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iteraplan 3.1 feature: Improved portfolio diagram layout

This is a guest blog from Fabian Kainzinger (iteratec) – for more see iteraplan blog.

With iteraplan release 3.1 (launched in July 2013) the portfolio diagram’s layout was improved: An overlapping of elements with discrete property values is avoided now.

With iteraplan’s portfolio diagram you can lay out elements in two dimensions. To place an element on the x or y axis any attribute of the respective element type might be selected. If the chosen attribute has a discrete value range (i.e. it’s an enumeration type), the elements used to be placed at the right position, however, they might have overlapped with themselves.

This problem is now avoided automatically. Should both attributes have discrete values, the respective elements will be displayed within one quadrant next to each other. The placement of the elements within the quadrant represents no statement on the element, it is driven by an algorithm to save space. Size and coloration of elements can be – as before – selected additionally to display additional attribute values.

The former Portfolio Diagram behaviour
The new Portfolio Diagram behavior
former behaviournew behaviour

You can already test the improvement in the portfolio diagram using the current version of iteraplan. Please see our demo-page or click directly here: Community-Edition or Enterprise-Edition.

iteraplan 3.1 feature: Date intervals

This is a guest blog from Fabian Kainzinger (iteratec) – for more see iteraplan blog.

iteraplan release 3.1 with the newly introduced date intervals offers improved options for planning and coordination. The date intervals are configurable and available for all types of building blocks.

How does this work? First you need two date attributes which define the beginning and end of the date interval. Both of these user-defined attributes can be set up via the administrations menu and are assigned to one or multiple building block types. In a second step the two date attributes are combined to form a date interval. An arbitrary name for the date interval is used to identify it in Masterplan diagrams. Optionally the two date attributes can be added to an attribute group and are then shown in the appropriate screen area with the respective building block.

To model the life cycle of an information system, date intervals like ‚development‘, ‚live‘ and ‚replacement’ might be set up. As shown in the screenshot above, the live interval is defined using two date attributes. Moreover a standard color is configured for the visualization within the Masterplan diagram. You can easily try out the set-up of date intervals yourself. Just follow the link to the Community Edition, respectively the Enterprise Edition. More information is found in the documentation.

Masterplan Date Interval

Masterplan Date Interval

iteraplan 3.1 feature: Enhanced Excel-Import&Export

This is a guest blog from Fabian Kainzinger (iteratec) – for more see iteraplan blog.

Another new feature in iteraplan 3.1 (released in July 2013) affects the Excel-Import & Export which is included in the iteraplan Enterprise-Edition.

Now iteraplan also supports XSLX as import and export format:

Excel Import Export iteraplan 3.1
Excel-Import&Export in iteraplan 3.1

The latest Excel-Version 2013 uses – like the preceding versions since Excel 2007 – an open, XML-based data format with the file extension .xlsx, respectively .xslm as standard. Even though the ‘old’ format with the file extension .xls is still usable, most of iteraplan’s users have moved on to a newer Excel version by now. There is a compatibility pack for Excel 2003 to use the new file format.

The Excel-Import&Export in iteraplan release 3.1 has been revised in significant areas. For the import and export of data both the formats XLS and XLSX are available now. iteraplan users, therefore, might use a bigger variety of programs for data exchange without having to go through a conversion process between the different Excel file formats. In addition, the import and export functionality has been improved regardless of the used data format.

You can already test the updated Excel-Import&Export feature in the current iteraplan Beta Version. Click here for our demo page or go directly to the Latest Version of the Enterprise-Edition.

iteraplan 3.1 feature: Search saved visualizations

This is a guest blog from Fabian Kainzinger (iteratec) – for more see iteraplan blog.

Over the next few days, we’ll be blogging about new features of the new iteraplan 3.1 from July 2013.

We start by introducing a small, but helpful enhancement, which a lot of our users have been asking for. From now on, quick search is available for all saved visualization queries.

