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SMART EA 3.4 released

SMART EA 3.4 is released and available as a new enhancement. You can test the new release via our online demo of SMART EA for free!

We highly recommend to update to this modular release, providing many enhancements/add-ons over the original SMART EA 3.3 or iteraplan.

The new release 3.4 provides major improvements by integrating our new SMART Viz with 7 additional relationship visualizations and 9 additional visualizations for time and number series.

The highly improved navigation and icon language is embedded in many views and improves the identification of elements, as well as mobile usage and navigation across SMART EA and SMART Viz.

Here is a full list of changes (also in our Release Notes)

Visualization & UX:

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  • Integration with SMART Viz offering 7+ additional visualizations (Add-on)
  • Improved UX with a streamlined navigation menu
  • New icon language, makes it easy to identify elements

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Integration:

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  • Fast meatmodel (structural) export via REST (JSON)
  • Fast model (data) export via REST (JSON)
  • Single Sign-On over SAML (Add-on)

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Fixes/security:

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  • fixed Javascript injection vulnerability on multiple pages
  • fixed XSS vulnerabilities
  • enhanced SAAS speed experience

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

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How Great is This? Pink Architecture: New Technology Leadership

Guest post from industry expert Jean Gehring.

“I admire Linda Cureton, former CIO of NASA and CEO of Muse Technologies Inc. She writes in InformationWeek  that one of the most essential components of effective IT planning is enterprise architecture (EA). Yet EA is considered by most observers to be an utter failure in government. Given this disconnect, it’s no surprise that the current state of affairs in government IT is bleak.
If EA is so essential and Federal IT is in such bad shape, how can we turn this around? Do we throw money at it? Do we need more guidance from the Office of Management and Budget? Are we using the wrong framework? All of these things have been attempted with varying degrees of success. The answer is in leadership. We need better leadership from EA professionals — we need Pink Architecture.
Pink Architecture employs the leadership style associated most often with women. Perhaps a less sexist description of this style is that of the “servant leader” — leadership that is humble, leads from behind, and is collaborative. In essence, the opposite of what is held up today as the metric for successful architecture leadership.”

Read the rest of the article in InformationWeek!

smartEA 3.3 released

smartEA 3.3 is released and was successfully deployed for our SAAS customers. In addition, our clients can download and upgrade to this new release.

The new release 3.3 provides major improvements concerning integration and usability.

You can now profit from the following new integration features:

  • Different import strategies: Use the best strategy for your integration requirements
  • Partial export/import: Limit the data to your relevant information
  • Write via REST API: Load data from other sources into your architecture repository
  • HTTP Basic Authentication: Choose from multiple methods when accessing smartEA data
  • Extended LDAP synchronization: Work with the most current user information from your LDAP

We optimized smartEA’s usability by providing:

  • Single Sign On (SSO): Access your enterprise architecture with one click
  • Customized exports (Excel export): Get an individual sheet fitting to your needs
  • Overview of all saved reports: Search and find your saved reports even faster
  • IE 10 support: Access smartEA with your favorite browser
  • Error logs as ZIP-download: Get all necessary support information in one click

New features will be presented in a blog series as before.

Please provide us with your feedback, suggestions or questions at any time.

Stay tuned for the next smartEA release 3.4.

At last, many thanks to the development team for its great work and to the community for several ideas and demands for new features! Only with this participation it is possible to drive the smartEA development in a user-centric way.

Typical EA Questions and SMART EA Reports

As complexity of IT landscapes increases, the speed of changes is increasing and information for decisions becoming more important, the need and interest in Enterprise Architecture (EA) and tooling/reports/visualization in EA is becoming immanent.

To help with convincing business about the benefits of an EA Tool, we created a slidedeck with questions/concerns you as an Enterprise Architect might have heard quite often from your stakeholders. It showcases how a tool like SMART 360° EA or iteraplan can be used to answer these questions with smart EA reports.

The key requirements often include an easy to use, cost effective tool that captures data so that we could answer key application and technology questions. These slides will review those questions and how the application answers them via reports and visualizations:

 

The purpose of the slides is to get a feel for how an EA tool could be used effectively in your organization and what smart ea reports to use.

