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LeanIX is the #7 ranked solution in our list of top Architecture Management tools. It is most often compared to Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect: LeanIX vs Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect

What is LeanIX?

LeanIX delivers collaborative Enterprise Architecture designed for modern IT. Our open, data-driven architecture management model helps organizations adapt to the evolving demands of digital. From agile to multi-cloud and beyond, architecture teams using LeanIX have the power to strategically support the business and report 45% reduction in time to value delivery. More than 90,000 users across enterprises worldwide rely on LeanIX to manage their IT landscape, including adidas, Bosch, 7Eleven, and Zalando.

LeanIX Buyer's Guide

Download the LeanIX Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

LeanIX Customers

adidas, Bosch, Chico's, Haworth, Helvetia, KuKa, Osram, Telekom, TUI, Santander, Swarovski, Vaillant, 7Eleven, and Zalando.

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MichaelSukachev
Enterprise Architect at Teranet, INC.
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Saves us significant time when analyzing potential mergers and acquisitions and how our technologies match up

Pros and Cons

  • "Among the most valuable features are the easy-to-use interface and the ability to get quick results... Many tools that I have seen are great for technical people and for giving technical and business information as well, but they're not as friendly and easy as LeanIX... It works well for both technical and business users. It provides a good combination, enabling you to quickly put valuable information in for both technical and non-technical people and derive results."
  • "Another area for improvement is that when you're starting to look into more advanced information, using the solution's APIs and its customizations, documentation for that specific aspect is not very good. There is not too much support built into the offering for that aspect, for a developer."

What is our primary use case?

LeanIX is an enterprise architecture management tool. In general, enterprise architecture is a comprehensive practice and this tool can be used for many aspects of the practice. 

Primarily, the tool manages  Business Capabilities, Application, Technology and  Data catalogues and linkages between them. The base package also includes the following catalogues that can be linked as well:

User Groups - as the name suggests, user groups definition with different attributes

Projects/Initiatives - very helpful for roadmapping exercises

Interfaces - useful for various integrations modelling

Technical Stack/Domains - for technologies/software/tools categorization

Providers - providers of the items in the IT Components list 

In addition, there are add-on tools for the lifecycles of third-party tools  - useful for technology/software currency management on the corporate level.

How has it helped my organization?

Before LeanIX was implemented in our company, there might have been a scenario where we had a security project and needed to know all our APIs, corporate-wide, because we wanted to set corporate standards. If we wanted to know all our API's from all our product lines, it would have taken a couple of days to connect to the departmental or line-of-business lead architects and ask them, "Okay guys, can you list me all the APIs that you're exposing?" Now, it's a matter of spending a couple of minutes and we have our list. We just do a search.

It's used extensively for analysis of mergers and acquisitions. In that scenario, the users include infrastructure people, infrastructure directors, enterprise architects, and plenty of other architects as well. They work at combining the overall footprint and view of technologies and the way we're doing things at Teranet, and how they match with the other company. That is one of the major use cases for this kind of system, and we have seen significant time savings when it comes to mergers and acquisitions.

LeanIX is a tool for larger companies that need to manage a larger application portfolio, in addition to inventory. Our company has a number of lines of business. When we're working on a strategy at the corporate level, we need the kind of comprehensive analysis and global view that it provides. That's what it's really good at quick artifacts for global analysis. 

Usually, companies maintain lists of applications and technologies in different tools; sometimes just in Excel files. It takes the same amount of time to put the information into LeanIX, but the output is much more comprehensive through the reports it provides. You don't even need to build them because they come with the product.

Once you have an inventory of your platforms and third-party tools, you can show them through the LeanIX Self-Service Portal. You can use it to filter based on whatever you'd like. We use it for building our approved-software list, just from the entries that were already there, without spending even one more second on it.

What is most valuable?

Among the most valuable features are the easy-to-use interface and the ability to get quick results. Setting up an enterprise architecture practice, in general, is a lengthy process, and it's a learning process in many ways. A tool that is very open with a lot of capabilities can sometimes look intimidating. This tool doesn't look intimidating. EA practice is not only for technical people and that makes the usability of an EA tool like this very important.