Search saved visualizations

Seach saved visualizations
Search saved visualizations

The parameters of any visualization can be saved in iteraplan. These include both underlying elements as well as configuration settings. Many iteraplan users rely extensively on this functionality and employ up to several hundred saved queries. Now you can find your way around them much more easily. The quick search (search-as-you-type) allows for dynamic filtering of the saved queries list according to characters being entered. By typing the initial few letters of a keyword you can find the query you are looking for and run it immediately. All displayed fields are indexed for search: name, description and possibly also the building block type.

You can already test the new feature in the current beta version. Please visit our Demo page or select Community Edition or Enterprise Edition right here.

Relationship based visualizations in EA

This is a guest blog from Karsten Voges – for more see his personal blog.

Why are clusters, graphs and other relations so popular in EA?

Very common in Enterprise Architecture are relationship based visualizations. This is in contrast to many other management disciplines.
Most other management visualizations often come down to some sort of number visualization, being it Bar-Chart, Pie-Charts or others.
So why is the EA world so interested in the relationship based visualizations?

Maybe it is because EA main effort as well as many benefits are in relating very different data areas in an organization to each other, e.g. Apps on Servers, Apps in Business Processes, Data Object in Organizational Context, …
Because these relationship are so new to have for many organizations, most and most common visualizations always are relationship based.

Examples of relationship based visualizations

Example of relationship based visualizations are:

  • Cluster
  • Landscape
  • Graphs
Tree Diagram
Hierarchical-Tree or Relation-Tree

We will look into them in more details in a follow up post.

Roadmap – EA Visualization – Gantt Chart Life-Cycle

This is a guest blog from Karsten Voges – for more see his personal blog.

A popular visualization within Enterprise Architecture is the Roadmap, Life-Cycle or Gantt Chart. Sometimes also called a Masterplan or Timeline.

The roadmap diagram presents a timeline showing periods and status information of e.g. applications, projects, servers or business units. Sometimes the elements carry just one period, e.g. productive from until. Sometimes the elements have different life-cycles with different start and end dates.

A roadmap helps to show and map the evolution of your Enterprise Architecture over time and this to identify potential dependencies or interference between elements due to gaps or overlap in their life-cycles.

Example application roadmap

Here is an example of a roadmap with different life-cycles for the applications, e.g. Development, Test, Production, Phase-Out:

Application Life-Cycle Roadmap
Application Life-Cycle Roadmap

This roadmap was technically generated with d3js and the gantt chart extension based on an Enterprise Architecture Repository, currently in development.

If you are interested in these visualizations and a new tool for EAs and CIOs, please join our startup search phase.

Visualizations in Enterprise Architecture

This is a guest blog from Karsten Voges – for more see his personal blog.

The central drivers for Enterprise Architecture Management are the goals and concern of your stakeholders. Valuable tools for answering stakeholder questions are visualizations and reports.

circular pack
Nesting Cluster

A picture is truly worth 1000 words. Visualizations allow you to see different information combined in one view. They are often much quicker to understand than text and easier to remember. Ordering, of elements, coloring, size, forms etc help with a fast analysis and understanding. The brain just loves them!

Application Connections
Application Connections

For the domain of Enterprise Architecture, each visualization presents a specific view of the overall architecture. And it is based on stakeholder perspectives. These views reveal where inter-dependencies exist and highlight the impact of changes.

Common EA visualizations

The most common EAM visualizations – which are often configured according to stakeholder-specific requirements – are:

  1. Relationship Visualisations, e.g.
    1. Clusters
    2. Maps
    3. Landscapes
    4. Graphs
  2. Time-based Visualizations, e.g.
    1. Line-Charts, Plots
    2. Roadmaps (sometimes called Gantt Charts, Timeline, Life-Cycle or Masterplan)
  3. Number Charts
    1. Pie-Charts
    2. Bar-Charts
    3. Portfolio Charts
  4. Semi or unstructured drawings (Trees, Bridges, …)

What is your favourite or most used visualization type?

[polldaddy poll=7337165]

Any visualisation type you are missing?

Feel free to send in your favorite visualizations that resonated well with your stakeholders.

$250K in software donated to Enterprise Architecture Center

The people behind SMART360°Biz, the leading Enterprise Portfolio Management consulting firm donated iteraplan, Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) software, valued at $250,000, to the Enterprise Architecture Center at Penn State University’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST). The donation of iteraplan software supports the Center’s efforts in pursuing its educational and research objectives. iteraplan is already being used in an IST Enterprise Architecture course.

“We are very excited to to be a member of the Center for Enterprise Architecture and to join other industry experts, like Forrester and Gartner, to support the education and training of future Enterprise Architects,” said Jean Gehring a key person advising SMART 360° Biz. ” iteraplan software will help students in learning how to analyze and present architecture information and facilitate the business’ vision and strategy into effective operational plan—just like our clients do.”

The Center for Enterprise Architecture, which was launched in January 2011, is to gather intellectual resources across Penn State and leaders in the industry to address research concerns and questions that span the design, functioning and governance of contemporary, information-driven enterprises. In April, IST launched the first Master of Professional Enterprise Architecture studies program in North America and the first online Enterprise Architecture Master’s program in the world. In addition, a supportive option for undergraduates was rolled out at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester.

“We are very excited about the donation”, said Dr. Brian Cameron, Executive Director of the Center for Enterprise Architecture. “The people from SMART360°Biz are a great partner and a great contributor to the educational and research programs of the Center.”

SMART360°Biz, Headquatered in Cambridge – Massachussetts, is the global partner of iteratec, the German-based developer of iteraplan software. iteraplan is a leader in Europe and gaining ground in the U.S. and Canadian CIO & EA market and it is the first EAM tool usable as a full Web application on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The company provides Enterprise Portfolio Management consulting solutions and iteraplan software to companies across all industry segments.

For more information about the Center for Enterprise Architecture, visit ea.ist.psu.edu.

Hello EA world!

Welcome to the new home of Enterprise Architecture Solutions – Hello EA world!

We help you getting up and running in EA, and will use this blog for news in the EA space as well as summarizing some of our services, ideas, frameworks to get some discussions, but also to help us all grow in this new discipline.

We have helped may clients kickstarting their EA initiatives and are happy to help you achieve this as well.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about us.

All the best,

Your SMART 360° Team!

smartEA (iteraplan) recognition as innovative and capable EA Tool

SMART360°Biz is proud to announce that smartEA (iteraplan) is now recognized by both leading EA industry analysts. In November 2012, Gartner listed smartEA (iteraplan) in the Visionary category on the EAM Magic Quadrant report and now Forrester has highlighted smartEA (iteraplan) as a Vendor of Note in their WAVE: EA Management Suites report. smartEA (iteraplan) recognition and adoption is picking up fast.

“iteraplan offers a broad set of functionality close to the caliber of other EAMS vendors.” Additionally the modeling, reporting and portfolio management capabilities were mentioned. “Forrester recommends that clients unsure of whether they are ready for the full EAMS experience experiment with this cheaper, lower-risk, and still quite capable product”. Forrester WAVE EA MANAGEMENT SUITES 2013

smartEA (iteraplan)’s open-source Community Edition is free of charge and is an excellent means to use the basic functions of the tool. Download it free of charge from smart360.biz. For additional functionality smartEA (iteraplan) Enterprise Edition, a commercial tool comes with an enhanced feature set, robust reporting and visualizations and enterprise-wide user license and support.

We thank our U.S. and Canadian customers for helping put smartEA (iteraplan) onto the industry analysts map and gaining this recognition!

SMART360°Biz, with offices Headquater in Massachusetts, links what your enterprise does with how you do it now and what you want/should do in the future and how you could do it! Contact us for more information on smartEA implementation, support and training along with Enterprise Portfolio Management Consulting services.