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Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is #1 ranked solution in top Architecture Management tools and #3 ranked solution in Business Process Design tools. IT Central Station users give Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect an average rating of 8 out of 10. Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is most commonly compared to Visual Paradigm:Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect vs Visual Paradigm. Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 71% of users researching this solution on IT Central Station. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 22% of all views.
What is Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect?

Sparx Enterprise Architect is a platform that accelerates and integrates software, business and systems development. Twice winner of Jolt and multiple SD Times Awards with an installed base of 580,000 + licenses, supported by 230 partners in 160 countries. From requirements to implementation and beyond, Sparx Systems' Enterprise Architect is a fully featured tool suite that lets you model, design, simulate, prototype, build, test, manage and trace from vision to solution.

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Buyer's Guide

Download the Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Customers

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Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect pricing:
  • "I use my own license. So, I just bought the professional version, which costs $800 or something like that. In the company where I am working, we have floating licenses. They are probably more expensive. Its licensing is affordable, but we are talking about a large organization, and there could be modelers or viewers of the models. We don't know how much that would cost us."

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Reviews

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Joshua Shoresh
Management Consultant & Architect at Contextual Focus Limited
Consultant
Top 20
Great pricing with an easy initial setup and a comprehensive toolkit

Pros and Cons

  • "For the most part, we find that it is remarkable how inexpensive it is."
  • "The presentation graphics need to be improved in future builds."

What is our primary use case?

We're doing enterprise architecture work primarily. In one case we're looking at enterprise data modeling. In another case is mostly business architecture.

How has it helped my organization?

We haven't used the solution long enough to make any observations in terms of the product improving our company's functions. It's too soon to tell.

What is most valuable?

For us, the solution is evolving still.

I find it performs as well as other solutions that I've used, like QualiWare's Rational System Architect. It performs quite well.

For the most part, we find that it is remarkable how inexpensive it is.

Overall, the solution offers very good packages.

The initial setup is easy.

What needs improvement?

The presentation graphics need to be improved in future builds. It's primarily an architecture tool. Therefore, it's using certain formulas, and they aren't really very useful in terms of presentation graphics for executives. It's an ongoing issue. You do some kind of diagram, you then have to convert it into a Microsoft PowerPoint in order to get a certain look and feel. Otherwise, the design is just too obscure for executives to understand.

The product needs better tools for defining report templates. Sparx will generate automated reports based on whatever you select from the repository. It has this templating tool that's very flexible, however, I can't get the damn thing to work properly. It's just not very user-friendly. It's almost like a programming language. That's the thing that we keep coming back to tech support with to say, "What are we doing wrong?" If they offered a better report generating front end that will let someone quickly and easily configure what they want in their reports, that would be very useful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I'm pretty new to the solution. I've used the solution for a little under a year at this point. It's likely been ten or 11 months so far.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

While the solution has crashed a few times in the past year, I wouldn't describe it as unstable. There aren't really bugs or glitches on it. Mostly, it's fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I can't speak to the level of scalability of the product. The user community for our purposes is quite small. We haven't tested scaling it with larger user groups. However, it's not the type of tool you would role out to a larger community anyway. Therefore, from a performance scalability perspective, it's hard for me to comment.

That said, from a functional scalability perspective, it's packed with all kinds of features. Your enterprise architecture approach could certainly scale up to accommodate more and more of the types of analysis you'd want to perform.

We have two teams that use the solution. In one case, there are three people using it, and in another case there are seven.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've used technical support in the past.

We've needed them for a few little obscure things and things just that are quite annoying to figure out. They've always been there and they're quite good.

We're quite satisfied with the level of assistance we receive. I would rate them at a perfect ten out of ten.

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

Personally, I've used a lot of different solutions, and a lot of different kinds of case tools. However, in both my client environments that we are presently using, we presently implemented Sparx and they had nothing like this before. This is really an eye-opener to them and a new kind of field for them to go into.

How was the initial setup?

We found the initial setup to be very straightforward and simple. It's not complex at all. A company shouldn't have any trouble with the deployment process.

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

The pricing is excellent. It's very inexpensive.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer and an end-user.

We're using the latest version of the solution.

We use different deployment models, including cloud and on-premises.

