If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering Avolution ABACUS, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
Working with enterprise architecture, I set up the practice and evaluate the client's practices to see where they can leverage more consistent procedures and help with their program development. Most of my experience in IT solutions is on the documentation of solutions through EA tools as opposed to getting into the details of the actual solutions and the internal workings of them. From a recent email, Avolution has released a change being made in the latest version and they are explaining what changes need to be done. People who are on servers hosted by Avolution, need to log off by a certain time. You can host a solution either within your enterprise or they can host it for you. A tool is only as useful as the people using it, so you want to have the training program associated with anything to get people aware of what models to use or what type of templates, viewpoints, or standards that need to be associated and then they can work with that. What you don't want is to have them going in and start changing things, as that would have catastrophic impacts. Understand how you want to analyze your enterprise information and how you want to leverage that to make better decisions, and that will tell you what features of any tool you need to be considered as fundamental. For example, if you are going to allow people to put information into a tool with no standardized approach, no rigorous rules, and no procedure on how to do things, then any tool will do because you are not going to get anything out of it. It's going to be garbage in and nothing out. Many organizations will go and buy a tool thinking that it will solve their problem but the tools won't solve the problem unless they understand how they want to leverage it to make better decisions. You have to keep with it because this solution has so many options and features. I keep learning and I just have to review the tutorials if I have forgotten how to do something. It's not a one-person tool, it's multifaceted. It's role-based and just trying to go through and trying to do everything is a bit overwhelming. One person can manage it but that also gives you the wrong impression too. You must understand how you want people or organizations to see how to leverage the tool and then assign building the catalogs of a process reference model or a technical reference model. You need to assign that to people to do, you are not going to do it all yourself. In populating information about the projects, you have to delegate that to the project management office to make sure that they give you the information that you need. At this time, I have a client who's the federal government here and project managers don't like to be questioned or have to put more into a tool. it's a very powerful tool. It does what an enterprise architect needs it to do and it supports the business in knowing more about the business so that they can do better. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
I am not an implementer or a service provider, I offer consultation and provide solutions in enterprise markets. Part of my job is to recommend and select the tools that are suitable for my clients and stay within their budget. There are times where the open-source tool is the most suitable, whereas at other times I can offer a more complex solution. I would recommend this solution because it has some powerful aspects, but it won't fit everyone's budget. I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
My advice to anybody who is researching this solution is to consider both the technical support and stability, as well as the technical aspects of the product. Based on my experience, this is not a product that I recommend at the moment. When the vender launches a new version they should guarantee the core things are really working so that they do not have problems like this. They need to focus on what is critical and important in order to last in the market. The integration with other tools should be more open and clear, as it seems to be quite closed and proprietary. The market does not like this kind of thing. If the customers are not trusting enough then they are not going to buy the product. This is a very powerful product and it is very customizable, and the concept of the product is good, but they need to improve a lot, including the user interface. We also had some crashes when we were using this solution. This product may be easy for the IT team to use, but it is not designed for them. It is designed for business users. This is why the user interface has to be more user-friendly than it is. In terms of it being a powerful tool, I would rate it a ten out of ten. However, the user interface is very poor, which I would rate a one or two out of ten. Overall, I would rate this solution a five out of ten.
I would definitely recommend it but it depends on the use case. If you want a data model of flexibility and catalog scalability I would recommend it from that perspective. For an architecture practice, there's more detailed architecture than enterprise architecture so for that, I wouldn't recommend Abacus. It's just for different use cases that Abacus is good to have. I would rate it an eight out of ten.