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.


Valuable Features

  • 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

Improvements to 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.

Room for 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.

Use of Solution

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

Deployment Issues

There have no issues with the deployment.

Stability Issues

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

Scalability Issues

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

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.

Previous Solutions

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.

Initial Setup

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

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.

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.

Other Solutions Considered

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

Other Advice

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