I’m from a brazilian company that already uses Aris Business Architect and Designer to model and document business processes, including the synchronization with SAP Solution Manager.

Recently my company decided also to use Aris as a data modeling tool to create/maintain conceptual and/or logical data models – that is, E/R diagrams and a centralized data dictionary.

I have worked as a data administrator for sometime and have some experience in data modeling and CASE tools (like Sybase PowerDesigner), but I’m new in Aris world. So I have been looking for "how to use Aris for data management", but have not found much. It would be good to learn more. I am interested to find out how others are using ARIS for describing their ER models and data dictionary. Is it true that ARIS has extensive data modeling capabilities? It seems to me they are seldom used.

In my opinion the Technical Terms diagram isn’t enough to document data models even at the conceptual level as suggested by some users and the features that I have seen in ARIS suggested me that it is quite limited for E/R modeling tool. Specifically, I noticed, for example, that the only way to display the entities attributes in the diagrams is drawing specific symbols to each one and connecting them to the correspondent entity. Is it possible to display the attributes inside the entity symbol in the ER models? or to define and display the contents of the DD in tabular form?

Any advice will be much appreciated.



by Ivo Velitchkov
Posted on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 00:03


I've used Sybase PowerDesigner in 2004. I don't know how it is now but at that time it was just an UML drawing tool.

ARIS is a very powerful data modelling tool. It supports conceptual, logical and physical data modelling. This article presents one way how to do this (the thread is very interesting as well). There are other approaches and you should find the one that best suits your needs.

A agree that using technical terms is not enough. But it's a good object to be used at conceptual level. It also supports a big set of connection types and is part of many methods. Derivative objects (model) of Technical Term (model) can do a good job in many cases. Technical terms model allows TT objects to be linked to more concrete data representations at lower levels, depicted with Cluster/Data Model, Entity Type or Class depending on modelling convention. Typically Cluster/Data model belongs to the level between TT and logical data objects (Enity Type or Class). In other cases TT is not used at all and Cluster/Data model is the preferred higher level representation of data sets.

ARIS supports all popular data modelling conventions. If you are using ERD then indeed all attributes are modelled as separate objects. If you use UML Class Diagrams, then attributes of UML Classes are modelled as UML attributes and they appear inside the Class as specified by the UML notation. However, UML attributes are again objects of ERM attribute type but apart from the ARIS attributes, they have specific UML properties and behaviour. For example creating a definition copy of an UML Class is entirely different mechanism as it creates definition of all objects (=UML attributes and methods) and connections at once. There are some nice UML transformations as well.

by Rick Bosworth
Posted on Thu, 07/14/2011 - 19:18

Yes, it is certainly possible to use ARIS for data modeling. I also have extensive background in data modeling and have used most of the leading data modeling tools at one time or another. There are some things that ARIS does very well and others that it does not.

On the negative side of the equation I find 3 things that ARIS doesn't do well. First, as you mention, is model presentation. While it is understandable that attributes need to a separate object there needs to be a more compact presentation method like that used by most modeling tools (and even class diagrams in ARIS). This problem can be mitigated by utilizing custom symbols. This makes it possible to come pretty close to the represenation used in data modeling tools. While it isn't perfect, it is acceptable (to me anyway). The second problem is the lack of key management. Keys (Primary and Foreign) are not connected to relationships in ARIS like they are in most modeling tools. Therefore changing the content of a primary key does not update the foreign keys that are used for the relationship. This has been around in most data modeling tools for a long time and not having it can be annoying. I don't really think it is a "show stopper" but others may disagree. The last thing for me is not being able to integrate with databases. It would be great to able to migrate data structures back and forth between ARIS and a database, again a feature of most data modeling tools for a long time. There are available work arounds for this problem as well but it would be nice to have the feature built in to the tool. This also should be farily easy to do as most of the data modeling tools  these days are actually using a 3rd party (and most of them even the same one) to do the round-tripping.