We do talk a lot and engage with many business users and they need a little bit different approach than technical people. From that point of view, many tools that I have seen are great for technical people and for giving business information as well, but they're not as friendly and easy as LeanIX.

From an adoption perspective, it's much easier than Sparx Systems or Orbis. Those tools are more open but, at the same time, they are more sophisticated and more intimidating for non-technical people. LeanIX is built with a non-technical audience in mind as well. It works well for both technical and business users. It provides a good combination, enabling you to quickly put valuable information in for both technical and non-technical people and derive results. The results may be a bit more predefined, but you can configure it as well.

It also has very good tagging abilities and a good search so you can segment your inventory based on your own preferences, not only according to something predefined by the vendor.

LeanIX is different from most of the other enterprise architecture tools. On the one hand, it's not as open as other tools, but from another perspective, it gives you a number of predefined ways to organize your inventory and your linkages. 

It has a number of configurable reports or artifacts that are created based on the information that you input. The tools for creating automatic artifacts are pretty good, including diagrams and reports. At the end of the day, when it comes to inventory, you need to be able to report on it, provide an artifact, and show how many of each item you have.

And if you need to build something that is customized, it provides a very comprehensive API so you can build your own reports and tools, and configure the system as you wish. It opens up views from every angle. It does take a little bit of technical knowledge, specifically Node.js, to build it, but it's not too complicated. It provides a GraphQL API, which means it's not too difficult to build your own reports.

The visualization of your information is a very good aspect of the solution as well, the way you can share the information with others. It has multiple ways of doing so.

There are also integrations, as add-ons, with ServiceNow. It has the ability to go through all your environments and find everything you have installed. That can help you automate the gathering of the inventory list of your technologies. ServiceNow can use the definitions of the products you have defined in LeanIX. One important caveat here is that the CMDB and the ServiceNow part need to be managed well to make it happen.

There is another very useful add-on that connects your technology list with Technopedia. When you link to an item in Technopedia, it will bring all the information about the vendor's platform. And if there are changes, it will change yours as well, such as life cycles or when the product is going to be sunset. Valuable information can be taken from Technopedia in a very easy way.

There are other add-ons that we don't use. One of them is with Signavio, which is a BPM tool. If you have it, I think that add-on would be very valuable. 

LeanIX has another offering that we are just looking at, to do the same type of discovery for cloud platforms. That means that with the correct configuration, you can monitor what kinds of cloud services you are using and have that information as building-blocks for your enterprise architecture.

What needs improvement?

It provides diagramming, but it is not the best diagramming tool that I've ever used. It's there. It can use all the linkages you already have, which is very handy. But it's not the best tool.

Even though that feature is not the best, for diagramming purposes it integrates with Lucidchart. That brings together the power of Lucidchart and all the information in LeanIX. From a visual perspective, it's great. We use that to make the diagramming better.

I don't think LeanIX will try to create a great diagramming tool. It's a basic tool that could definitely be improved, but it looks like they took a little bit of a different approach, by integrating with a leading diagramming tool.

Another area for improvement is that when you're starting to look into more advanced information, using the solution's APIs and its customizations, documentation for that specific aspect is not very good. There is not too much support built into the offering for that aspect, for a developer. As a simple example, I wanted to create a custom report. Using the documentation that was provided, I was not able to do that, and I have been a developer for more than 25 years, in addition to being an enterprise architect.

After I talked to a representative, they did bring some technical people into the discussion. They could even make that a service where I could say to them, "I would like to have your support for one day to set up the environment, to give me a couple of examples, and go over this." They acknowledge that they're looking into this, but they don't have it. It would be a great service, even a paid service. I would be willing to pay for it. It's not a matter of the complexity of the development part, it was more the complexity of the setup.

So they lack good information in that area, but it looks like they're working on it. And they are very open. I work with two success managers from LeanIX, and both of them are very responsive to our requirements.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using LeanIX for about half a year, but very extensively.

It was a new implementation when I was hired as enterprise architect at Teranet. One of the first tasks I had was to implement the enterprise architecture framework, and this was a part of that. We are implementing a lot with LeanIX, from an enterprise architecture perspective.