It's an excellent entry-level tool. I say entry level as case tools are typically a very expensive proposition to bring into a business, and not necessarily because of their licensing costs or their implementation costs. It is more the training costs of the individuals to start working and thinking in an architectural way and then using tools like this in a consistent and productive manner. You need a methodology investment and you need training investment, and then you need a setup investment for the actual enterprise architecture program or practice that you're going to work with.

The tool itself is comparable to a bunch of others. However, it's not as expensive as most. It's in fact so cheap that last year, due to delays related to the COVID lockdown, I ended up buying a license for myself. It's that inexpensive. It cost less than Microsoft Word. It's an excellent way for a company to start or an organization to start using an enterprise architecture discipline. However, it's not an end-to-end solution. It could be an end-to-end solution. It just involves training of resources and change management for different processes and for governance and all this. A lot of companies just either don't realize that at all or aren't prepared to make the investment outside of the cheap license.

I would rate the solution eight out of ten.

It offers a comprehensive toolkit that it provides very good capabilities. The kinds of coverage that it gives to enterprise architecture tasks are great. The diagrammatic flexibility that it has, the methodological flexibility, and diagrammatic flexibility are also very helpful. It can support lots of different metamodels that will allow you to implement different enterprise architecture methods. It'll diagram them all. It does a very good job of allowing you to structure your environment so that you can support lots of different kinds of analysis across domains of enterprise architecture. It's very flexible in that sense. For these reasons, I give it fairly high marks.

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.
Igor Malik
Senior Solutions Architect Lead at a wholesaler/distributor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good traversability, model-centric approach, and makes it easy to maintain documentation

Pros and Cons

  • "Its traversability is most valuable. I can use ArchiMate, and I can create a UML model. ArchiMate is for logical enterprise architecture, UML is for software engineering, and BPMN is for business processes. I can build it to have multiple models, and they are also traversable, which is not something that every tool allows. If there is a huge organization, you can segment it and have separate models for business technology or internal resource management system. You don't need to keep them in one model, and you can decide to segregate them."
  • "From a practical point of view, we need speed and reliability for creating a model and doing some really meaningful tasks such as application landscape, refactoring, etc. These are two primary criteria. Sometimes, when you import something, it creates the object duplicates, or it allows you to do something that you're not supposed to do. For example, validation is missing. This could be frustrating because when you work at a high speed, you need to come back and start fixing things that the tool allowed you to go with, which is not quite good. So, there should probably be some internal mechanisms to advise you about what you're doing and what is probably not the best idea."

What is our primary use case?

My job is about helping the organization to create a functional solution. I build models for the organization at the business layer, application layer, etc. It also involves integration with other tools, such as erwin, for data modeling.

What is most valuable?

Its traversability is most valuable. I can use ArchiMate, and I can create a UML model. ArchiMate is for logical enterprise architecture, UML is for software engineering, and BPMN is for business processes. I can build it to have multiple models, and they are also traversable, which is not something that every tool allows. If there is a huge organization, you can segment it and have separate models for business technology or internal resource management system. You don't need to keep them in one model, and you can decide to segregate them.

Its model-centric approach makes it very easy to create documentation based on a template. Every company says that maintaining documentation is a very tedious task, and it usually requires subject matter experts. That's why companies rarely maintain documentation, but when you maintain the model, and you have the right processes and the right roles assigned, it can be naturally maintained. You can just simply produce a document by selecting whatever you need and in a format that you need. It is a very powerful feature.

What needs improvement?

From a practical point of view, we need speed and reliability for creating a model and doing some really meaningful tasks such as application landscape, refactoring, etc. These are two primary criteria. Sometimes, when you import something, it creates the object duplicates, or it allows you to do something that you're not supposed to do. For example, validation is missing. This could be frustrating because when you work at a high speed, you need to come back and start fixing things that the tool allowed you to go with, which is not quite good. So, there should probably be some internal mechanisms to advise you about what you're doing and what is probably not the best idea.

For example, you can do many things with ArchiMate, which is modeling language, but people can interpret many things incorrectly. They start modeling and then realize that it is not a good idea. So, it is not the tool itself. It is probably a combination of the modeling language and the tool that validates it. It would be very good if validation mechanics are embedded in the tool to, at least, advise people that a particular thing is allowed to be done in this way, but doing it would also mean something else that you may not want. The languages themselves are not perfect. In a large company, you have many people doing the modeling. If they interpret things differently and the tool allows them to do that, then you would have to do some rework.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been in and out. I have probably been using this solution for seven or eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When I use it, it is stable. I do not have any problems. I really love the tool, and I have friends who work with this. They simply admire it. So, it is very popular in this area.

