastructure to let you move your Enterprise Architect repositories to Cloud and resume your modelling efforts instantly.

Sparx EA On Cloud Deployment

The hosted environments can be used to continue the two core aspects of EA practice.

  • Central Repository – Your models hosted in the central repository, easily accessible through ‘Cloud Connection’ of Enterprise Architect.
  • Floating Licenses – Your floating licenses managed in Secure AWS app servers to let your team continue their EA Usage.

That said, we’ve been offering this service for a while, here is our part to assist the Sparx User Community

As a response to the unprecedented scenario, we are trying to lower the barriers to switch. We understand your challenges and have worked on the best possible ways to make it easier for you.


How We can Assist

My Organizations’ procurement process isn’t quick

We understand your world, You can start immediately and pay later!. Continue working as you work on the procurement process alongside

What if the approvals doesn’t go ahead

Not to worry, we understand! You can just backup your data and cancel your subscription.


We ensure your data is hosted in the AWS servers in your region, and the infrastructure is compliant to GDPR policies.

My Organization Has stringent Security Policies

We use the secure AWS instances and we have been assisting firms globally for several years.

We have all the necessary security policies in place and the required Auditing reports required to ensure your data is secure.

I’m unsure of the migration strategy

Not to Worry, our Service partners across the world are ready to assist too. Just let us know

I have advanced integration Requirements

The infrastructure is scalable and the services team is highly competent to assist you with any advanced integration or customization needs.

Below is a quick glance of the key benefits you can expect when you make a move.

EA Repositories on Cloud

Databases managed on Cloud by experts

EA License Management

Avail floating licenses from the Cloud

Secure Access

All connections are secured using

HTTPS protocol

Anywhere and Anytime

Connect to your Enterprise Architect

models from any location

Robust Cloud Deployment

Cloud hosted using AWS, the world leader

in Cloud Computing Services

Location Advantage

AWS cloud Region chosen based

on your location

Get started Now!, Please visit or drop a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us help you get started forthwith.

It is not uncommon for Product releases to have a plethora of new features added., and as an Enterprise Architect user for the last 15 years, I was having just normal expectations when I peeked into the list of new features in the newly released Enterprise Architect 15.1. However what I saw in the list gave me an adrenalin rush, Some of the features in 15.1 nails the bulls-eye by solving some of the long reported pain points, and this prompted me to come up with this write up to share what I found

I’m trying to give a gist of the 4 features that have given me enough reasons to go to all my clients and request an update to the newer version.  

1. Freezing Visible Relationships

This one feature will be a reason enough for many teams I know to upgrade. We’ve spent a lot of time figuring out ways to suppress new relationships in other diagrams (scripting, addins, etc.) and have always found it challenging to achieve.


EA’s capability to create a central repository and reuse elements across multiple diagrams in incredibly useful, however when a diagram is finalized for publishing, sharing or review, it is still prone to show any new connectors that might have been introduced elsewhere using the same elements. This disrupts the diagram’s look and feel and has always been a point of contention from architects.

EA 15.1’s feature to freeze visible relationships in diagrams that are finalized makes a gamut of difference, as the architects or the modellers don’t have to be nervous about some inadvertent changes in the model affecting their diagrams.

Freeze Visible Relationships2. Diagram Layers 

I ‘m equally excited to see the diagram layers feature. Creating layered views is something that we always do when creating architecture models. Diagrams could have several layers spanning across Business – Application – Information – Technology models.

An ability to selectively turn on –off layers gives architects a really useful utility to slice and dice information and understand models better.

This is useful to hide parts of the diagram, and making it consumable in parts. The added advantage is that the Connectors are also turned on and off accordingly.

Refer to some screenshots that I created by applying filters on one of my existing diagrams.

Diagram Layers All Layers visible

Diagram Layers Corproate Strategy Layer Off

Diagram Layers Corporate Communicaitons Layer

3. Model-based Business Vocabulary

Business Glossary is another feature that has always been slightly elusive, as we were only able to define terms flatly and less model-based. For a structured modelling with attention to detail, it is imperative to have a model-based vocabulary with terms and definitions defined, grouped, categorized, and reused in multiple contexts.

