Tools for EA
How to equip Enterprise Architecture
In this page, we discuss several tools to support a good Enterprise Architecture practice. This is based on my experience, and with discussion with several Enterprise Architect. Don’t be afraid. A good architect uses excel, powerpoint, visio, stores his documents, and reads Information System inventories, as much as he can. There are only few cases where there is a strong need to invest in other tools.
Standards and Templates
Complete success and full adoption of Enterprise Architecture in a company takes time. The soonest, you need to invest in a published list of standards, and standard templates that will be outputs of EA Services, that can integrate in every process. For instance, Architecture First Review, Architecture Definition Document, and Architecture Deviation Control, are documents of great importance. They will be of help for the company to grow in maturity, and to adopt an industrialized activation of Operational Services of your EA Service Catalog. Better compute documents that have the same look and fill, are pixel perfect, and in line with the firm’s graphical charter.
Depending on the context, it is up to each Lead Enterprise Architect to develop and maintain a list of standards viewpoints, especially for Solution Design services. Design skills is a must for a good Enterprise Architect. There is always room to refresh templates if some already exist, or to take opportunity to bring new one, to ease the Architecture Team mission, and presentation of architectures in a nice and comprehensive way to everybody.
One can find a structure of an Architecture Repository in TOGAF.
KISS principle ! Keep it simple. Reference your standards. Organize and classify all your documents, per projects, tag service lines, tag dates, tag status draft or published, tag increments, but keep your repository as simple as possible. Technology to support storage and classification of the documents for Architecture Team can be very light. The key is : it should remain used and useful.
Remember, you do architecture with passion and as an artist, so keep focusing on the essential objectives of your mission : control over Information System, while helping your company growing, leading the market and making money ! It is not about taking too much time in worthless efforts. Lean, agile, flexible and pragmatic.
Configuration Management System
This is where a whole IT Department that wants to deliver high standard services to his customers should focus on. This is the perfect equipment to Change Management Process. It will contain services, application and technology landscapes, and far more. Having a CMS up-to-date will be of great help for IT Service Management, and for a good Enterprise Architecture practice.
I consider that there are some cases where I would recommend to invest in such tools, and if you think that an EA Tool is good for your mission, don’t hesitate.
Important thing if you select an EA Tool, is to remain efficient, and to measure the return on investment. Data quality should be preserved over time, which requires efforts. No need to tell that having first a CMS of quality is a prerequisite. The business case should be complemented with the licence, technology and integration costs required to operate the tool.
Remember that your focus should remain to deliver EA Services of high quality. Consider that it is also a good idea to invest in improving your team, your approaches and methods, your standard templates and viewpoints, organization of your repository, and how to better influence decisions. Of course, you want your company continue to innovate, to grow and to make money !
« We have seen that tools to support an Enterprise Architecture practice can be very light, and that a CMS of quality is mandatory. Simple, pragmatic, lean. If it is not sufficient, in many cases, better invest on required skills and talent for an architect. »
This page closes the second step, EA for IT, in your journey toward a full and powerful Enterprise Architecture Capability. Be ready for the third and last chapter of this suite, EA for Biz.