Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Review

Supports modeling standards such as UML, BPMN, and ArchiMate.


What is most valuable?

  • Open API, published database schema
  • Report generation: Makes the tool easy to configure and easy to extract analytics/reports
  • A large community with many examples and modeling standards supported, including UML, BPMN, and ArchiMate

How has it helped my organization?

I have used the BPMN modelling, reporting, and analytic capability with a number of clients to document their business processes. These have been used for staff training, change management, and regulatory reporting.

What needs improvement?

The tool lacks an interactive web interface. The HTML generated is static. Users can’t add comments, run reports, or query the generated HTML via a web browser. To do this with the out-of-the-box capability, users need to install the Sparx Windows client.

However, you can configure the generated HTML to invoke web services that you can code using the open API. The open API provides reporting and querying via a web browser. This is something that I have done for clients.

(Update on above comments: Sparx has just released an interactive web interface - see their site for

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for 14 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were no stability issues. The product uses a client-server model, so any issues would be due to the RDBMS that you deploy.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were scalability issues. The HTML generation with very large models, over 4000 diagrams, can be problematic. It will take several hours to generate.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Sparx Systems provides tools and web/email-based support for licensed users. They are responsive, with queries typically answered within 24 hours.

They rely on a global network of third-party partners who provide local professional services. I can provide this in the UK. There is also a very active community that can answer most of your questions.

Technical Support:

Technical support is good, with the limitations mentioned regarding customer service.

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

I’ve used many solutions over the years. I tend to come back to Sparx because it is the best value for the money.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is simple. There are some advanced options related to source control and WAN optimization/cloud service (HTTP connectivity; not Sparx in the cloud).

However, the most complex consideration when setting Sparx up is how to structure the model to address your business requirements. This is key because the tool has no out-of-the-box model structure. You need to define it.

What about the implementation team?

Sparx does not have a professional services team. They rely on a global network of partners. Medium/large organisations should engage one of these partners or bring in an experienced contractor, such as myself, to help them set up their model.

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

It has very competitive pricing/licensing. Spend the money you save on experienced support when setting up your model.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have run tooling RFPs comparing BPM tools such as iGrafx, Aris, ADONIS, and Sparx. (Sparx was already being used by solution architects.)

We chose Sparx as it was the incumbent tool within the organisation. It was significantly less expensive than the other tools.

What other advice do I have?

Get experienced help with the setup/configuration of your model so it can fully meet your business requirements.


Which version of this solution are you currently using?

13
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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6 Comments

author avatarit_user365709 (Practice Leader Architecture / Methodologist at Swift Fox Strategies Inc.)
Consultant

Lately in my practice I find the lack of dynamic HTML (applied filtering) to be a short fall for a lot of tools including Sparx EA. I have been wondering what it would take create a bolt on that relied on SVG to enable dynamic filtered views.

author avatarit_user100644 (Data Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees)
Real User

I would like to comment that Sparx has a web interface in beta right now and that there are currently third party tools that enable you to work with EA over the web.

author avatarit_user599052 (Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees)
Consultant

Yes, since my original post two products (that i'm aware of) provide an interactive web interface over Sparx - their own WebEA product and there is also Prolaborate.

author avatarit_user100644 (Data Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees)
Real User

There is also web collaborator:

https://www.lieberlieber.com/en/web-collaborator-for-enterprise-architect/

author avatarit_user100644 (Data Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees)
Real User

I can testify as to its stability. We moved our logical model from Erwin over to Sparx. Erwin crashed on a regular basis, Sparx EA hasn't even once.

On the other hand, Sparx EA doesn't enforce UML standards and constraints to the extent that a tool like MagicDraw does. On the third hard, MagicDraw is far more expensive....

author avatarMichaelSukachev
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

I'd agree on stability. Performance for a large models can have some improvement, but that's something you can overcome by changing the structure of the model and by loading only necessary packages for a specific viewpoint.
And you pay a fraction of the price from the similar tools. That make ROI on that product very attractive.