The selection of the tool was done before my time at the company, but I'm very versed in the tool now. I feel that we are really pushing the limits of it, very much.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability and uptime are good. 

Keep in mind that this kind of solution doesn't affect the runtime of any of your products. It's an information system only, with information about metadata, and about your organization, and not about things you do. 

It's a browser-based solution, so sometimes it's a little bit slow, but that slowness goes away pretty quickly as well. They share the monitoring of the uptime of their systems as well, so you are aware if something is happening. In the last half a year, there were no alerts at all, but they will alert you on outages.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a pretty scalable solution, even though there is a slight pre-built reports' performance degrade when the number of factsheets involved comes close to 1000 

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is very good.

Sometimes, when you're trying to make configuration changes or do customization that you think is included in your package, those things are not included. But from a technical support perspective, what they provided me with were plenty of workarounds. Even when I was asking a simple question, they could have just said, "It's not included in your package, sorry." But one time, the guy did some custom development and said, "Try this. You will be able to do it." They give great support for it.

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

Our company does use Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect, but that's more for application architecture. We didn't have much of an enterprise architecture practice. I was hired to set it up. And that was the primary reason LeanIX was adapted. It was a strategic initiative from the CIO and other C levels. The tool was purchased to promote the EA process in general.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. When you know the practice of enterprise architecture and you know what you're building, it's very easy. There is no complication when setting it up. 

It would probably be very complicated if you don't know EA. You do need to know what your objectives are. But when you know it, it's very one-to-one. All aspects of the implementation of this tool are mapped one-to-one. For someone who knows the subject, it's easy to refer to it because it's built-in a very predictive way.

It's a cloud solution so there is not that much you need to do. Setting it up was easy. To get an agreement about the setup was something else. We have almost 60 architects who had to come to an agreement. But the setup itself was very easy.

It has an export function from Excel spreadsheets, which is the usual place for maintaining lists, and that helps a lot with bulk updates. That's one of the great tools that it has.

It also has some configurations available so you can at least change names and labels. You do need an add-on for that, but it's a pretty cost-effective add-on. It's not that expensive and you can adapt labels to whatever meanings you have in your organization, and how you prefer to label things. That was part of what made it a very quick setup and promoted better understanding and adoption.

When I started to implement integrations with our internal systems, I didn't find it very difficult. The ServiceNow was one of the most involved integrations, but we did it in one day with the help of their technical support. It started to work right away.

Because of the nature of our practice, we implemented it first for our IT departments. Now, there are a myriad of people working with it, including all kinds of architects, lead architects, senior architects; there are some directors of development, directors, managers, lead developers, and QA analysts as well. 

We haven't rolled it out that much yet for non-IT personnel, but that is the plan for the end of this year. They are already going through the training for it. We are expecting to have plenty of sales and marketing people on it. 

It is used a lot for our CIO, and for presentations to our board of directors, for more strategic initiatives and plans.

What was our ROI?

We haven't yet calculated a return on investment because it's only been half a year. We plan to look at it on a three-year basis. You can't anticipate ROI right away, but we have seen the benefits I have mentioned.

I do anticipate that there will be a considerable ROI.

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

There are two pricing models. One is based on the number of what they call Fact Sheets, which are a representation of the things in your company, such as applications, technologies, and business capabilities. They are like a profile for each entity that you want to bring in and pricing is based on the number of those entities that you bring in. That's what we purchased. 

They introduced another pricing model based only on the number of applications that you bring in.

In the first model, they give you fewer capabilities in the package, but you can use it for a larger number of entities. In the other offering, they give you more capabilities, maybe even way more capabilities, but you need to form your information in a way that you are conscious of how many applications you put in. 

The second way of doing things is very new. It was introduced a couple of months ago. When I looked at it for our use, it was not going to give us too much benefit. First of all, we were set up, and all our agreements were made based on a different licensing model. If we were to go back and remodel things, it would be a big effort so we decided not to go with it. We decided to stay with the pricing model that they had originally, based on the number of building blocks, not just applications.

What other advice do I have?

It all depends on how you put together the inventory. You need to be cognizant of what kinds of information you will need and what kinds searches you foresee. It's a tool. There should be an enterprise architect who understands what outcome he is looking for. You can then build that outcome using Lean IX.

