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What to look for in a modern EA tool

14 May 2018

by Magnulf Pilskog

Enterprise architecture has changed, and so too have the tools of the trade. Though the name remains the same, EA has evolved almost beyond recognition, and understanding the nuances is crucial to ensure success.


Enterprise architecture (EA) is a very different beast when compared to a decade ago. Where previously EA was mostly rigid on-premise IT architecture modeling, today it covers the full fluid spectrum from business strategy, to agile cloud application management, to infrastructure. The practice has transformed, so why are so many organisations relying on tools from a bygone era?

You won’t be surprised to hear that tools designed years ago are unable to fulfil the EA needs of today’s businesses. As internal and external systems and processes evolve, so too must the instruments that measure and analyse efficiencies. Outdated tools will, by their very nature, only have the capacity to deliver outdated results.

To help you navigate changes, and understand how they impact EA platform design and EA practice value creation, we’ve put together a rundown of core EA features, how they’ve altered over time, and how Ardoq fits into the evolving EA solution landscape.

Next generation EA platform   Traditional EA platform   Note
Open data driven   Fixed model driven   Ardoq is a data-driven EA platform that creates automatic models, as opposed to the traditional approach, which saw users required to draw up all boxes and lines manually. Ardoq is designed to be highly automated (API-based data and change feeds), meaning greater efficiency and less manual operational maintenance. Ardoq also supports flexible open meta-models to truly reflect each business’ unique characteristics.
Graph database   Relational database   Modern EA tools based on graph databases allow businesses to make connections across use cases and data sets. By using the Enterprise Intelligence Graph (EIG) upon which Ardoq is based, you will have the ability to answer complex questions involving all of your data sets simultaneously, revealing not only valuable top level information, but also connections and possible gaps. And, because every auto-generated visualization with Ardoq’s EIG is based on up-to-date data and models, you will never run analysis on old or partial data.
Automated input   Manual input   All data analytics is reliant on the quality and completeness of the data within the system. This is why automating and simplifying data input is critical for EA success. Ardoq has focused on making inputting data as simple as possible through our user rights authenticated surveys, using our Excel-style grid editor, or leveraging our range of pre-built API integrations for automated crawling and updating based on existing data repositories stored in your existing solutions.
Business-user friendly input without any need for training   Input can only be provided by trained expert users   Using Ardoq’s user rights authenticated surveys, you can involve the entire organization by crowdsourcing input on anything from business processes, to application landscape, to data capture with lawful basis (e.g. for GDPR), all without survey respondents needing to receive any software training.  
Flexible meta-model   Proprietary meta-model   The meta-model in Ardoq is totally flexible, and can be configured to your needs. The meta-model can follow a strict or flexible hierarchy, and the design is up to you and limited only by your use case(s). You can also use our template meta-models as starting points.
Framework and notation agnostic   Strict framework and notation rules   We do not force any frameworks or notations on the user, though we do offer out-of-the-box support for Archimate 3.0, and the ability to model virtually any standard or notation. This is because we allow users to design their own meta-models and stylization of components. If you wish to model a specific notation, you can use your own icons, images, component types, and references to reflect that standard.
100% SaaS / cloud-based   On-premises or hybrid solutions   Ardoq is an easy to use Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that does not require any technical implementation. The infrastructure is robust, scalable, and compliant with regard to privacy and information security via AWS (Amazon Web Services). We also offer on-premises and private cloud solutions for Enterprise plans.
Rapid ROI through easy implementation and onboarding   Extensive implementation and training needed to get the system working, with continuous maintenance required   Ardoq onboarding is normally a four-hour workshop, after which the customer can begin exploring and leveraging the platform. As Ardoq is built on automation and user-friendly UX, there will be a higher degree of quality, with less ongoing manual governance and maintenance work.

Download now the New Enterprise Architecture Magazines by Ardoq:

New EA Magazine - GDPR Edition                      NEW EA Magazine - EA Edition

Magnulf Pilskog

Co-founder and CPO at Ardoq


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