How are customer service and technical support?

I didn't use their tech support much.

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

I tried to build a design with another solution two or three years ago, but there was something wrong and it was very slow. It was called Business Design. So, basically, I just said that I cannot use it for the scale of the task that I have. I simply cannot use that tool. They could maybe tune it up. I'm not blaming the tool itself, but my experience with it was really negative. I expect that the Sparx program will be faster.

How was the initial setup?

I am asking my IT to install version 15 on my laptop. I have submitted a request, and I want to have it set up and then try it. I will play with this a little bit and figure it out.

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

I use my own license. So, I just bought the professional version, which costs $800 or something like that. 

In the company where I am working, we have floating licenses. They are probably more expensive. Its licensing is affordable, but we are talking about a large organization, and there could be modelers or viewers of the models. We don't know how much that would cost us.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Currently, I am using a different tool, which is open-source, because the company didn't want to pay. It looks like they have changed their mind, and I have now started looking into the tool. I will also be looking at other cloud-based tools, including Sparx. We haven't yet made a decision. We will compare all the options, and Sparx has very good chances. We are quite positive about it, but there is also competition.

What other advice do I have?

My task right now is to create a model for the entire organization with thousands of NMLs and tens of thousands of relationships. It is very big, so the speed of the process in it is very important. My superiors are thinking about a cloud version because they don't really want to maintain it. They're talking about something like DevOps so that in the development, they have the continuous promotion of the code, automated testing, etc. We are not building the executable code. If you look into a modeling language, it is a language. It is not a programming language, but it comes under the same category as the programming language. For many people, it is much easier to understand than Enterprise Architect. They try to stay away because of the complexity.

I would rate Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect an eight out of 10. My experience is a little bit outdated, but I was very pleased with it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Learn what your peers think about Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,695 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Terry Watts
Software Developer at RowdenSoftwareSolutions Ltd.
Real User
Top 20
Has made the EA object model available so you can add your own popup menu items

Pros and Cons

  • "It has led some teams to do better code reviews - to be less focussed on coding conventions (syntax) and more focussed on the semantics because of the abstraction level clear design affords."
  • "Because its easy to create diagrams one needs to be vigilant on the housekeeping of orphaned fragments - I have written my own scripts to do this, maybe they are available now."

What is our primary use case?

There are several ‘primary’ use case:

1: Designing a solution

2: Reverse-engineering the solution from a poorly documented code base - all too common in my 25 years of coding.

3: Communication of concepts, rules, ideas to devs, testers, dev team management

4: Importantly keeping the evolving codebase and the design ‘close-coupled’, with EA that is easy. Code evolves and sometimes the design often changes a lot - how often do devs avoid the design because it’s just way outdated?? It should be the first port of call in a bug fix - not the last.

High/Low-level Design, Test case identification. Mindmapping, functional requirements elicitation, use case elicitation, test cases, activity diagrams. I am a contract developer/designer, for me, it’s vital to get up to speed quickly with new and complex systems. I have often used my own EA license to get a handle on the real model - for me, that's been vital.

How has it helped my organization?

Sparx has mainly improved my organization through the communication of ideas through the sharing of models and a variety of diagramming techniques. Consistency is a key attribute of a good codebase. This tool helps a lot in the maintenance and organization of a lot of complexity.

It has led some teams to do better code reviews - to be less focussed on coding conventions (syntax) and more focussed on the semantics because of the abstraction level clear design affords.

We all know understanding is ALL - so Communication is vital, this tool makes it easy.

What is most valuable?

  • Mind mapping as a top-level tool for conceptual brainstorming and identification of key concepts in the conceptual model.
  • Use cases / scenarios / activity diagram generation
  • The fact that it’s very easy to create child diagrams in diagrams and so keep each diagram clear, focussed, and not bloated. This is very important and a powerful aid in clarifying the model
  • Easy forward and reverse engineering - to code and DB design/implementation is an iterative process so there is a real use case for a tool like EA to make the update process very easy
  • It's possible to write stored procedures in the EA SQL database to extract steps that can be used as code comments to structure the code directly from activity diagrams. This is something I find really useful to speed up the coding and keep it aligned with the low-level design.
  • There are some powerful ideas code generation templates and transforms. Sparx has made the EA object model available so you can add your own popup menu items etc. It is very customizable for the power user.

