An Enterprise Architecture Tool for Your Business – Part Two

An Enterprise Architecture Tool for Your Business – Part Two : Every EA demo is different

Use this Enterprise Architecture demo checklist. Regardless of the path the salesperson or product engineer takes, you need to make sure the tool supports your functional needs and stakeholder use cases (link to prior blog). Here is the list of critical questions every Enterprise Architecture management tool demonstration needs to address.

  1. Usability – is the tool engineered to be easy and intuitive to use?
    Can you (and your stakeholders) easily navigate around the tool with minimal reference?
    Do you always know where you are in the tool? Example, does the tool use elements like ‘breadcrumbs’ to form steps and eliminate clicks?
    Are standard web patterns being used throughout the tool to eliminate confusion? Example, the color red is for errors and icons are recognized symbol messages.
    Is the control information easy to find?  Example, are related features grouped in a drop down so they don’t interfere with other features in the tool?
    Can you personalize the tool? Example, you can easily configure the look and feel of the tool to match your company’s environment?
    How many resources will be needed to administer the tool and support report and visualization?
  1. Distributed working – can the tool be used simultaneously by multiple stakeholders inside and outside the enterprise?
    Can you (and your stakeholders) easily define specific views and permission controls for each user role (or by multiple roles) you configure? Example, permission to read, creates, update and delete data.
    Is the tool really mobile ready?  Did you try it using your own device?
    Security and data privacy is paramount – does the authentication function and secure protocol meet your compliance requirements?
  1. Search Engine – does the tool provide natural and easy search queries without the usage of complex wildcards and filters?
    Is the search function case ‘insensitive’ in case you don’t know the exact spelling of a word? Can you search on a special character, for example A * or a ?
    Do you feel that you (and your key stakeholders) can easily search / retrieve data – similar to using the Google search engine?
  1. Visualizations and Reporting – does the ‘out of the box’ visualization and reporting features meet your needs?
    You saw how to create diagrams and visualizations from scratch – as opposed to seeing something that’s already built. Do you have a good understanding on how the ‘out of the box’ visualization and reporting features work?
    Do you have to purchase or use another product to generate the types of reports you need to understand your overall IT landscape and business architecture?
    Does the tool provide role based (user) defined diagrams and reports?
    Can you send an URL to colleagues, who join remote, so all of you can be working with the same visualization?
    Is there a rich array
 of graphical options for configuring and presenting content with the capability to export diagrams directly to SVG, PDF, PNG and in Microsoft Visio?
    Are you confident you can create the visualizations and reports on your own with minimal reference?
  1. Meta model – Is the metamodel flexible?
    Does the ‘out of the box’ metamodel help you jump-start your configuration?
    Is the configuration straightforward? Example, can you simulate your Business, IS, Technical and Infrastructure domains with minimal reference?  Can you connect or build the relationships, add attributes and elements with minimal reference?
  1. Strategic Development – Does the tool create future state scenarios?
    A benefit of the repository is to support strategic planning. Creating different future state scenarios enable you (and your stakeholders) to make informed decisions on project impacts, target architectures, etc.
    Can the tool create as many separate future state scenarios, as you require?
    How easy is it to view, retrieve, and analyze the data?
  1. Governance – Does the tool provide governance of the repository?
    Is it easy to manage the tool? Example, defines users, roles, and assigns permissions to them, runs consistency checks.
    Are the consistency checks automated? Example, emails notify you when and who is making changes, reports tell you detailed information of the change.

Mind The Gap

With a career stretching from corporate IT to working for pioneers, like Ivar Jacobson, I seem to have landed squarely in the field of Enterprise Architecture (EA). A practitioner for the past 10 years, I’ve become quite passionate about this profession. What peaks my interest is the changes occurring in the EA profession, accelerated by disruptive technologies and business transformation, and how companies realize the multitude of benefits EA offers.

I travel to London regularly and am very familiar with London’s underground railway system and its audible warning phrase “mind the gap”.  This ear-splitting caution on the spatial gap between the train and platform struck me as a fitting expression of EA. Properly executed, EA bridges that gap between business and IT.

Having a strong EA function in place provides the information to make better-informed decisions. This article explores the benefits of applying focused Use Cases to help plan, communicate, and progress your EA objectives.