The new Model-based vocabulary feature allows us to do just that. This lets users Define and group their terms using elements, connectors, and packages. The traditional Project Glossary window will also show all model-based glossary terms in its listings.   

Glossary toolbox


4. Faster Model Export-import Through Cloud interface

This redefines the way we’ve worked with model backups, project transfers and baselines in EA. The following pointers have nailed it and have solved several outstanding pain points (over the years).

a. It uses native XML format for export/import, this is proving to be multi-folds faster than the traditional XMI 1.1 / 2.1.

b. This does Full transfer including complete model and all reference data.

c. Allows Project transfer through Cloud Connections (PCS), which was a showstopper previously. This eliminates the need for a direct database connection

Project Transfer Native

If you are a serious EA user and have come across any of these pain points in the past, I would suggest you take a look at

(And now the shameless plug) This is Nizam, I've been working with Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect for 15 years now. I'm an EA consultant and the product manager for the sharing and publishing platform Prolaborate (

Thursday, 05 September 2019 21:17

Enterprise Architecture using Prolaborate

Sign up for the upcoming Sparx Sytems webinar!

Enterprise Architecture using Prolaborate

A Case study driven illustration of Enterprise Architecture Capabilities in Prolaborate

The CEO of a leading utility firm intends to leverage an EA tool, to help them with the planning and decision-making required for his digital transformation strategy.

The organization identified three use cases as its primary needs for an EA tool, this article will give an high level overview of how Prolaborate helps them realize the use cases.

Use Case 1 – Smarter Decision Making

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect tool is populated by architects, analysts and other users across the organization. The information represents the length and breadth of the architecture landscape using industry standards as TOGAF or ArchiMate or Zachman framework.

However for maximizing the real value of Architecture practice is possible only when the broader organization) can use the information collaboratively on a regular basis for analysis and decision support that real value is realized.

Value Capabilities Application Treemap

L1 Capabilities Bubble Chart


Project Roadmap 1

Use Case 2 –innovation Through Collaboration

Ability to innovate is key for successful digital transformation. To enable innovation the teams must evaluate the current state and emerging technologies.  Prolaborate enables innovation with a structured yet flexible and iterative collaboration and review capability.

Prolaborate enables a state-of-art platform to enable seamless collaboration between the Architecture team, strategy team, innovation team, product team, and infrastructure team.



Use Case 3 – Application Portfolio Management

The CEO was also recommended that there are several duplications of IT assets as a result of several mergers and acquisitions.  To enable a lean, agile organization, the CEO has set his priority to clean up duplicate IT assets.

Prolaborate lets architects create views that will allow the organization to gain the ability to make more conscious investment choices for application landscape to reduce complexity. The Prolaborate views would allow applications with overlapping functionalities to be visible, outdated applications identified, strategic importance assessed, to foster teams to manage applications seamlessly.

Application By Lifecycle


Applicatoin By Vendor

Explore the incredible advancements in Enterprise Architecture views in Prolaborate, visualize an organizations IT landscape from Strategy to Implementation. Check out the New and improved capabilities of Prolaborate to perform Value chain analysis, Capability alignment, Application Portfolio Management, Process Optimization to facilitate rapid decisions, quickly.

In this webinar, we'll show you how to:

  • Effective Enterprise Architecture using Prolaborate – creating views ranging from Vision and Objectives tracking down to Applications and Servers.
  • Learn new utilities to simplify analysis – Relationship Matrix, Spreadsheet interface, Landscape Diagrams.
  • Enhanced Charts and Reporting - Heatmaps, Treemaps, Burst charts, Bubble charts etc to efficiently leverage Architecture Data.

For more information and registration please visit

Or Click Register Now. To know more about Prolaborate or request a demo please visit 

Images Assets and Custom Diagrams in EA 15

Using images to add relevance to any architecture diagram is a very common practice. Enterprise Architect has always supported modellers to set ‘Alternate Image’ or ‘Default Image’ for elements to create such diagrams.  However the users have always sought for an ability to manage a set of image assets in a catalogue and reuse it across multiple diagrams.

