Enterprise architecture management (EA) tools are responding to the increasingly complex demands of a digital and cloud-based marketplace, helping keep track of everything from servers to data, business strategies and ideas.
But once you get beyond the tracking, especially if you’re just past the small or medium-sized business (SMB) threshold, the need for an enterprise architecture management tool becomes even more important, analysts say. Spreadsheets and static blueprints aren’t always flexible or rich enough to provide a holistic view of your current state of affairs and the “what-ifs” and “to-be” scenarios that can change your bottom line.
“Organizations are using EA not just to map what they have but to make sense out of it, to drive transformation and analyze the impact of any particular change,” said Terry White, associate senior analyst with London-based Ovum Consulting.
“Instead of EA, I call it AE, the Architecture of Everything,” White said. “It’s about the idea, the business case, the design, all the way through the project being implemented and benefits realization. Rather than a pure technology focus, it’s much wider.”
There’s a financial architecture tool that can track from the budget process through actual budgeted amounts being put into a ledger, to modeling the “spend” and potential cost-savings scenarios, he said. And there’s the case of a large manufacturer that now takes 38 days instead of 18 months to bring on a new customer. That company used EA to help automate the process, reduce the onboarding process and save a “whack of money,” White said. “Even on a small scale you can look at process and ask, ‘What if we do something else?’”
EA tools are software applications that support enterprise architects and non-IT individuals with information to help them plan, analyze, design and execute business strategy. The tools support “strategic and tactical decision-making by capturing and connecting context and information” across an enterprise with attention to at least the following core “architectural viewpoints,” according to Gartner.
Business: An EA tool helps guide people, process and organizational change by delineating day-to-day operations (who does what). It allows individuals to see where collaborations and partnerships are possible and can help ease transition to new processes.
Application/solution: The tool helps manage the future “to-be” solutions, with an eye toward emergent strategies. Additionally, this viewpoint can consider the larger ecosystem, including supply chain and how changes in the customer journey can impact the enterprise architecture.
Information/data: Especially with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and heightened privacy concerns, coupled with an unending supply of new data, enterprise architecture management tools must help control and segregate repositories of information. Developments in AI and IoT are pushing vendors to come up with ways to track and mine data for trends, patterns and insights that can lead to efficiencies and new business opportunities.
Technology: At its most basic, an EA tool provides an overview of hardware and software to track lifecycles, maintenance and redundancies and to plan for investment strategies.
Risk management and compliance are additional viewpoints to consider. Some EA tools will help architects plan for and handle unexpected disruptions in business operations or strategies and can surface hidden risks that could impact compliance programs and budget.
Within each core viewpoint, you should also consider how an enterprise architecture management tool performs in the following areas:
Modeling: What types of modeling are available and how customizable are they? Will your different constituencies be able to interpret the effects of the proposed changes based on their technical background? How does the tool ingest information from your other business systems such as Salesforce or ServiceNow?
Monitoring: Does it allow real- or near-time actions based on alerts or changes in patterns?
Presentation: What formats are available (PDF, spreadsheets, HTML) for your reports and other deliverables?
Usability/interface: Is the tool intuitive? Will non-IT users be able to produce reports or follow along during presentations? Can you customize the interface? Can you limit access to certain users?
Tools that were once used by just the enterprise architect are now being made available to entire organizations, White said. “You can have 8,000 people look at where you are with a particular project, and then about 800 of those actually get involved. The user base is much wider.”
Additionally, some EA tools run Software as a service (SaaS) or through an on-premises deployment. There’s also tremendous diversity in cost and pricing structure, available training, technical support, and focus on specific vertical markets. Also be sure to check the international architecture standards it supports, such as TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework), ArchiMate, Zachman Framework, etc.
Criteria for inclusion on this list, which was culled from a roster of 21 enterprise architecture management entrants, included the company’s focus on the EA market, approach to innovation, reviews of the company’s performance and response to client needs, and company size and longevity in the market. When possible, we factored in the company’s financial stability.
Here’s the list, which is presented alphabetically:
Avolution’s ABACUS tool earned high marks from independent analyst groups for helping enterprises make smart decisions faster. It also fared well in risk and performance management, as well as in reporting. Gartner noted its significant database of graphs that help companies map and model complex relationships. Avolution’s largest industry segments for the EA tool are financial services, consumer and technology. The tool is available as SaaS or as an on-premises deployment.
Founded in 2001 in North Sydney, Australia, Avolution reported $4.9 million in annual revenue last year. It was a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in 2017 and 2018. It was also a leader in the Forrester Wave Q1 2019 report on Enterprise Architecture Management Suites.
BiZZdesign’s Enterprise Studio
BiZZdesign says its Enterprise Studio provides the complete platform for managing enterprise architecture as well as data, business processes, portfolio processes and components, business models and strategy, business logic, and risk and compliance. Analyst ratings pointed to strengths in asset and performance management as well as governance abilities.
Founded in 2000 and based in the Netherlands, BiZZdesign reported $12 million in annual revenue last year. Enterprise Studio’s largest industry segments are finance, government and manufacturing. It was a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in 2018. It was also a Leader in the Forrester Wave Q1 2019 report on Enterprise Architecture Management Suites. Gartner also credited BiZZdesign for collaborating with all types of users, leading to improved insights and search capabilities.