Like many, I’ve used EA Use Cases to show exactly what the technology can do for the “business” without using technical jargon ( a common complaint of business stakeholders).  The Use Case is rapidly regaining popularity as a tool to capture the ways Business and IT stakeholders can interact and achieve specific goals by representing a collection of possible scenarios.

Application Portfolio Use Cases

Lets start with the application portfolio since a substantial percentage of IT funds are dedicated to it. Industry analysts predict “50-80% of IT spend is on licenses, support and maintenance functions. Not managing the application portfolio leads to increased complexity, reduced agility and exposure to a multiple risks such as, compliance, using old technology, and losing people with critical skills or application knowledge.

Typically the metadata about the application inventory, it’s associated technology, business value, cost and technical debt resides in spreadsheets, systems and in people’s memory banks and distributed across organizational silos. I am repeatedly surprised at the number of companies who lack an application inventory. Without this transparency it’s difficult to comprehend the relationships and interdependencies needed to analyze the data to make sound decisions.

So how do you write a Use Case?

The goal is develop a Use Case that captures “what” EA’s outcome does not “how” it does it.  Use cases are business goals and great communication tools. The most common problem in creating a Use Case is either adding too much detail or not enough.  If the Use Case doesn’t include enough detail, it’s going to resemble a process, and if it includes too much detail, it’s going to resemble a design document.  Another misconception is that Use Cases must include complex visuals, such as UML activity diagrams.  I find simple visualizations, such as nested cluster or landscape diagrams, compliment the Use Case making it easier for all stakeholders to understand.

EA Use Cases fall into four categories: Application Portfolio, Technology Portfolio, Business Capability and Investment, and Governance.  The following EA cases provide high business value and help to bridge the gap between EA, IT and the Business.

Inventory Management and Cost Analysis Establish the inventory of applications to understand the portfolio; by descriptive information, ownership, and costs.
Business Alignment Analysis Define applications in the context of how they are used by the enterprise; the business capabilities they support, organizations that use them, business locations where they are used, the business processes they automate.
Cost Analysis Determine the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an application.
Health and Risk Analysis Discover the technology risk in the application portfolio by; extent to which the applications are deployed on aging or vulnerable software and hardware technologies.
Investment Analysis Determine the cost of change, the impact of a change and the benefit of change to the business. Example: New project impact to the portfolio.
Rationalization AnalysisDetermine rationalization disposition by determining elimination of redundancy and complexity; moving to the Cloud, and data center consolidation.


Mergers and acquisitions typically drive a consolidation of applications. Most mergers begin with a consolidation and simplification of the application portfolio.  This approach provides a fast payback time, allowing savings to be reinvested in further optimizations of the application portfolio.

Use Case: MERGER – Application Consolidation


Establish an inventory of applications to understand the impact a corporate merger will have and to support a strategy for integrating the two corporations’ seamlessly. Includes descriptive information about each application; the ownership, the cost, the health and compliance levels.

Triggering Event

Company merger.


  • Division Senior Management
  • Financial and Strategic Planners
  • IT Application Management
  • Application Architects


  • C – Suite
  • Finance Management
  • Business Portfolio Management
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • IT Application Management

Basic Flow

Articulate the processes to configure a Landscape Diagram (report) and analyze the present and future proposed states of the applications.

  • The smartEA Visualization Tab offers a quick snapshot of business process, business unit structure and the application landscape linkage that will be influenced by external changes to these Building Blocks.
  • The smartEA Landscape Diagram can be customized to display further detail on external changes effecting Application Landscape changes. Examples of external influences requiring change may be adding a new application, Vendor and SLA, and new external compliance policies e.g., HIPPA.


Using smartEA, populate the Application Building Blocks in order to create the visuals and run the report.

Run a Visualization Diagram in the Application Building Block.

Run a current state Landscape Diagram.

Show future state by adding the following  Application Building Block changes:

  • Add a new Application for new business operations in the Application Building Block.
  • Retire 3 Applications by selection the inactive status.
  • Move an Application to the Cloud
  • Regenerate  a Visualization Diagram and  Landscape Diagram

Population and Diagram instructions are provided in this link

USE CASE MERGER – Application Inventory Management.

Use Case Name – A clear description of the Use Case.

Scenario –– A very brief paragraph on the scope of the use case.                         