The New approach in EA 15 to manage and reuse images in diagrams is a significant enhancement. The ‘Image Asset’ element lets users create a model item to store an image. These items can then be used to apply overlays on other model elements.

Image Assets

The Image Asset images can be used as alternative images in place of the standard UML notation for elements on diagrams. They can also be used in documentation by inserting hyperlinks to the Image Asset element. When a report is generated, the hyperlinked Image Asset element is rendered using its 'owned image'

To create an image asset, Select the 'Artifacts' section in toolbox | select 'Image Asset' | click on the diagram, or Drag an 'Image Asset' Artifact from the toolbox onto a diagram.


Image Asset Diagram

Figure 1 Image Assets Catalogue


Custom Diagram

The new ‘Custom Diagram’ option in EA 15 allows users to create a highly customizable, graphic-rich diagram that is on-par with any modern drawing tools.  Custom Diagram enables the most options to use the Image Assets.

Using Image Assets

The Image Assets from the repository can be used to perform the following actions

  • Set as Icon – As an icon of an Existing Element
  • Set as Alternate Image – As an alternate Image on an existing element
  • Add as element with Icon
  • Add as element with Image
  • Add as link

Image Asset Options

Figure 2 Options to Use Image Assets

Set As Icon

Use Image Asset to  set it as an icon for an existing element or a new element (This is my favourite!).  In the previous versions, users must rely on shapescripts to achieve such visualization.

Image asset Set As Icon

Figure 3 Set Image as Icon

Set as Alternate Image

You can also use the Image Asset to set it as an alternate image for an existing element or create a new element with the image as alternate image.

Image asset Set As Alternate Image

Figure 4 Set Image as Alternate Image

Updating Image Asset

There are two key benefits in using the ‘Image Assets’

  1. Ability to drag and drop from project browser to apply image as an icon or alternate image
  2. Ability to update the image asset and also cascade the change across all diagrams where the image asset is used

You can ascertain the impact of modifying a Image Asset by using ‘Find In All Diagrams’ (Element Usage, similar to any other element usage)

Image Asset Usage

Figure 5 Image Asset – Usage


Using the new enhanced ‘Custom Diagram’ and ‘Image Asset’ of EA 15, I’ve created a deployment diagram (below) which was in-par with a graphic rich diagram created using any drawing tool, at the same time retaining the benefits of a modelling repository.

Prolaborate Architecture Diagram

Figure 6 Prolaborate Architecture Diagram created using EA 15 Image Assets

Knowledge management systems such as Confluence, SharePoint, etc. have revolutionized ways to share documents. Digital documents that allow live and breathing documents to be regularly updated and maintained by everyone in the team significantly reduces the overheads in maintaining a document repository.

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect and Prolaborate let users visualize the entire architecture landscape of organizations and also allows wider stakeholders to collaborate and socialize on these architectural artifacts.

However, these two enterprise value-add tools should be seamlessly integrated to maximize productivity and foster digitalization. These tools share many synergies and when used in conjunction with each other would greatly improve the quality of information available in the Knowledge management systems.

Conventional practices involve architects copying a static image of the diagrams from Enterprise Architect models and manually creating tables with information from the models. This practice defeats the purpose of digital systems and draws us back to the age of the static document, where most of the information is dead and stale.

The new tools and capabilities from Prolaborate (, now let model sharing to be smooth and real-time, enabling users to publish models, reports, diagrams and artifact details live into Confluence and SharePoint pages, which greatly reduces the need for manual copy-paste activities.

Confluence Prolaborate Page

Such a live integration between a modeling environment and the knowledge management systems greatly helps in teams to stay updated with the latest information.

Prolaborate Confluence macro

This would greatly minimize the time wasted in verifying the information available in documents and allows better, reliable project decisions to be driven from digital documents or wiki pages available in Confluence or SharePoint. 

The video below gives a detailed view of how integrating key Enterprise Tools is enabled using Prolaborate,


For any further queries or a demo of how this integration could be made possible using Sparx Systems Prolaborate, please visit or write to //This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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