SAP PowerDesigner Review

Ability to work on a single repository is great; web portal enables view from the browser perspective

What is our primary use case?

We are using the enterprise architect version of the solution, using the repository to create our enterprise models; different business models that include process to data models and application architecture models. From a dimension perspective it's like a business application with data and infrastructure. We have categories of different models and we use this tool. I model a lot of these into centralized repositories, so they can be used by internal staff to view all the models or to see the lineage and navigate through them, viewing the relationship between the models and staff. 

In terms of modeling, we have large teams of around 50 to 60 people who have the license to show the different kinds of models in terms of system projects. For the web portal which allows viewing of the models, all users in our organization have access rights, meaning there are around 100 people that have access. The solution is used daily. We will likely carry out a review at the end of the year to see whether the current configuration is enough for us or whether we need to expand. We are customers of SAP and I'm a manager, data architecture. 

What is most valuable?

One of the key reasons for choosing this solution above others is because of the repository features which we're able to consolidate and work on a single repository where we store all our models in one location. In addition, the web portal feature allows us to present, or actually view these models from a browser's perspective. We have two groups of people: The first develops the models and the second views them. They can log in to a web portal and view the models. The product presented a strong case for us in deciding to establish this kind of creation and consumption model to make it really cost effective and increase the value of our organization. 

What needs improvement?

Although the presentation for viewing the models is good, I think it could be better. From my experience with other products, the SAP UI could be improved by enabling simpler navigation, especially for non-technical users. It would be ideal if there was a more seamless viewing experience of the models. Another improvement would be to adopt more industry models, especially from the enterprise architecture dimension. You could be adopting the industry standard as with made models, UML and other forms of industry enterprise architecture models. That would enhance the whole usability and enterprise nature of the modeling t

Additional features could support other model types which would improve the connectors to the increasing number of software to service packages now that a lot of the applications are moving into the cloud. We need to connect on all fronts. There is still a lot of room for improvement on the web portals in terms of the usability and the visual. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for about eight months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From the performance perspective, I think the tool is pretty stable. The only issue might be on the loading of the model which depends on how complex your model is. You need to be careful of those with a lot of relationships and you need to add other models when you load it in the web portal, and that can slow things down. In general, the solution is stable but it depends on your configuration. I don't have many crashes. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability seems to be okay although I haven't fully tested it yet. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is good and they reply promptly. They also have information online. I'm happy with the support. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used to use ER/Studio and Techwin for modeling. In my previous job, the focus was more on the modeling and data modeling as a stand-alone kit. We selected PowerDesigner here because of the repository setup it caters to. SAP has the function to be able to establish the repositories, work in teams and then consolidate and present to a larger audience through a web browser. That was the main consideration for switching. The usability of how to model is pretty similar and there's no big difference in terms of the functionalities. But from a whole enterprise setup; the repositories, the check in, check out of those things into a central repository, are the key reasons we switched. 

One key difference is the connectivity. Besides the modeling we also do reverse engineering. We will try to connect to different data sources to extract information rather than building a model from scratch. That is one advantage because this is actually the SAP program so it has a good connection with the SAP product. We use quite a lot of SAP modules in our organization, so it's a good fit in a way that we can actually link it to some of our SAP servers and database and just reverse engineer the models. This is a main benefit over the other solutions which  are more neutral and more stand-alone products.

How was the initial setup?

I carried out the initial setup myself and would say that it is moderately difficult. There's a lot of reading necessary on the documentation and if you're setting it up for the first time you might require technical support. Implementation took several days but the timing really depends because some of it requires the trust structures, opening up parts, etc.  

What other advice do I have?

The key thing is really about the use case or the requirements. We are into enterprise modeling and we are looking at sharing the models and those are the requirements that shift the evaluation criteria. For those looking at stand-alone models, they may not be looking at sharing these, mainly they just want to produce their models and things, so those criteria will differentiate selecting the different products. And whether you have a large team of people or you are focusing on only a few players in a small team, that will also determine your criteria for selecting the product. 

I would rate this solution an eight out of 10. 

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**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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