BOC Group’s ADOIT
BOC Group says its ADOIT tool supports a broad span of disciplines with more simplicity than the typical EA management suites. It points to “out-of-the-box” coverage of all typical scenarios and metamodeling customization with minimal effort. The tool can be integrated with ADONIS, BOC Group’s business process management suite, as well as add-on tools for configuration management. Analysts cite the web-based tool’s strong modeling and visualization capabilities as well as service management and organization design. Its largest market segments include information technology services, financial services and manufacturing.
Founded in 1995 in Vienna, Austria, BOC Group was one of nine vendors listed in Gartner’s Peer Insights’ “Voice of the Customer” Enterprise Architecture Tools Report, March 2019. It was a Gartner Magic Quadrant Visionary in 2018. It was a Leader in the Forrester Wave Q1 2019 report on Enterprise Architecture Management Suites.
Erwin’s EA tool leans toward EA modeling and application portfolio management. It can be integrated with Erwin’s data cataloging, data literacy and other enterprise modeling software to generate insight into strategic IT and business collaboration, agile innovation, risk management and business transformation. Offered on-premises with web-based access, the tool is mostly deployed in government, financial and health care sectors.
Based in Melville, New York, Erwin was acquired in 2016 from CA Technologies by Parallax Capital. In September 2016 Erwin acquired Corso (a British enterprise architecture service provider) and in December 2016, it acquired Casewise (a business process modeling software provider). It has since acquired a data harvesting technology company and metadata management company.
Erwin’s EA was a Gartner Magic Quadrant Niche Player in 2018.
With a focus on manufacturing, retail and banking sectors, LeanIX’s SaaS-based EA tool focuses on “IT transparency and collaboration” across the enterprise, per LeanIX. Its top use cases include application rationalization, technology risk management and the shift from monolithic architectures to microservices. Analyst scores cite strong performance management and technology asset management, plus capabilities to help improve EA reporting and management of enterprise architecture.
LeanIX was named the 10th fastest-growing company in Germany on the Deloitte 2018 Technology Fast 50 list. Founded in January 2012 in Bonn, Germany, it recently closed a $30 million Series C funding round.
The LeanIX tool was a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave Q1 2019 report on Enterprise Architecture Management Suites.
MEGA International’s HOPEX
MEGA International describes its HOPEX tool as an integration platform of solutions for enterprise architecture; IT portfolio management; business process analysis; and governance, risk and compliance. It is available as SaaS or as an on-prem deployment. The largest market segments served are banking and financial services, consumer, and insurance. Analyst ratings cite HOPEX for strong technology asset management and service management, as well as its modeling capabilities.
MEGA International was founded in 1991 in Paris. HOPEX was a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in 2018. It was also a Leader in the Forrester Wave Q1 2019 report on Enterprise Architecture Management Suites.
Orbus Software’s iServer
Orbus’ iServer is fully integrated with Microsoft products, using Visio as its modeling environment and the Office suite for documentation. Main market sectors include government, financial services and health care. Analyst reports cite strong capabilities in technology asset management and organization design. The EA platform is available as SaaS.
Orbus was founded in 2004 in London. Its iServer was the 2019 Gartner Customers’ Choice for EA tools. It was also a Gartner Magic Quadrant Challenger in 2018 and a Leader in the Forrester Wave Q1 2019 report on Enterprise Architecture Management Suites.
Planview’s Enterprise One
Planview was founded in 1989 in Austin, Texas. When it acquired Troux Technologies in 2015 it incorporated the EA software it would use to introduce the Enterprise One platform, a combination EA and portfolio management tool. Analysts noted the tool’s strong strategic management and organization design as well as its ability to manage IT assets. It was also mentioned for its practice of involving user feedback in future improvements and offerings. Enterprise One deployment is concentrated in manufacturing, public sector, and finance and insurance enterprises.
Planview’s Enterprise One was a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in 2018. It was a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave Q1 2019 report on Enterprise Architecture Management Suites.
QualiWare’s QualiWare Product Suite
QualiWare’s EA tool is its QualiWare Product Suite. It was a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in 2018. Gartner mentioned QualiWare’s “effective strategy in adapting to changing market dynamics.” It also mentioned the company’s roadmap, which includes digital enterprise design and business operating models that encompass the Internet of Things and robots. The company was founded in Denmark in 1991.
Software AG’s Alfabet Enterprise Architecture Management Platform
Software AG, which was founded in 1969 in Darmstadt, Germany, combined its Alfabet and ARIS products and brands into the Alfabet Enterprise Architecture Management Platform. The EA tool is available as SaaS. It is deployed mostly in midmarket banking, insurance, retail, manufacturing, utilities and government sectors.
Software AG was a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in 2018 (for the 11th straight year). It was also a Leader in the Forrester Wave Q1 2019 report on Enterprise Architecture Management Suites. Forrester said it provided “a mature EAMS that is strong in technology asset management” and is competitive in all of Forrester’s criteria.