Etienne's picture

Is there anyone that has used both ARIS and Sparx EA on projects and especially to manage the various enterprise architecture views? It seems that the argument gets cluttered when people have unclear expectations of what a good EA tool should do? In ARIS you are able to represent the concepts of architectural building blocks according to TOGAF very well. This implies that deliverables contain artefacts (models & matrices) that describe architectural building blocks. The building block or object is defined once and reused multiple times across artefacs, projects and the enterprise. If the building block changes (any attribute associated to the building block), then it is changed on all occurrences where the building block was used. This allows one to conduct powerful analysis across projects, within projects and the enterprise. In Sparx EA elements are used on models. Let's take a BPMN process as an example. I create the process by defining the tasks i.e.

  • Login to ATM (user task),
  • Select Transaction (user task)
  • Select Account (user task)
  • Select Amount (user task)
  • Authorize Payment (service task) etc.

Nothing will stop me to add another task to a package called "Select Transaction" and even yet another called "Select Transaction" and so on. The element is not treated as an "object" and this can result in creating multiple instances with the same name. ARIS would have warned you and have given you the choice if you wanted to reuse the object or create a new object with the same properties. Another problem is when you want to reuse an element on the same model i.e. a service task that can occur on the same model but in different paths. Sparx EA would warn you that this is not possible. This forces you to create a new element with the same name. This makes analysis difficult as you now have multiple elements with the same name (like ARIS definition copies). The problem here is that I can't consolidate all the synonym elements to the correct master element like in ARIS.

In short, modeling in Sparx EA is fine, but doing deep enterprise analysis because of the way it manages elements (objects or building blocks) is where it has it shortcomings. In a typical scenario where you would like to find all synonyms for an application system type i.e. JDE AP and consolidate it to the correct master application system type object with all the correct attributes i.e. lifecycle attributes and replace the master object on ALL the models where the synonyms occur is where ARIS is powerful. From this master object a complete system fact sheet can then be generated that will give you information of all processes across all projects and the enterprise that is supported by the application, all interfaces, all impacted stakeholders, relationship to the underlying technical components etc.This is where ARIS is king!

Tags: ARIS Architect ARIS UML Designer