What needs improvement?

It is a good affordable that is actively evolving, I think the modeling of activity diagrams could be optimized - currently, they insist on you specifying whether a connector is a control flow or an object flow for instance. It is a minor point, but since this sort of diagram is popular in that it affords both the chance to effectively constrain the model whilst leaving freedom for the next stage in the dev process - which key in good design then it should a high priority to optimize this rather than waste resources unnecessary 'bells and whistles'?

There are several little things they could and should optimize. But the platform is good and could be the base a whole tranch or really useful features. for example: to be able to easily run code set up in unit tests to reverse engineer specific code blocks to yield sequence/activity diagrams, would be really useful when as a contractor you have to 'firefight' the design from the code. 

Personally I would like to see the database normalized better. It's really just a data dump whose business rules are contained in the front end client code - it is way way way off 3nf.

Because its easy to create diagrams one needs to be vigilant on the housekeeping of orphaned fragments - I have written my own scripts to do this, may they are available now.

I don't make much use of the traceability Matrix, yet that should be a feature that I should use if I could see it made it easy to ensure the traceability of ALL the design to the code (completeness)

However, it works. It’s good to use and it’s affordable for a single contractor. It has REALLY helped me. It is a good product and I am sure it will only continue to improve.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Sparx for ten years. 

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

IBM Rational, but not many companies could afford it.

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

Pricing is an obvious selling point and so are the flexibility and feature set.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

At the time I first used it it was a no brainer, there was only Sparx out there as affordable and serious software - there was Visio. Now there are real alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

It supports a variety of databases - if you have more than say 5 do not use access. Maybe it is better now but it did cause us problems when 30 devs were using it.

Access DB is ideal for the single user or very small team because its a file-based repo which is easy to back up as part of the project back up at my home-based office I use both Access and MSSQL repos - you can migrate - but its not a simple exercise. I guess if you did it a lot you would have a well-documeted process - i.e picking the wrong driver is/was possible and it will give you an incomplete/corrupt migration. That being said I do do it because I like to get at the SQL repo directly. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Marc Lampron
Conseiller principal en architecture d’entreprise et de solution at Cronomagic Canada
Real User
Top 20
Good performance, integration, and responsive technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "The product offers very good support for all mainstream modeling notations and architectural frameworks."
  • "Even if there are web-based tools in the Enterprise Architecture tool ecosystem (like Prolaborate), the main modeling application is still a fat client application."

What is our primary use case?

Enterprise architecture: Capabilities and business services modeling, business processes mapping and analysis, project prioritization and planning (using ArchiMate and BPMN notations); 

Information architecture: Business information model (Information Entities modeling and Security Classification of entities (Availability, Integrity, Confidentiality)  (using UML notation and specific TAG values);

Solution architecture: Conceptual components architecture (using ArchiMate or UML notation);

Integration of all models in a central collaborative with multi-users, multi-domains, and a multileveled architecture repository structured and organized following the TOGAF 9.x Content model.

How has it helped my organization?

Supporting all of the important architecture modeling notations and all types and levels of architecture modeling in a secure, collaborative, and well-integrated model repository is really unifying and beneficial.

Having the possibility of integrating and sharing all architecture models inside a centralized repository for all architecture stakeholders provides immense and cohesive insight into all architecture domains and dimension interrelationships. 

The capability to analyze interdependencies between architectural elements makes for a very reliable comprehension of all architectural interactions, as opposed to trying to figure it out from a pile of Visio and PowerPoints (or any other diagramming tool) independent documents.

What is most valuable?

The product offers very good support for all mainstream modeling notations and architectural frameworks. It has a very complete and coherent environment for business, architecture, and solution modeling. If what you need is not directly available, you can extend the modelings capabilities to suit your specials needs (TAG values, metamodel extensions (MDG), scripting, API interfaces, ...).

It has a very stable and performant environment. This a necessary capability for supporting a large number and varied kinds of modelers (Business architects & Business analysts, Enterprise architects, Information architects, Domain & Solution Architects, Security Architects, ...), all working at the same time on shared and live models. 