It is based on a couple of common requirements in IT Management but might need to be tailored for your specific situation. It can be part of BusinessCase or Proposal. Feel free to share and adapt as you see fit.

Season Greetings – Happy 2014 – Free Visualization gift

As 2013 comes to an end, we thank you all for your support, help and continued business.

Well look forward driving your EA initiatives with you in 2014. Our experience and tools continue to serve you and enhance your IT Management delivery.

We say thank you with a gift. You can our new smartVIZ – a FREE Visualization component offering the following free visualizations through and drag and drop web interface:

  • Treemap
  • Dendrogram
  • Circular Packing (Nesting Cluster)
  • Bubble Chart
  • Scatterplot (Portfolio)

Our free EA Visualization Tool

EA Visualization Tool
EA Visualization Tool

Enjoy this visualization helper, you can simply copy and paste your data in and visualize.

If you are afraid of sending you data: All the data stays on your local machine within your Browser. We only use Javascript to process the data and generate the visualizations. So after you initially visited the site, all data stays on your machine and never leaves your premise.

Be sure to check back for updates. You want this integrated to directly get data from one of your tools? See the example to get data from the smartEA application. Just contact us for a custom offer and onsite deployment options.

All the best in 2014 and see you out and about in EA 🙂

How to build your corporate Enterprise Architecture Function inspired by Google’s Design function

How Google built their central design function (known as UXA – User Experience Alliance) can be a lesson and guidance on how to built a central EnterpriseArchitects function.

This dawned on my reading the great Fast Company article about how design finally made its way into Google, not only within each product, but also as a function within the company with a central team. So here is the take away for Enterprise Architects and Governance teams:

How to build your corporate Enterprise Architecture Function:

  • Start and spend a month with all participating stakeholders to see what is out there as BusinessArchitecture, Projects, IT, Infrastructure, BusinessModel, …
  • Try to deliver as much value in that month, so that all the different projects and stakeholders come back to get guidance
  • Never name things Standards or Governance
  • Accomplish your unifying goal in a subtle way: Use conversations and collaboration.
  • Don’t try to be measurable as a corporate function, but try to lean in with local problems and build a way that good decisions emerge and bubble up. Value the ideas of local EA/IT and let it grow. Value good Solution Architecture that fit into the broader picture.
  • Name it Project Kennedy, because in most organizations Enterprise Architecture is like a moonshot worthy of JFK

The mentioned article is also part of the October 2013 Issue of Fast Company.

You can also follow Karsten on twitter or on his blog!

REST interface reading smartEA (iteraplan) data

Since release 3.2 an REST interface is available to customers using the smartEA (iteraplan). This technical amendment represents the first step of an improved automatic processing of your EA data. Via an URl model and meta model data from smartEA (iteraplan) can be retrieved in JSON format for further editing. Such information can then be integrated into different IT management tools or displayed directly in a wiki. In the latest version this interface is read only, but further expansion of this functionality is planned already.

How the REST interface reading smartEA (iteraplan) data looks like:

Taking our online demo as example a query of the complete meta model is made using http://demo.smart360.biz/smartea/api/metamodel. Analogically all EA data can be requested using …/api/data to refine them outside of smartEA (iteraplan).

Alternatively selecting relevant information can be done in smartEA (iteraplan) directly. For example …/api/data/InformationSystem will supply a detailed list of building blocks of the type information system, …/api/data/InformationSystem/205 just the specific information system with ID 205:

{
  "query": "InformationSystem[@id\u003d205]",
  "result": {
    "id": [
      "205"
    ],
    "name": [
      "CRM # 3.1"
    ],
    "description": [
      "Management of customer data\r\n"
    ],

