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sparxsystems

sparxsystems

Sparx Systems


99 Albert Street
Creswick,
Victoria
3363
Australia
P: +61 3 5345 1140
F: +61 3 5345 1104
 
Sparx Systems specializes in high performance and scalable visual modeling tools for the planning, design and construction of software intensive systems. A Contributing Member of the Object Management Group (OMG), Sparx Systems is committed to realizing the potential of model-driven development based on open standards. The company’s flagship product, Enterprise Architect, has received numerous accolades since its commercial release in August, 2000. Enterprise Architect is the design tool of choice for over 740,000 registered users worldwide.
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 02:15

Collaborative Evolution

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"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." 

- Henry Ford


Ten years ago, Gartner published the Emerging Technology Hype Cycle Report, and identified “collective intelligence” as a technology that would have “the greatest impact” on business over the following decade. Now in 2016, a convergence of technologies has conspired to create a miasma of complexity so engulfing that there is no alternative but to adapt to it. Old responses to new norms are inadequate. So how is this challenge to be addressed to retain existing market share and build on achieved success?

 

A recent article “Let Go of What Made Your Company Great” in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) discussing organisational response states that “the appropriate solution to employ depends on the magnitude of the challenge and how much of the organization is affected by the challenge”.


The very organisational structures that sufficed to create success in the past now present the greatest risk to adaptive organisational response to the complexity challenge. The HBR goes on to demonstrate with business examples, that letting go of entrenched thinking requires bringing “the organizational reflex circuitry out of auto-pilot.” A survey on business agility recently reported that almost fifty percent of survey participants blamed opposition based company culture or philosophy for agile failures.

 

In “Collective Intelligence in Teams and Organizations” a paper by lead author Anita Williams Woolley from MIT, the team explores the ingredients required for the development of collective intelligence and describes collective intelligence as including “a group’s capability to collaborate and coordinate effectively” stating “this is often much more important for group performance than individual ability alone”.


Agile encourages enhanced communication, sharing of information and collaboration. A report in Forbes from 2015 by Steve Denning discusses how “Agile, Scrum and Lean arose as a deliberate response to the problems of hierarchical bureaucracy that is still pervasive in organizations today: falling rates of return on assets and on invested capital, a dispirited workforce, a decline in competitiveness and widespread disruption of existing business models.” In hierarchical models subordinates report upwardly to the bosses. In horizontal agile structures the team focusses on the customer and as Peter Drucker has stated, the single goal of a business is to create a customer.


The collaborative behaviour between self organising, cross functional teams has recognised similarities in swarm intelligence or stigmergy, the stimulation effect that individual effort has in guiding the work of co-workers and the behaviour that creates the shared outcome.

 

Through the agile software development methodology, the evolution of requirements and solutions supported by the collaboration activity patterns of agile teams is similar to those exhibited in stimergy. Team members are stimulated by the performance that they have achieved and they are also stigmergically stimulated by their environment which, apart from collaboration enabling technologies also includes management support.


Organizational theorist Ikujiro Nonaka suggests that innovation comes from serendipity. Knowledge is not created by information processing, but by “tapping the tacit and often highly subjective insights, intuitions, and hunches of individual employees and making those insights available for testing and use by the company as a whole". He adds “The key to this process is personal commitment, the employees’ sense of identity with the enterprise and its mission.”


Silos are the nemesis of serendipity. Different team members and stakeholders must be able to input information that is relevant to their roles and activities and that is useful to the other members of shared projects. This implies the necessity to capture this information in a model that is available to all team members overcoming their geographical limitation.


The emergence of new ideas, or innovation, through collaboration, has been commented on extensively. A single idea can lead to breakthroughs and competitive advantage and the idea of one person can be used by many others who can make small refinements or improvements to the idea or spark completely new ideas. These in turn become the normal as creativity destroys long accepted convention.


Collaboration is becoming a new enterprise standard. In the face of the challenges being presented by market uncertainty, successful transition to the most effective use of strategic information technology, is a priority for many organisations. Collaboration enables the enterprise to leverage the strengths of all its parts and by harnessing creative energy and increasing 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 and synergises the collective response to problem resolution.


The mutual dependency of collaborative culture and Agile approaches, is essential for successful project delivery, which is ultimately decided by the customer. Whether the organisation is large or small, has not yet adopted Agile or is Agile progressive, a handful of factors are critical to success.


Flexible Planning
In a business environment where innovative disruption is encouraged and fail fast is the short term goal, it is essential that situational change gets a nimble response and to that end, flexibility must be built into planning. The World Development Report 2013 published by the World Bank notes that creative destruction is the mainstay of economic growth. A plan is essential but it is not indispensable and ought to be replaceable when a better idea presents itself. Adaptive schedule planning identifies milestones, but, maintains a flexible approach to get to them, while making allowances for the milestones to change.