The constant evolution of usability and integration capabilities: Nothing is perfect, but constant polishing and enhancement are reassuring. 

What needs improvement?

Even if there are web-based tools in the Enterprise Architecture tool ecosystem (like Prolaborate), the main modeling application is still a fat client application. For some organizations, it is still a concern and a significant disqualification criterion for adoption.

The capability to model and analyze while maintaining coherent traceability within different variants (variations or versions) of a future architecture has been greatly enhanced in the recent versions of Enterprise Architect. It requires a very mature, systemic, and methodic approach that is not easy to grasp for junior modelers. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect for eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In eight years of enterprise-wide modeling with multiple architects and business analysts working day-in-day-out with the environment, we have never had a single major problem and we never lost integrity.

The tool is very robust but assuring complete integrity over time requires competent quality control.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Enterprise Architect is a very flexible and scalable tool. It can be set-up different ways to accommodate capacity, volume, and a number of simultaneous modeling users. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Almost never have to go through customer service/technical support but, the few times I needed it, they were very responsive and supportive. 

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

In different contexts and organizations, I have tried and used different modeling tools. That said, when I have the choice of tool to use for architecture modeling I always select Enterprise Architect for its usability (even though it is a complex tool), completeness, and extensibility.

How was the initial setup?

It is usually very simple and straightforward. The real work is setting the standard for collaborative work between teams and projects.

What about the implementation team?

For Enterprise Architect, it is usually very simple and I do it myself easily.

For efficient integration with other tools, I usually suggest going through a vendor team.

What was our ROI?

It was not measured recently, but being able to analyze traceability and architectural dependencies doing impact analysis has tremendous value. 

Avoiding multiple duplicated elements and being coherent and avoiding confusion about naming or modeling notations from different models or symbols from different modeling tool is very reassuring.

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

Define your immediate needs and objectives, start small and focused.

Identify some motivated champions inside your organization and find a coach to help them get to know the tools. 

Initially, get comfortable and efficient with the vanilla setup of the tool. Do not try to personalize or extend the tool unless you are confident that it will bring more benefits than confusion. 

Define templates and model examples to set the organizational standards for modeling. Evaluate your progress, adhesion to standards, and quality of models regularly. 

Identify other domains of modeling opportunities that could bring benefits to your organization. With experts and senior architects define a mid/long term vision and costs benefits for integrating all aspects of modeling that are important to you over time.

Annually, revised your mid/long term vision.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In my career, I was involved in many modeling tool selection exercises in many organizations and had the chance to compare most of the available tools on the market (Rational Rose, RSM, RSA, IBM RDA, CaseWise, Mega, Aris, ...). To date, I haven't the opportunity to try and evaluate BiZZdesign.

What other advice do I have?

Hang around in the user's community to gain a perspective of what others do and don't do.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Roland Kossow
Entrepreneur-Consultant-Developer-Freelance at Dipl.-Ök. Roland Kossow
User
Top 20
Great integrated scripting framework for automation, scalable, and integrates data well

Pros and Cons

  • "The best thing about the tool is that its database is open."
  • "The automatic creation of reports based on the model elements could be improved."

What is our primary use case?

I use Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect (EA) in many situations where I need to structure thoughts. Primarily, it is an EA tool. I use it when I have projects where I am in the Architect role. Modeling systems in EA is far superior to doing it in Excel or Word documents. Especially in Software Development projects, it is a neat feature that you can create code from UML-Models and that you can import source code and EA creates classes from the code.

I use it on a fast Workstation in diverse modeling situations within Enterprise Architecture, but also Software Architecture projects. 

How has it helped my organization?

Sparx EA is a good tool to model any system on. It is based on UML, but it provides the ability to create your own metamodels, so you can implement/model anything.

The tool comes in the Ultimate version with tons of predefined perspectives which are suited for plain UML, Strategy, Structured Analysis, Requirements, Database, and Enterprise Architecture Modelling to name just a few.

It is possible to mind map and wireframe and also to create roadmap diagrams. That said, to be honest, some of these diagrams could be improved.

What is most valuable?

The best thing about the tool is that its database is open. It provides an integrated scripting framework for automation and it can be automated via COM with Delphi, Visual Basic, C++, or any other programming language capable to do COM automation. It is also possible to develop your own add-ons, so the tool is very well suited as a basis for your company-wide Enterprise Architecture tooling. You can integrate data from web applications or specialized FAT clients which you develop for Enterprise Architecture Management requirements.

