According to the MID EA modeling and consulting company in Germany and Switzerland (MID.de), there is a big trend among large companies globally to take Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) more seriously and to be able to understand their own “digital backbone” better. As speed increases on the business side, as well as in technology, success demands that organizations:
- Know what they have (in terms of IT assets)
- Are able to plan where they want to go
Without EAM this is not possible.
Looking at tools:
MID sees a shift in many large organizations from EAM tools like Alfabet, Mega and Troux, which were designed to maintain huge technology and application portfolios in essentially lists, towards a model-based approach. Such an approach involves starting with Enterprise Architecture (EA) descriptions at a high level via the use of an EA graphical language (e.g. ArchiMate), and then, as necessary, diving into the details of Business Process Management (BPM) with the BPMN language, Information Architecture with ER, ERM, and SERM notations, etc., and then with Software Architecture via, for example, UML.
They see describing and maintaining this consistent information continuum, very high level to granular descriptions, using open standards, as the foundation for being agile. When the agile movement picked up initial momentum it became more and more unpopular to document architecture elements. However, today everybody would agree that a large company without a clear definition of which aspects of EA, Business Processes, Information Architecture need to be documented in models will have severe challenges in getting to an agile level of innovation management – not to mention all the legal risks of failing to properly document one’s architecture.
According to MID, the challenges for tool vendors are:
- Even more important than the tool is the methodology – the tool has to be flexible enough to support any methodology
- The tool should be as light and easy to use as possible
- Tooling has to be scalable and support even very complex scenarios
- The tool should cover multiple domains and provide high consistency in terms of method and notation
- It should be possible to integrate architecture information from a diverse set of tools
There are multiple contradictions in these requirements and therefore a good tool strategy is a challenge.
Next month we will provide a perspective from the Ardoq EA modeling company (Ardoq.com) whose headquarters is in Oslo. They are pursuing a Data-Driven strategy as the backbone to have their tool generate EA models that provide "Enterprise Intelligence" - so models are still key but the focus is on the data and how to organize it, with the tool rendering the views from the data in an automated way.
By the way, over the last couple of years, I have been graciously hosted by MID in Nuremberg, Germany (in December 2016) for a full rundown of their capabilities and by Ardoq in Oslo, Norway (in September 2018) for a similar, in-depth orientation. Whereas MID has been around for over 20 years, Ardoq is a new company - just over 2 years old - and expanding rapidly at present to other countries outside of Scandinavia.
Authored by: Dr. Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor