26 April, 2007

Enterprise Architecture Tools: Why are IBM, HP, Microsoft, CA and others absent?

Enterprise Architecture tools are often used to analyze and optimize the portfolio of business strategies, organizational structures, business processes, tasks and activities, information flows, applications, systems, and technology infrastructure.

Many of these tools have been designed with different architecture goals such as modeling, storing, managing and sharing information.

These tools can be classified in two main categories: EA repositories, EA-modeling suites (Business & IT) including some EA models.

Choosing a category depends mainly on the approach toward:
· EA top-to-bottom approach
· EA bottom-up approach
and the relationships with existing development and modeling tools.

Looking at the various acquisitions from big names these last years and the increasing interest in IT Governance, we observed several vendors trying to extend their tools portfolio going from modeling to service management, from project management to portfolio management.

IBM acquired in 2002 Holosofx, a business process modeling capabilities product to extend Web sphere Business Integration which then was re-branded to Websphere Business Modeler, a component for the modeling of a Business Architecture. CA acquired in 2005 Niku’s Project Portfolio Management (PPM). HP acquired in 2006 Mercury and Peregrine, companies having IT Service Management, Project Portfolio Management (PPM), and SOA Governance solutions.

Project Portfolio Management and Enterprise Architecture

PPM and Enterprise Architecture should be integrated in some way. All investments which support a Business strategy should be organized. A categorization model has to be used, followed by an evaluation and a prioritization. Once approved, the investments or demands become projects. But, how to decide when and how to make changes? How do we understand what can and can not be changed? What are the opportunities?

This is where the impact analysis and the “What if” scenarios enable to analyzethe company’s portfolio and assess the business contribution of each proposal, project, or application to an entire portfolio which needs also to be governed and managed.

An investment, a new demand should also be validated against an Enterprise Architecture. What are the impacts on the Business Architecture, the Business Processes? Does that make sense for a company to add new layers of information to an existing Information Architecture? In the context of a new solution, how does the new application affect the existing Application Architecture? Same thoughts apply on the technology architecture.

Very often Portfolio Management teams do not take into consideration these issues and may only focus on real-time visibility into resources, budgets, costs, programs, projects, and overall IT demand, but without considering impacts on the architecture.

Mature IT Governance would consider a strong interaction between a PPM team and an EA team. Once validated, an investment or a demand should be routed to the Enterprise Architecture team (can vary on the size and the scope), which add value to the first level evaluation. After a second level validation, the EA team using preferably an EA tool where specific architecture views and viewpoints have bee documented, is in a position to deliver recommendations to the PPM team.

We then go back to the company’s PPM process which adapts if necessary the budget, the costs, the resources and the program. There can be situations where the impact analysis detects side effects, or identify alternatives (may be for example the re-use of existing functions), or recommend to abandon the initiative.

Some companies which have implemented an automated process with a PPM solution would be tempted to also integrate the activities related to an Enterprise Architecture impact analysis.

Enterprise Architecture teams often use tools but rarely in an integrated way with the customer or other teams such as a PPM team. The kind of tools like Mega, Casewise, Metis-Troux technologies do not integrate yet with PPM solutions. Eventually we can consider an evolution in that direction from Telelogic which started a while ago to integrate Popkin with DOORS, the latest being maybe more a Demand Management solution than a PPM solution.

So now where are the IBM, HP, CA, and others?

Wouldn’t that make sense to use the Rational RequisitePro with Rational Portfolio Manager integrated with an EA Tool? Wouldn’t that make sense to have HP-Mercury ITG integrated with an EA Tool knowing that Systinet is an SOA governance platform and SOA surely linked to an EA program? Wouldn’t that make sense to have CA-Niku integrated with also an EA tool?

With all the small EA vendors proposing standalone products, there is a high chance that the “big names” will consider new acquisitions and the integration of EA solutions.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea about integrating portfolio management and enterprise architecture management tools.

Also, IBM is no longer absent from the EA market with its purchase of Telelogic System Architect.


Graham Meaden said...


Enterprise Architecture is an operational function, like Service Management, that straddles "Run the Business" and "Change the Business". How can an Enterprise Architecture Team function to provide the decision support needed by Senior Business Management unless impact assessment can be made against the backdrop of in-flight and proposed change? I believe EA tools should be fed with up-to-date project portfolio data or become integrated.

Duncan said...

IBM does have Enterprise Architecture and Portfolio Management tools, with the acquisition of Telelogic in 2008 the rational brand has a very capable story around the integration of Enterprise Architecture (system architect, portfolio management (Focal Point) and the development lifecycle tools such as ReqPro, ClearCase and the new Jazz backbone.

Serge Thorn said...

Hi Duncan,
this post was written almost 3 years ago...Despite the fact IBM acquired Telelogic, I'm not that sure about IBM's commitment to EA...and the integration with Requirements management. DOORS, RequestPro...2 products...Not much strategy...

Asad Quraishi said...


IBM does seem to have a strategy with their acquisitions and new products around requirements. Requirements Composer as part of the Jazz product is really about 'rapid requirements' if you will, and is meant for those shops that either can't be bothered with the discipline and knowledge demanded by RequisitePro and DOORS or want to do 'Agile' requirements - whatever they are. ReqPro is a software-oriented tool while DOORS is a system-oriented tool. The need to gather requirements of increasing complexity progresses from Requirements Composer, to ReqPro, to DOORS.

That said, Rational PPM seems to be a dead duck. I also see little commitment from IBM either on the portfolio management or enterprise architecture fronts.

As to my reference to Agile requirements - there's no such thing. I'm a SCRUM master and software engineering principals still apply. No requirements = failed implementation is still a valid equation.

Serge Thorn said...

Hi Asad,
many thanks for your comments.Remember that at the time, Telelogic was quite independent from the Rational Suite of products, which is no more the case by today. Requirements Management as a discipline, should be tightly integrated with Enterprise Architecture efforts. There is a bridge with DOORS IBM Rational System Architect for DOORS Interface V11.3 but I have not been able to find one for ReqPro. Now you introduce something I was not aware of...This is typical IBM.. A new requirement tool: Requirements Composer. I'm not sure you can call that a strategy...3 tools..no real indication of what should be used if you do EA. Typical from IBM: lots of acquisitions, different labs, poor integration and no guidance. (Been identical in the EAI field 15 years ago).

Thanks again for your input.