What needs improvement?

The tool is, to some extent, clumsy and in some areas slow (especially on mid or low-performance workstations). 

Quite a lot of data entry would be very tedious if you could not develop your own automation or data entry tooling (or have it developed for you).

The automatic creation of reports based on the model elements could be improved and overall the diagrams could be more beautiful (or more visually appealing content could be added) to the toolbox. The wireframing support could also be improved and the roadmap capability is not ideal.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've used the solution for approximately 5 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

DB connections can hang, however, that might not be the product's fault. The product was developed ages ago and it rarely has a hickup. Almost never.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is fair. If you are a mega-corporation (like worldwide and hundreds of thousands of configuration items), it boils down to the sizing of the DBserver on which the model is hosted. I've already worked with quite big model repositories and at some point, you might need to partition into different repositories and consolidate whatever you need a unified view on, but if you are willing to treat Sparx EA as the focal tool within a partly self-developed framework of architecture tools you are good to go.

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

I know some of the other web-based solutions - but not as good as Sparx EA. For UML modeling, I used (since 2000) Modelmaker which could create C# and Delphi code (which was sadly discontinued). First, I moved to Sparx because Modelmaker was discontinued, but as my projects shifted more and more from Software Development to Enterprise Architecture, it was a better-suited tool for the challenges I faced. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not really easy. Especially if you use the cloud server. You need to set up a licensed server, and, if you work on a relational database (which is recommended for large repositories and necessary if you want to collaborate on models), you need to have some DB knowledge (DBMS Based Repositories For Enterprise Architect | Sparx Systems)

What about the implementation team?

We handled everything in-house. 

What was our ROI?

I cannot really tell if we've seen an ROI. It is more that the quality of my work is much better and that I have a more pleasant experience working with it. It would take much effort to really calculate an ROI on this. It really is pretty cheap and you only pay the maintenance renewal, so it is worth every dime.

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

The tool has a lot of "bang for your buck" - especially if you can develop extensions yourself it has an unmatched price/performance ratio. That said, beware that you really need to become an expert in the tool or hire one to leverage the benefits of the tool.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not evaluate other solutions. I heard of Sparx EA to be one of the best - even though it is a challenging tool - and that is why I took it.

What other advice do I have?

Go for it. Whichever team in your company that will integrate the tool into your Enterprise Architecture Management toolchain should read the books from Thomas Kilian (leanpub.com)

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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JF
Business Owner at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Extensive features, easy to set up and quite robust

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup is easy."
  • "The documentation needs a bit of improvement. What I find is that when I'm trying to do something specific for some part of a project, in terms of documentation, it's kind of hard to get at figuring out if you don't use it all the time."

What is our primary use case?

I use the solution primarily to get some design done and to have some guidance and documentation.

What is most valuable?

The product overall is quite good.

The initial setup is easy.

The solution is quite robust.

What needs improvement?

The solution is difficult to learn.

The documentation needs a bit of improvement. What I find is that when I'm trying to do something specific for some part of a project, in terms of documentation, it's kind of hard to get at figuring out if you don't use it all the time. 

It's hard, because it's such a massive tool, to figure out how to dig in and to get to the place you need to go. The documentation would give you some idea of what to do. There's just not a lot of examples that are fully baked that I'm aware of.

The user interface is difficult, however, it was going to be difficult anyway, because of all the things we have to do when we're doing design and trying to figure out use cases and stuff like that. What I'm getting at is more tutorials are needed. You should be able to just to pick it up and say, okay, for this kind of thing, I'm going to go through this tutorial step by step and get it completed. And I don't see that as an option for getting to know the solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are always peculiarities in any large package like this. I didn't see anything that sent anything off the rails. We've come to accept a lot of things. That's just the way it is.  We go on, but there has never been anything that's really been a big problem.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not a problem at all. You can always increase the footprint of what the thing can do due to the fact that it's so powerful.

I do plan on increasing the usage of it. If I've got a finite state machine and I'm trying to figure out "how do I document this thing", then I'll go headlong into this solution and try to figure out what I have to do to document everything and apply it to what I'm doing. 

