Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Review

It allows us to validate design changes and give an indication of the code before speaking with developers.​​ Collaborating on a medium to large model resulted in significant performance problems.

How has it helped my organization?

Allowed us to validate design changes and give an indication of the code before even speaking with developers. It also allowed the architects to reuse work done by other projects or by other architecture specialities. It is more structured than tools like Visio making it easier to build accurate diagrams.

What is most valuable?

  • Ability to manage a meta-model that support a single source of truth for models
  • Ability to capture concept thinking diagrams (referred to as white boarding)
  • Reverse engineering capabilities
  • Collaborative functionality
  • Ability to trace through from a requirement statement to impacted logic was extremely powerful to us

What needs improvement?

Collaborating on a medium to large model resulted in significant performance problems, in some cases critical issues. It did not include sufficient flexibility for architecture work targeting business stakeholders. Very much a tool focused at application architecture despite having functions covering higher architecture domains.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it for eight years in total, and five on a daily basis.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had some stability issues but these varied version by version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability issues limit us from expanding the use of the tool.

How are customer service and technical support?

Initially this was excellent in early versions. The growth of the product has changed as the company has grown. We were not able to get resolution to scalability issues in reasonable timeframes for versions nine or 10.

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

IBM's tools and a number of other tools primarily UML focused. In v7 Sparx was miles ahead of the competition, fast, flexible, priced affordable.

How was the initial setup?

It was straightforward for single use, but for collaborative use it is slightly more complicated.

What about the implementation team?

In house team. If you're thinking of scaling it up I would recommend linking the commitment to pay for the product to demonstration of the tools ability to support the team size and use you are proposing and ensure contracts are in place with tight SLAs if issues occur.

What was our ROI?

It's impossible to tell, as the tool has helped to swing decision making in a few high level business meetings but mostly considered a tool to improve the efficiency of architecture.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The current market landscape is changing. The recent work I've done with Orbus IServer to be a serious contender.

What other advice do I have?

Be realistic about what you team can achieve. In a single use situation there is little advise needed but if you are intending to deliver it into an organisation, ensure that

  • The way it will change how you work is possible (considering people and processes)
  • The cost is reasonable
  • The competition has been assessed using a POC not marketing ware (e.g. Orbus)
  • The training impact is understood (The tool is not trival to use)
  • The business view is not ignored. In my experience this tool does not remove the need to render information for a business audience separately and neither does tools like Orbus.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

7 to 10
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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