It's a tool that has a specific way of working. You need to understand the tool very well and determine if it works for your use case, for whatever you're trying to achieve. So first of all, you need to know what you want to achieve.

You will need to spend time to get an agreement, internally, on how you model your business architecture and your application and infrastructure architecture, to build better expectations of outcomes of the system. There will definitely be internal work to get to a collaborative agreement. Once you do have that agreement and you understand how LeanIX works — and it is not a very complicated system — then it's easy to see how it will work for you, or at least how much it can bend.

When you look into it, your first impression might be, "Oh, it's a little bit more of a closed system." Understand that this aspect does help you with adoption, and then look at the customization techniques and whether you can support them. Do you have the skillset, someone who will be able to work with it if you want to expand the system? That will be someone who works in Node.js and someone who knows GraphQL.

If you're just at the beginning, in addition to those questions, I would go a little bit more in-depth into what exactly is included in the package, because sometimes that's not very intuitive. Ask questions about what is included and how much it will benefit you. For example, the ServiceNow add-on is a little bit more expensive and you need to understand if you are ready for it. Otherwise, you will be paying for nothing.

Its overall ease-of-use plays a big role in adoption. As usual, you need to sell this tool, and the practice of EA in general, to the people who will contribute to it, and that's where LeanIX is really valuable. It helps you to drive the practice. They have put good effort into making it very easy to automate things and that is a valuable part of establishing an EA practice and for the adoption of it. It's not only the only part of that process. It cannot build the whole EA practice. You can't do that with one tool.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ST
Principal Enterprise Architect at a construction company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5
Easy to map fact sheets of EA domains and has a user-friendly UI/UX

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are that it's user-friendly and the user experience. It's easy to map the fact sheets."
  • "They should improve the out of the box connectors that they provide. They should see if clients are really ready to adapt them."

What is our primary use case?

Cataloguing the application and system inventory. Develop data driven decision for business goals, Identify gaps in application presence are few key use case that we wanted to achieve.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are that it's user-friendly and the user experience. It's easy to map the fact sheets. Instant access to data and reports

What needs improvement?

They should improve the right adoption in native connectors that they provide with clients. They should see if clients are really ready to adapt them during evaluation and it will help client to take informed call to purchase those connectors to other products.

We also use ServiceNow and during our LeanIX evaluation phase, the native connector from LeanIX and Service now was looked into it. But we didn't realize that it would cost almost half of Core LeanIX subscription, it is considerable amount. Then we realized that we were not actually ready for them and we opted out. We didn't understand how this integration were going to help our organization. It make sense only if we are matured with other product(Service now) to get full benefit of this integration in organization. Please, get the quote of cost involved before you plan for checking feasibility of any native integration that comes out of LeanIX.

After the contract signed for specific year with ServiceNow integration in LeanIX,  Amidst We wanted to discontinue from the later year(due to non readiness of ServiceNow data and situation, it really not yielding any value/benefits ) and we got push back from LeanIX when approached for any workouts on this deal. We really want to go ahead with core LeanIX. We are completely happy with the core LeanIX, the only part where we want to disengage is having those additional connectors conditions.

We are even looking at alternative vendor  in industry reluctantly due to unsettling discussing with LeanIX. The relationship with the vendor is very important to us and would always want to have long year tenure. They should as well reciprocate the same.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used LeanIX for one year in my previous company and with the company, I am with now, I have been using it for two years, so three years total.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would rate the stability an eight out of ten. It is a fast platform. I'd take away two points because they rarely respond if you have an issue. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is good. We have weekly calls with them and they offer continuous support. The best part is that there is no additional cost involved. 

It depends on luck though. If you get somebody experienced, it's very good but if it's a rookie then it can be a challenge as in any other product support. They also provide open channel to reach to director of customer success team, he never fails to address us.

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

I have also used Power Designer before in my career. It was complex and heavy as learning. I have experience using other tools but LeanIX is good for end-users and the admin to go in action quickly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It took us more than six months because we started from the ground up and we were also building the data catalog.

What other advice do I have?

