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 Many organizations build and maintain their System Architecture models and data simply by using Microsoft Office - particularly Visio, Access and Excel. We did just this for many years.

However, this is an approach that requires some discipline and expertise in using the Office products. Accordingly, we have formalized our methods and built a comprehensive facility the we call the Systems
Architecture Toolkit. This includes a front-end application, a complete set of Visio and Excel templates and a full repository for all our definitions and architectural artifacts that fully support our Systems Architecture Method. Other methodologies can readily be accommodated. The Toolkit covers each facet of the enterprise architecture - organization, business process, data model, project and programs, infrastructure, technology - and so on - and is immediately ready to support development your Solutions. A unique facility makes all of your models, diagrams and definitions available to everyone in your organisation who has a "need to know".

The Systems Architecture Toolkit is a highly portable and scaleable tool. In its basic standalone form, it is ideal for architects and analysts working alone or in a very small group. As projects grow and need to share objects, we usually migrate the repository to a shared SQL Server database. This would be support a 5 - 10 analyst team working on linked projects. For larger projects or programmes involving more than 10 analysts we would move to a cloud based solution offering support to geographically dispersed teams or separate teams working on different projects but needing to reference a common architectural foundation to coordinate definitions and object usage. In all these possible modes, the templates we have been using continue unaltered and the meta-model remains fully customizable. Thus our methodological imperatives of flexibility and focus on the problem-domain remain completely supported.

Of course, there are a number of other commercial tools available on the market and we can use these too. Beware however of tools that impose a predefined EA model upon you. This might be suitable for your problem but very often it is not. You need a tool that allows you to define and manage your own EA model. Further we have encountered problems with tools that are too "fine-grained" to manage the breadth and complexity of inter-relationships that are the essence of corporate enterprise architectures. Tools originally developed for software development typically do not scale well to business-focused architecture use. Click here for full details of the Toolkit. Please contact us for details of availability and pricing.

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Systems Architecture Method

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Systems Architecture Toolkit