Triggering Event – the motivator or initiator of the Use Case.                                           

Actors – A list of the types of users who engage in the Use Case activities.                    

Audience the main people you want to reach and/ or could most benefit.                              

Basic Flow – A set of key steps the actors take to accomplish the goal of the Use Case.                 

Post Conditions – Anything that should be correct or true upon completing the Use Case.


Buyer’s Guide: An Enterprise Architecture Tool for Your Business – Part One

As a leader in the field of EA, you have a wide range of stakeholders with individual needs that you need to consider when purchasing and implementing an Enterprise Architecture Management Tool for your business. You need to be sure that the tool will address the unique challenges your business faces, and that the investment will prove an ongoing asset to your business operations. Read on for the first of our 3-Part Buyer’s Guide series to help you select the best EA Management Tool for your business, and teach you how you can best present the value of this tool to your stakeholders to promote its use at your company.

Enterprise Architecture Management Tools – Placing Strategy Before Technology
Before you consider the purchase of your new EA Management Tool, consider the strategies needed to make the use of that tool successful for your company. It is crucial that your business leaders are prepared and willing to adopt the use of the tool and integrate it into their work flows, and the best way to be sure this will happen is to make sure that you have considered the unique needs of your company as a whole. This means making sure that the tool you choose will provide value to your organization, providing a benefit to all levels: Strategic, Tactical and Operational. Our 3-Part Buyer’s Guide will help you learn to select the right tool, promote its use to each level of your organization, and streamline your Enterprise Architecture Management program.

Your Use Case is not My Use Case
The Use Case for your company is unique, and identifying the particular needs of your company is the first step to making sure you are selecting the right Enterprise Architecture Management Tool. Here, we have provided several possible use case scenarios for three major fields, including Technology Portfolios, Application Portfolios, and Business Capability Planning. These sample scenarios are designed to help you begin and drive the discussion with your stakeholders, giving you a base framework to help accelerate the process of selecting an EA Management Tool, implementing it at your business, and ultimately reaping the rewards of the process.

Sample Technology Portfolio Use Cases

Use Case


Planning Data Center Consolidation

Determine which applications should be migrated or retired during the consolidation of two data centers, ranking applications based on their health and retirement timelines.

Technology Portfolio Governance

Establish a central catalog of standard technology products to view the technologies approved or denied for use, to deploy technologies that are approved for use, and promote re-use in the enterprise.

Deployed Technology Risk

Identify future technology risk and address it before it becomes a threat by determining where the enterprise is most vulnerable to cyber breach by outdated, unsupported, and non-standard technologies.
Regulatory AuditsDetermine the systems which contain PII, HIPPA, and SOX data to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and audits.
Technology Optimization AnalysisIdentify opportunities to reduce cost and complexity of technology in use at your company by eliminating redundant or inefficient technology. Increase efficiency by reducing the volume of different technologies use at your company, reducing maintenance costs and helping to maintain a company-wide standard.
Technology Portfolio RoadmapsCreate a new target state plan to deploy a new technology and help the business view the impacts on the current business application portfolio and business processes.


Sample Application Portfolio Use Cases

Use CaseDescription
Inventory Management and Cost AnalysisUnderstand your portfolio of applications by establishing an inventory with descriptive information, ownership and cost data.
Business Alignment AnalysisDefine applications in the context of how they are used by the enterprise; the business capabilities they support, organizations that use them, business locations where they are used, the business processes they automate.
Cost AnalysisDetermine the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of your application portfolio.
Health/Risk AnalysisDetermine the current state of health of your deployed applications, including their ongoing stability and viability for your company’s use. Identify at risk applications based on your aging or vulnerable software and hardware technologies.
Investment AnalysisDetermine the costs, impacts and benefits of change to your business, such as the impact of a new project to your application portfolio.

Rational Analysis

Eliminate unnecessary redundancy or complexity from your company’s application portfolio, identifying opportunities such as data center consolidation or cloud based solutions to create a more efficient portfolio.


Business Capability Planning Use Cases

Use CaseDescription
Business Architecture ManagementEstablish a capability model for your business by mapping current capabilities to strategies, locations, organizational units, processes, business products and services.
Capability Portfolio Risk AnalysisIdentify risks to your business’s capability model by determining at risk technology assets deployed on aging or vulnerable software or hardware.
Capability AssessmentDetermine which business capabilities support your business’s strategy, and plan investments in technology to fill in any gaps.
Business Investment PlanningIdentify the project investments that are aligned to business capabilities, to strategic goals, by return on investment and tactical targets. 