… further attributes

    "technicalComponentReleases": [
      {
        "id": "329",
        "name": "UNIX # Solaris",
        "elementURI": "http://demo.smart360.biz/smartea/api/data/TechnicalComponent/329"
      },
      {
        "id": "330",
        "name": "VM Ware Server # 2",
        "elementURI": "http://demo.smart360.biz/smartea/api/data/TechnicalComponent/330"
      }
    ],
    "businessObjectAssociations": [
      {
        "id": "435",
        "elementURI": "http://demo.smart360.biz/smartea/api/data/Isr2BoAssociation/435"
      }
    ],

… further relationships

    "elementURI": "http://demo.smart360.biz/smartea/api/data/InformationSystem/205"
  }
}

For specific queries the URl can be combined with another feature of the Enterprise Edition, the smartQL. For example to display all details of all active customer relationship management systems the according smartQL expression must be added:…/api/data/InformationSystem[@name.contains(„CRM“) & @typeOfStatus=“CURRENT“]

Complete documentation and further examples can be found in our UserGuide. Or you can start straight away testing the new functionalities in our Online-Demo.

This is a guest blog from Daniel Neuer.

Accelerated Excel import (smartEA/iteraplan 3.2)

This is a guest blog from Daniel Neuer

The accelerated Excel import of smartEA (iteraplan) 3.2 cuts time by half, making it faster and easier to iterate in your Enterprise Architecture project.

In addition to the enhanced range of functionalities smartEA technical side is continually optimized too. One of the ever recurring requests of the community to accelerate the excel import was realized in Version 3.2 released on 31st October 2013.

The duration to import huge data volumes, e.g. at the beginning of an EAM initiative were reduced by approx. 50% – for strongly interlinked building block types like the information system even by approx. 70% (see chart below). The accelerated speed is particularly noticeable when regularly consolidating decentralized and offline generated information which is usually processed by excel import.

Accelerated Excel import of smartEA 3.2 cuts time by half or more!

Accelerated Excel import in smartEA-iteraplan 3.2
Duration of excel imports in smartEA 3.2 compared to version 3.1

But time savings are not everything. While optimizing the code base we have established a process which enables us to raise our future potential for improvement rapidly and sustainably. The consequent iteration via theory – metering – trial – metering – implementation ensures that future optimizations can be realized securely and appropriately as per the release dates. Additionally, we have included a metering as safety net into the build process. So we can make sure that changes in other parts of the code do not affect the already achieved successes negatively every night. This helps us make smartEA faster and even more reliable.

New Context Visualization for Applications – Neighborhood (iteraplan 3.2)

This is a guest blog from Daniel Neuer (iteratec) – for more see iteraplan blog.

There is new context visualization for applications available in iteraplan 3.2. This new neighborhood diagram is adding to the previous choices like information flow, landscape and master plan diagram. The neighborhood diagram shows an application/information system in its application context:

Context Visualization for Applications
Neighborhood Visualization for Applications

It offers a quick overview which applications are linked to the selected system via interfaces without any configuration effort. Depending on the status of the central Application an according choice of applications is displayed:

Display depending on status
core Applicationrelated Applications
CURRENTCURRENT
PLANNEDCURRENT, PLANNED
TARGETCURRENT, PLANNED, TARGET
INACTIVECURRENT, INACTIVE

You can download the neighborhood diagram in all formats common in iteraplan (.vdx, .svg, .jpg, .png, .pdf). You can change or enhanced it with additional information e.g. in Visio. Instead of sending out an exported diagram, you can get the most current state  via a direct link/URL.

Here is how to retrieve the new visualization in iteraplan:

Select Neighborhood Visualization
Select Neighborhood Visualization

Check this out today using the new version of iteraplan 3.2. Please click here for the Community Edition and here for the Enterprise Edition. Additional information can be found in the Documentation.

For more information about the official release of iteraplan 3.2. see the iteraplan 3.2 release posting.

Datafication of Human Resources

As data sciences are disrupting industries they are also disrupting divisions of organizations.

Datafication of Human Resources is one of them.

We have already encountered this with our enterprise social graph offering. Providing data driven insights and grounding your actions on data improves success of companies and within companies.

We recommend the following reading from Josh Bersin:

The Datafication of Human Resources

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131028062534-131079-the-datafication-of-human-resources