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Monday, March 9, 2009

Enterprise Architecture Tool - On the road to democratisation

Two new offers made recently by Microsoft and Casewise let me think that the tool vendors have finally understood some Architects needs. In particular, democratizing access to data using current "office tools" and enabling collaboration and approval workflow.

1. Microsoft EATK
Recently, Microsoft introduced a new toolkit in order to help companies structure their enterprise architecture. Mike Walker discussed this new software application in a blog post.

Capabilities will include:
  • Repository - Meta-data repository for uniting enterprise processes, storing existing architecture assets and a catalog for patterns
  • Architecture Management - Portal and Workflow assets that aid in the processes and govern architecture creation through the SDLC or through post production service management processes.
  • Strategy Management - Portal and Workflow that aid in the creation of as-is or current state architecture, to-be or future state architectures and the management of technology life cycles of architectures.
  • Community - Portal technologies that aid in the communication and collaboration, vetting of ideals through-out the enterprise, communication of Principles, Policies, Standards and Design Patterns, Add-Ins and Templates for architecture development.
  • Modeling - Usage scenarios for how to leverage Microsoft Visio to correlate architecture information from the Architecture Meta-Data Repository to Visio diagrams and shapes.
Of course you will need to have already some Microsoft Tools in place:
  • Microsoft SharePoint 2007 – Architecture Portal
  • Hosted Windows Workflow Foundation
  • Microsoft Office 2007 – Templates and Add-Ins
  • Word
  • PowerPoint
  • Visio
  • Web Services – Architecture Message Bus
  • SQL Server – Architecture Meta-Data Repository
EATK was created based on the following high level requirements:
  • Describing an Architecture with Current Tools
  • Building a Collaborative Solution Architecture Design
  • Extend Architecture Meta-Data into the Visio Modeling Environment
  • Deriving to an Architecture with a series of Architecture Decisions
  • Architecture Management
  • Understanding Architecture Policy
  • Managing an Architecture Life Cycle
  • Navigate and Explore Approved IT Patterns
  • Navigate and Explore Existing IT Architectures
  • Obtaining the information for IT Strategy Management
  • Determining the Total Cost of Ownership of an Architecture
  • Manage and publishing of Principles, Policies and Standards

This solution will not be officially supported from Microsoft, but we can assume that once released the dotnet community will contribute a lot to its growth. You can read this article to know more.

2. Casewise Corporate Modeler
Same approach for Casewise enabling access to Enterprise Architecture information from Visio (called V-Modeler, see press release) and also from the web using WebModeler (Silverlight graphical user interface of their Corporate Modeler tool with less functionalities; see press release).

What is key in their proposal is that Casewise WebModeler, is an on line, on-demand modeling and diagramming tool. As the first of a new generation of Rich Internet Applications, the Casewise WebModeler runs on both a Windows Server and IIS (Internet Information Server) environment, and works across any browser with a Microsoft Silverlight plug-in.

Casewise now just needs to connect their tool to MOSS 2007 to offer collaboration tools and create an Open API to access the repository in REST and SOAP from the web.

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