The Next Step after Identifying Your Company’s Use Case
Once you have identified your company’s unique use case scenario and needs, you’ll be better prepared to evaluate an Enterprise Architecture Management Tool that will fit you and your company. In the next article in our 3-Part Enterprise Architecture Management Buyer’s Guide, we will be delving in to the critical questions you will want to ask when comparing the capability of your future EA Management Tool to your needs.

IT Management Conference 2016 – Munich

Our Partner Lean42 organizes the next IT Management gathering. If you are in the IT Management space – we highly recommend to participate in this industry event! The IT Management Conference is on April 20th 2016 in Munich, Germany. SMART 360 will be present and is proud to support one of the most important practitioner gatherings of IT Managers and Enterprise Architects in Germany.

You can sign up for Lean IT Management Conference or read more in the following announcement document Lean IT Management Konferenzflyer (German).

This year’s conference will focus on the “CIO – the new Chief Digital Officer”. Main themes are Lean IT Management, Demand Management, EAM, Strategy & Planning, Agile (Kanban, Scrum) and Innovation.

Sign up now to see you there!

smartEA 3.5 released

SMART EA 3.5 is released and available as a new enhancement. You can test the new release via our online demo of SMART EA for free!

Improved Planning and Analysis Capabilities

Make better and more informed decisions using smartEA visualizations and reports.  This release improves the Masterplan diagram by adding a setting to remove empty time spans.  The Nesting Cluster diagrams now allow attribute based labeling and improved font size. Certificate to support Visio macros is in place and there are a number of fixes, including association queries in Spreadsheet and Graphical Reports.

These smartEA 3.5 Release Notes provide a change log for smartEA (powered by iteraplan).

  • Improved planning analysis in Masterplan diagram (Added setting to not show empty time spans)
  • Improved Icon usage (Icons meta model, visualizations and user guide)
  • Filter related elements on detail view (e.g. Interfaces of an Application can be filtered by the values of an Attribute Type, specified in the application properties.)
  • Attribute-based labeling introduced in the Nesting Cluster Diagram
  • Improved Nesting Cluster Diagram font size
  • Certificate to support Visio macros
  • Fixed JSON Metamodel REST API
  • Fixed No Association queries in Spreadsheet and Graphical Reports
  • Added support for Java 8
  • Updated all underlying libraries for latest support
  • Dropped support for JPEG export format – focus on PNG and SVG
  • Added support for smartScheduler – our integration and scheduling component

The full list of changes is also in our Release Notes.

How and When Do Features Become Available?

Some features affect all users immediately after the release goes live.  If you are a SaaS customer your instance is immediately updated and if you are an On Premise customer direct action is required by the smartEA administrator before you can benefit from the new functionality and fixes.

We highly recommend to update to this modular release, providing many enhancements/add-ons over the earlier SMART EA 3.4 or any iteraplan release. You may want to communicate these changes to your users beforehand so they are prepared and can take advantage of the changes.

You want to know how SMART EA can help you enhance your Enterprise Architecture Program?

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Lean EAM Conference – EA thought leaders gathered

We had a blast this week while exhibiting at the Lean EAM Konferenz in Munich, Germany. Thanks to more than 100 participants to our product demonstrations, exchange of enterprise architecture best practices, talkideas on how to move the discipline further along.

Inge Hanschke and her team at Lean42 did a stellar job to get all EA thought leaders of central Europe together.leanEAMConference-smartEA

Besides demoing our core products – smartEA and smartVIZ – it was great input, feedback and discussions on where the discipline is going and how organizations benefit from doing Enterprise Architecture.


We can highly recommend attending upcoming conferences or trainings of Lean42 and will definitely be there again for the next year Lean EAM Conference.

Enterprise Architecture and PPM

Do your Enterprise Architecture and PPM Strategies align with your desired business and technology investments?