The specific design use cases can be difficult. It's not just coming up with C++ classes and stuff like that. It's just a bunch of UML, but there are things that you have to have both the graphical presentation and the words fold together to figure out what the heck is going on in this design. That's why I'll probably continue to use it, and expand my usage of it.

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

In the past, I've used Enterprise Architecture. It gives you a good overview of the tool, however, I found it was difficult for me to take that example and apply it to what I'm trying to accomplish in documenting the design.

How was the initial setup?

I didn't have any problem with the original setup at all. I wouldn't say it is complex. It's pretty straightforward.

Deployment takes probably over an hour due to the fact that, once you get it installed, it takes a while to configure it for the part of the project you want to use it for. It's got such a massive footprint as far as what you could use it for in a project, that if you're a one or two-man shop, it takes a while. With such a massive tool, there's just a lot of man-hours to get everything as you need it.

We don't really have the bandwidth to have a specific person to maintain the solution; we do that ourselves.

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

I just have a one-seat license manager. I'm not sure what the pricing is on it.

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer. We don't have a business relationship with Sparx.

The solution is deployed through the application installed on a Windows 10 machine and I do everything on the machine, not on the Cloud. I stay away from the Cloud. We're not that big, basically a two-man shop. 

The advice that I would give other users is that you better be willing and able to spend a lot of time outside of regular working hours to get to know the tool because it's difficult to just pick it up. If you've got no mentors, or if you've got no tutorials that are so specific as to cover what you're trying to do, you have to dig it out. It's difficult.

That said, the solution is as good as they come. 

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten. If it offered more tutorials, I might give it full marks. At the end of the day, the solution is only as good as the person using it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AllanKowalski
Enterprise Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10
Provides a centralized, self-regulating standardized repository of architectural artifacts which can take in or spit out a custom selected subset of these artifacts

What is our primary use case?

Creating a repository than everyone can work on for an entire enterprise and then creating a custom fit set of concepts, tools and process.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides a centralized, self-regulating (like a spreadsheet is self regulating) standardized repository of architectural artifacts which can take in or spit out a custom selected subset of these artifacts in a wide variety of forms including diagrams, spreadsheets, MS Word documents, tables, xml, JSON, etc. By allowing extreme customizability, it has drastically reduced learning and ramp up time for new uses.

What is most valuable?

Automated reporting saves me a kazillion hours a week of cutting, pasting and editing.

Profiles and Stereotypes allows me to reduce the learning curve for newbies by 95%

The automated charts and graphs hold great appeal for business types and its ability to connect with so many other tools (DevOPs, Jira, etc) make it a great enterprise level hub.

What needs improvement?

Their business model does not include consulting services but this can be a strength in some cases.

Companies that include or even highlight the consulting arm of their companies can easily create a situation in which the on site staff become dependent on the vendor consultants and are unable to progress without them.

Knowing which button to select or which icon to click on is one thing but understanding how a tools like this fits in to the overall methodology takes an in company investment in integrating the tools and software process.

I've worked for most of the big name vendors and I know first hand that the only real way to learn is to roll up your sleeves and start using the tool on a regular basis.

Training and instruction are very available for Sparx via webinars, videos, pdfs, whitepapers and email support which I have always found to be first rate.

In addition to the huge number of manuals, videos, webinars and forums available, just googling a Sparx issues is likely to provide with a huge number of hits to find just what you are looking for.

It's huge user base (750 K) is a big advantage.

Yes one must invest a little time in learning how to use the tool.  Using the cup o soup paradigm, "just add hot water" will not work. If you want that , stick with Visio,

For how long have I used the solution?

12 years

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Perfect - never had any problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Perfect - never had any problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

Though only available by e-mail they really know their stuff and respond very quickly.

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

Visio - it's like comparing crayons and paper to a spreadsheet.

BizzDesign - a very polished tool but much less flexible and customizable than Sparx EA. Also much more expensive.

How was the initial setup?

No - install, run and if you want a repository run a db script.

YOu need to know how to run a database script.

What about the implementation team?

In house ( myself)

What was our ROI?

I can conservatively estimate that expert users double their production and novice users gain 10% The more you use it for the more savings you will see.

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

The savings in license fees more than allows you to invest in a little training but get someone good.

The biggest challenge you will have with Sparx EA ( or any other modelling tool) is fully leveraging all the features it has to offer.