The are positives as well. One of the big ones for me is the availability of the Technical Terms model. Although it is poorly named and poorly used it can be very powerful. It also represents capability that is rarely if ever found in data modeling tools. Namely, you can define data elements without having to determine whether they are entities, or attributes or whatever. They can be just independent data elements. If you use these as inputs and outputs in your process it eliminates a problem that I've always had in integrating data and process models. Namely, unless you already have a fairly well defined Business Data Model then the data definition usually starts when the data is identifed in the process model. At that point you don't really know what the data model is going to look like. With Technical Terms you can collect the data requirements as the process is evolving and have the data team organize the data into a proper data model and link the data model objects to the terms used in the process model without having to rework the process model. The technical terms model can also be used for the definition of group and derived attribtues which can be useful in a process model. Having the ability to document complex calculations visually is a great tool. Another greate advantage in ARIS is being able to map data elements to all of the various places where they are defined. The Technical Term is again at the heart of the functionality here as it can be mapped to various tables, columns, views across the entire implementation environment. This is something that most (not all) data modeling tools are still struggling with.

As to the functionality being underutilized and not well documented you are very correct. I think the primary reason is that the data modeling tools are very mature, having been around for 20 years or so. Most organizations using ARIS already have one or more data modeling tools in house and well established before they start working with ARIS.

So, there is no perfect solutuion but for me I prefer the added functionality of ARIS. The problems can all be mitigated or worked around although it would be nice to see Software AG stetp the capability in this area.



by Mônica Ruas Author
Posted on Fri, 07/15/2011 - 15:31




First of all, I would like to thank the answers. You seem to be “happy” with ARIS data modeling capabilities, which is good. Now it is clear to me that using the Technical Terms model properly will make all the difference.

Ivo, currently I’ve not been using it, but probably you are familiar with only a small feature of Sybase PowerDesigner, because even before 2004 it was much more than a simple drawing tool. Usually these tools are organized in modules sold in different licenses combinations and it’s difficult to know for sure if we are talking about the same thing.

I understand that we must find the best way to work with ARIS, or any other tool, according to our specific necessities. There is not a single way that meets the realities and maturity levels of different companies. This is what we are looking for: the best approach for our needs.

Rick, your answer was very clear and objective. You sure understood my concerns about using ARIS as a data modeler. As you said, every tool has its strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion it is important to know both. I agree about the three things you mentioned as being in the negative side. For us, the first two are quite annoying and the third is critical with regard to maintenance of the data model throughout the life cycle of information systems. I see that, for you, concerning the integration of different types of models, the “oscar goes to” ARIS Technical Terms model and I’ll surely do my best to use it properly.

We are also evaluating the use of another data modeling tool, but we don't want to lose the possibility of integration with business process models already designed in ARIS.

We are developing a pilot project, using ARIS for creation of E/R models, in order to validate a standard modeling procedure in our organization. It would be nice to exchange knowledge with ARIS users.





by Rick Bosworth
Posted on Mon, 07/18/2011 - 18:13


If you are considering using another tool for data modeling in conjunction with ARIS you might want to look at Meta Integration as well. Their tool has the ability to move content between various data oriented tools. Last I looked, ARIS was not on the list of tools they worked with but I'm sure if they had a customer that was interested they would look into it. They might also be able to help with the syncing to databases from ARIS as well.


by ravi kiran
Posted on Tue, 07/19/2011 - 06:48

hi how to create report place the content each and every grouplevel

i want tips for create code

by Chunnu Mehta
Posted on Thu, 02/27/2014 - 18:23

Our client has used ER Studio (Embarcadero Data modeling tool) for their data modeling. Now we are thinking to use ARIS for business process modeling. Do ARIS have any integration or compatibility with ER Studio to reuse data models in ARIS?

by Trevor Hodges
Posted on Tue, 01/06/2015 - 10:14

Hi Chunnu, you can use the Reischmann TOOLBUS Interface for ARIS and ER/Studio Data Architect. We implemented this for a global oil and gas company a few years back. The TOOLBUS Interface for ARIS and ER/Studio Data Architect enables the migration of Data Models from from ARIS Business Architect and other ARIS products, which include ARIS Business Architect functionality, to Logical Data Models in ER/Studio Data Architect, and vice versa.The migration of Physical Models from ER/Studio to Table Diagrams in ARIS is also supported.


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