In order to translate business and technology strategies into execution, Enterprise Architecture has to link the desired outcomes to the delivered outcomes. This overview provides insight into how Project Architecture plays a crucial role in the project life-cycle, in the elimination of risks, acceleration of execution, and delivering realized value. It covers the inter-dependencies and the value proposition of Enterprise Architecture (EA) and the PMO collaborating to drive better business investments and outcomes.

Do you recognize the crucial role Enterprise Architecture and PPM have in improving collaboration to drive better business outcomes?

Learn in this recorded webinar the following key topics:

    • Defining the business value proposition of EA and PPM
    • Eliminating project risks
    • Accelerating project execution
    • Managing project and architecture inter-dependencies
    • Delivering realized value
    • Improving collaboration of Architecture and PMO

Our presenter Jean Gehring can run you through the EA and PPM alignment.

Jean Gehring is a distinguished advisor in Technology Transformation Services for fortune 500 and fast growth companies. Partnering with a trusted network of industry experts and global vendors she brings unique strengths to clients engaged in moving their IT capabilities into actionable and sustainable operations. Ms. Gehring helps clients realize business value by focusing on the key business outcomes gained through transforming their management of IT investments, activities and services. Jean is actively involved in research to bridge the gap between business alignment and IT management efficiencies.

See Jean Gehring’s profile for more information or contact us to watch her recordings.

smartEA Training in Munich

Get a Best-Practice-EAM + smartEA Training in Munich!

Our partner Lean42 offers some limited space with a great training to boost your career and make your organization more successful.

16. / 17. September 2015 in Munich, Germany

There are some last minute spaces available – so reserve your space now!

smartEA Training – Learning objectives:

  • What is EAM and what are its mandatory components?
  • What are the concerns of EAM? What goals can you achieve with it?
  • Which visualization techniques can be used to address these concerns?
  • What does the Lean42 best-practice EAM look like?
  • What is the best-practice approach to introducing EAM?
  • How can the best-practice EAM be supported through the using of SMART360° EA Suite?

So you can be more successful in your career!

Target audience for smartEA & EAM best practices

This one-day training teaches the basic knowledge of the best-practice EAM, and practical skills in working with SMART360° EA Suite, benefiting all interested stakeholders: CIOs, IT managers and strategists, and anyone who uses or would like to use the software. No EAM knowledge is needed in advance.

Full training information on Lean42 training website or this smartEA training pdf.

There are some last minute spaces available – so reserve your space now!

Boost your career and make your organization more successful – sign up!

If in doubt leave it out – 10 Golden Rules for Enterprise Architecture

Distilled from many Enterprise Architecture Consulting engagements Karsten Voges published 10 rules for Enterprise Architecture Practitioners to guide your modeling efforts:

  1. If in doubt, leave it out: if you are uncertain that you need data – leave it out, it simplifies your initiative in the long run;
  2. Model to the highest level of abstraction, that still gives you value;
  3. Model to the lowest level of detail, that is still sustainable;
  4. Figure out over time what the above two levels are for each area and adapt as your maturity and needs change
  5. Capture stable data, not volatile – your are supporting strategic decisions, not operational needs
  6. Remember that there is no black or white, right or wrong, but purely better for your organization’s needs;
  7. If you cannot put it in a visualization or filter of a spreadsheet, the value is questionable;
  8. Aim first for the overall roadmap and the strategic plan, don’t get bogged down in the details;
  9. Don’t forget to define standards and principles, because that is what you can easily track (unfortunately the roadmaps are harder to track/audit);
  10. Start small and lean, evolve over time and don’t boil the ocean and try to build an IT wide data model covering all aspects possible providing all the data needs you could imagine. (Simplify – if in doubt, leave it out)

We hope that these great 10 rules help you guide through your EA initiative. If you like to have more help with your IT Management work, reach out to our experts.

What other rules did you come across that helped in your situation? Please share in the comment section!


Lean Enterprise Architecture Conference in Munich

Our Partner Lean42 is announcing their Lean EAM Conference for October 13th 2015 in Munich, Germany. SMART 360 will be present and is proud to support one of the most important practitioner gatherings of Enterprise Architects in Germany.

You can sign up for Lean EAM Conference or read more in the following announcement document Lean EAM Konferenzflyer (German).

This conference on Lean Enterprise Architecture will provide you with Best-Practices, Benefits of EA, embedding EA in the organization and sustaining success of your EA initiatives.

Sign up now to see you there!