 

Evolutionary Development
The evolutionary development approach is iterative and is accepted practice for Agile software development. Agile development principles are different. Change is accepted and expected and because Agile software developers accept change as a constant, they choose to work in this way. A central tenet of agile teams is that it is okay to fail and to try another method. Collaboration unites individual efforts enabling the team to accomplish goals. Failure is foundational to these efforts, as it provides opportunities for teams to review and re-organise strategies.

 

The Global Innovation Index (GII) has established itself as a leading reference on innovation and in 2015 published the eighth report titled “Effective Innovation Policies for Development”. This report stated that “Innovative enterprises are shown to be economically more successful than firms that rely on tried and true processes and approaches.” Agile processes embrace change, which translates as the customer’s competitive advantage.


Early Delivery
Early delivery is seen as a leading measure of progress and depends on several factors. Frequent releases of working software, to ensure shorter feedback cycles which in turn facilitate collaboration with customers. This development cycle also encourages discussion which reveals the status of development, uncovers problems and identifies ways of implementing solutions, while supporting learning and development of an understanding of the function of the system.

 

As implied earlier, higher revenue from stepped delivery is supported by Agile development philosophy which also promotes a culture of ‘perpetual beta’ or early and frequent releases. This high frequency iteration allows the customer to provide valuable feedback on a regular basis.


Continuous Improvement
Process improvement underpinned the successful growth of Toyota from its small company genesis to a global auto industry leader, over a relatively short period. Also known as Kaizen, continuous improvement, a lean based manufacturing approach, systematically seeks to achieve incremental changes in processes, in order to improve efficiency and quality.


Embracing Change
When change is viewed as an asset within an organisation, survivability and competitiveness are supported and the process of evolving to a future state is a cultural constant for such organizations. In the past, stability was seen as a positive attribute within an organisation and was the bulwark against change, which if possible was to be averted.

 

Today that strategy has been obliterated. Agile is the adaptability and responsiveness to change that is essential to successfully compete in the new competitive landscape. The iterative approach of customer driven Agile development teams, while reducing the size of the changes related to a software release, also increases the change frequency. Agile processes embrace change, which translates as the customer’s competitive advantage.

iiba jp logo

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

 

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

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

 

Dates: June 10 and 11

Venue: Fukurashia Shinagawa Crystal Square

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

For more informatio, please visit:

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

Tuesday, 12 April 2016 02:47

UK EA User Group in London May 17

codenode1The Enterprise Architect User Group Steering Committee and supporters are running another popular event in London.

 

Over the past few years, the London event has been hosted in a variety of locations, with the 2013 event dubbed by Sparx partner Ian Mitchell as "Probably the largest collection of Sparx EA talent ever assembled", at a venue likened to the Starship Enterprise!

 

The 2016 event is warming up to be just as important, with a series of 17 minute TED style talks - for short, sharp, focused modelling ideas and EA anecdotes, but also a number of 40 minute extended presentations giving time to investigate larger topics in more detail.

 

For more details, including agenda and venue, please visit the EAUG website.

Hippo Software has announced the first Enterprise Architect User Group being held in Scotland, the long standing Sparx Systems Global Partner will be hosting the event on the 8th of June.

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When: Wednesday 8th June 2016 9.30am - 4pm

Location: Mercure Livingston, Almondview, Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 6QB

Details and Registration: Visit the Hippo Software website

cim users group logo

The CIM Users Group European Meeting will be held during June 1-3 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

According to the CIM Users Group website, the event will "... focus on how to use the CIM to create and support the data-driven utility."

For more details regarding the CIM Users Group meeting, please visit the event website.

Sparx Systems has supported the development of open standards, including the CIM, making available licenses of Enterprise Architect for the purpose of developing the CIM standard.

For more details how Sparx Systems supports open standards development, please visit our website.

 

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US based Technology magazine CIO Review has identified Sparx Systems within their '20 Most Promising BPM Solution Providers' list for 2016.

In a vendor feature by CIO Review, Sparx Systems founder and CEO Geoffrey Sparks discusses how Enterprise Architect caters for the Business/IT sector, enabling productivity gains throughout the enterprise.

View the CIO Review article on their website: Sparx Systems: Driving Enterprise Success with Simplified Business Processing

 

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.

Tuesday, 08 March 2016 23:53

Preparing for the Software Future

"Software is eating the world"

Marc Andreeson, Co-founder of Netscape

 

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

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

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

 

Print Media

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

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

 

Manufacturing

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

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

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

 

DigiziedWorld autoAutomotive

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

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

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

 

Taxi Services

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

 

Retail

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

 

DigiziedWorld aviationManaging the Crisis

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

 

Mission Critical

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

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


Innovative Technology

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

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

 

Inherited Value

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

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

 

Enterprise Architect

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

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

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

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.

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