Too often, companies don't invest a little time in training  and it ends up being used as a drawing tool which is like using a smartphone only as a calculator.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes, but for the combination of price and value, no one beats them. Now if you want to pay a million dollars there's a lot to choose from.

While I've often heard the large million dollar tools tout how much more powerful they are I have yet to see anything they offer that Sparx EA doesn't.

What other advice do I have?

Watch out for fraudulent consultants who spout jargon but know nothing about modeling. Make someone show you the real stuff they have done.

Look for someone who can explain modern modeling techniques and concepts in a very understandable and intuitive way. If someone spouts too much jargon, watch out.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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KD
Senior Design Leader at Koninklijke Bam Groep N.v.
Real User
Top 5
A scalable, reliable, and flexible solution that can do a lot

Pros and Cons

  • "It is a very flexible product. It can do a lot. It is also a reliable product."
  • "I would like it to be less of a general tool. Currently, it is not a Swiss army knife that can do everything. It is not specialized for our purposes. We are a civil engineering company. We build things. We work mostly in what is known as Infra world in the Netherlands, which comprises objects such as bridges, locks, and water management. We would like to see more focus on such types of projects. It would be nice if it has more specializations. At the moment, it is very generic, and you have to create everything yourself. Our focus is more on user requirement management, which is currently very basic. I would like to see a lot more functionality in this area. Its basic functions for adding user requirements are perfect, but we need more features. Currently, it has limited possibilities for our requirements. I would also like to see better contract management and have it managed in a certain way."

What is our primary use case?

We're still investigating it on the structural side. Our primary focus is on CCML and UML, the creation of documents, and requirement management. After that, we will teach our company about how we're going to use the product. I am using its latest version. It is deployed on-premises on the company cloud.

What is most valuable?

It is a very flexible product. It can do a lot. It is also a reliable product. 

What needs improvement?

I would like it to be less of a general tool. Currently, it is not a Swiss army knife that can do everything. It is not specialized for our purposes. We are a civil engineering company. We build things. We work mostly in what is known as Infra world in the Netherlands, which comprises objects such as bridges, locks, and water management. We would like to see more focus on such types of projects. It would be nice if it has more specializations. At the moment, it is very generic, and you have to create everything yourself. 

Our focus is more on user requirement management, which is currently very basic. I would like to see a lot more functionality in this area. Its basic functions for adding user requirements are perfect, but we need more features. Currently, it has limited possibilities for our requirements. I would also like to see better contract management and have it managed in a certain way. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. I've had no problems or issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm using a database-based client of Enterprise Architect, and it is very scalable. 

We are testing it at the moment. I am working with four or five people in that area. After we have enough confidence in the product and we have a new project, we would most likely roll it out to a hundred plus people. There are two projects that are currently using Enterprise Architect within the company. One of them already has more than 100 users. The company I work for has 30,000 employees. It will be used by quite a lot of people.

How are customer service and technical support?

In the Netherlands, the support for this solution is very limited. You have to rely on some consultants, but at the moment, the knowledge of these consultants is also quite limited. They quote a quite high price for their knowledge, but the impression that we get is that they're learning on the job. They call themselves specialists, but they're not really specialists. When I look at other countries, particularly the United States, the consultants are a lot more knowledgeable, and they know more about the product. We don't have that in the Netherlands.

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

I have tried different packages. VCL is a very well-known package, which can also generate code to a certain extent and create documents, but it is limited. I have used a number of open-source tools, such as Star UML. There are a lot of different packages that are good in a certain area, but you can't combine things very easily. They require a lot of work and a lot of people to collect the information by using Excel tables or databases.

What other advice do I have?

We are also looking at another tool that is very much focused on CCML, which makes it limited. It is certainly not as flexible as Enterprise Architect. We also have to look at the knowledge of the engineers working on the project, and most of them are not software engineers. They have a background in civil engineering. Enterprise Architect is certainly a product with potential, and we would like to introduce it, but it is very difficult to implement it in our project. Most likely, a few users will use Enterprise Architect. The remaining users would continue to use Word or Office products to create their documents, and a few will add the required information to the model.

Overall, I would rate Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect an eight out of ten. If I was rating it specifically for our business, I would rate it a five out of ten. It is very difficult to use it in our company. It is a good product, but it is difficult to implement in a non-software company.

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