LeanIX is typically a data center application. So first prepare your internal organization for data repository and where you want to conceptualize. Have that in hand and then speak to businesses, gather all the system information, and process information. Then go to LeanIX and start building based as per their model. So your part is only bringing your data to support the application. The native connectors look very attractive but comes with a huge price for certain products.

Please be informed on price part before getting attracted towards the benefits that you are going get from those native connector, Because like us, we may not be in a position to have more ROI than the actual expense that we incur for that native connectors. Its good to avoid the surprises later stage and struck with contract sign without learning the actual impact. 

Overall, we are very happy with the LeanIX features and functionalities, the way they are with customers but the bitter part is their customer payment strategies for native connectors. LeanIX CEO Andre Christ is real visionary in EA, appreciate that, sincere suggestion is addressing customer concerns in win-win mode would greatly help in long relationship.

I would rate it an eight out of ten. I would recommend this tool for sure.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about LeanIX. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
542,608 professionals have used our research since 2012.
RH
Consultant at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Top 10
Easy repository, high usability, and maintaining and adding new data to your repository is very easy

Pros and Cons

  • "The usability is very high. It almost looks like a Facebook for Enterprise architecture, it's pretty nice. It's HTML5 based. The repository is very easy. It has 10 different ways of sorting the objects you have in your architecture repository. Maintaining new data or to add data to your repository is very easy."
  • "Not a ten because you always have that gap between complexity and easy to use. And the more complex the tool becomes, the more difficult it is to get the usability."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for architecture management. Signavio has a standard integration for BPM, but everything that is related to architecture is on the LeanIX side. It's application portfolio management, project portfolio management, engine components, and technology spec. It's for typical enterprise architecture.

What is most valuable?

The usability is very high. It almost looks like a Facebook for Enterprise architecture, it's pretty nice. It's HTML5 based. The repository is very easy. It has 10 different ways of sorting the objects you have in your architecture repository. Maintaining new data or to add data to your repository is very easy.

The whole repository itself is very easy to be maintained. The reporting capability allows you to develop custom reports in JavaScript and just upload it to your LeanIX solution so that you can use your custom reports. Due to the JavaScript implementation, we have almost an endless library of any kind of layout we want to have. 

The new feature LeanIX offers is actually that you have a so-called LeanIX store where you can download custom reports that already have been built and uploaded to the LeanIX store, partly for free. You can already download existing solutions or access new reports to your repository. You just add them. You just click add and they automatically add it. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using LeanIX for three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From its functionality, it is extendable at a high level, but to get your full-blown majority in Enterprise Architecture is not so easy. From a scale from zero to 10 from the maturity of Enterprise Architecture LeanIX could hold together from zero to seven but you will not get the last three points.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is actually very good. It depends on your SRAs that you defined with the company. If you have a huge solution board, a huge number of fact sheets, you will have tech support within 24 hours. It depends on the number of objects you have in your repositors and the more objects you have and the bigger license you have, the faster the SRAs are defined. You have, at maximum, a 24-hour response. I received emails around two hours after my question was submitted to tech support, that was very quick.

If you press the critical button you can always get in contact almost instantly.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is actually straightforward. You need about 15 minutes to get used to the tool. It's very quick.

You don't need a tech person to do the deployment. Any business person could just review data and add data. They simply just need to understand the meta-model within 15 minutes. 

What other advice do I have?

My recommendation would depend on the use case. We cannot go to the customer and just advise them to have one kind of tool. It depends on what they have in the architecture and what kind of solution they want to have. Some companies are just fine with a seven-point solution. Some companies want to implement very difficult workflows. Then I would tend to use Alfabet from Software AG but it really depends on the use case.

If you have a company that's setting up Enterprise Architecture and already has all the documents produced in Microsoft environments, iServer's a nice solution. It really depends.

I would rate it a nine out of ten. Not a ten because you always have that gap between complexity and easy to use. And the more complex the tool becomes, the more difficult it is to get the usability. For example, Alfabet is not bad, it looks good and it's not bad, it's easy to use. But therefore the meta-model has over 700 classes from the standard in comparison to the 10 classes in LeanIX. LeanIX is very, nice from the visibility side. This is the one point that I wouldn't give, but this was something that the gap is really hard to fill.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner