SAP PowerDesigner Review

A User-friendly and extensible solution that facilitates automation of routine tasks


What is our primary use case?

I am working for the partner of the vendor of PD. My jobs include implementing, training, customizing, and extending PowerDesigner.

One of my tasks is to develop automation that makes end users more efficient in their work.

How has it helped my organization?

It can automate many routine tasks and save human resources to focus on real problems.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are its user-friendly extensibility, impact & lineage analysis, and source/target mappings. It can be configured to display only relevant objects across all models, of any type. It has a public meta-model and the ability to automate many features so that the users can focus on what really matters, as opposed to the formal requirements of the modeling work.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better team collaboration in PD. Passing models (or objects in it) from one role to another. Today, we have to solve it by custom extensions and modelling rules just written on paper (and not enforced automatically).

Support for ArchiMate would be an improvement.

There should be a better usage of current hardware including multicore CPUs, higher resolutions (UHD, 4K), and multiple displays.

I would also like to see better troubleshooting options for repository issues. In case of problems during check-in of the model to the repository, the error message just says "checkin was cancelled", but id doesn`t give you any details or hints where to look, what to repair.

For how long have I used the solution?

Eleven years.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

I started with IBM Rational Rose and then switched to PowerDesigner. I have some experience with Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect, too.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

PowerDesigner is not the cheapest solution on the market, so make sure that you are using it up to its full potential.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Our customers often choose PowerDesigner because of its wide possibilities for data modeling, together with the huge potential to automate frequent and routine tasks. This enables them to implement their own modeling methods within the tool. 

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is an option in terms of price, but not in terms of the number supported DBs, source-target mappings, possibilities of impact & lineage analysis, and the ease of customizability of the tool.

What other advice do I have?

Before deploying PowerDesigner, do not underestimate the initial analysis of WHAT will be modeled, as well as HOW and BY WHOM. Are your users prepared well enough for the transition to PD (training, potential changes in the modeling process, ...)?

My advice for anybody implementing this solution is not to deploy PowerDesigner fully by yourself. Allow an experienced vendor consultant to explain all of the features and possibilities of the tool to you, and then just decide what and how you want or need to use.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are partner of SAP in Europe and we are implementing and customizing PowerDesigner into the customers` environments.
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