Business Architecture Tool Evaluation:
For conducting a business architecture tool evaluation first determine what features and functionality are important.
How do you evaluate a business architecture tool? You are a business architect and have developed beautiful pictures of the enterprise with boxes and arrows using office productivity and drawing software. Now what? How do you manage, extend and evolve the business capability maps, value stream flows, heat maps and other artifacts? You will need a business architecture and capability modeling tool to help you in this endeavor. Assuming you are in the market for a robust business architecture and capability modeling tool, what are the key criteria to evaluate the players in the marketplace?
The following are a list of criteria which a business architect (or an enterprise architect) can use to conduct a capability mapping and business architecture tool evaluation and make an informed decision.
Business Architecture Tool Evaluation – Key Things to Consider:
- The Breadth of Features and Depth of Functionality: Does the business architecture tool vendor offer the functions that are relevant and important to your business architecture efforts? Features to consider are an ability to create and manage capability maps, draft value stream flows, set up and analyze process flows, generate key functional requirements to evolve capabilities, render heat maps, capture rich semantics and compose projects/initiatives using underlying capabilities.
- Focus: Is the vendor focused on business architecture and capability modeling as a core feature and the anchor of its software? Or is business architecture and capability mapping features just a check box?
- Ease of Use: How easy is the business architecture tool and capability modeling software? In particular, if your wish is to bring along business users to not only consume but participate, contribute and use the tool, the threshold of complexity needs to be very low.
- Modeling Capabilities: What type of modeling capabilities does the business architecture tool offer?
- Collaboration: How easy is it for the business architects, enterprise architects, business analysts and product managers to collaborate on creating, managing, extending and evolving the business architecture and capability modeling artifacts?
- Presentation: How well and how easy does the business architecture tool allow you to generate nested capability maps, marked up value streams and processes, heat maps, footprint analysis and other visually appealing artifacts
- Configuration: What configuration options are available to tweak the business architecture and capability modeling software to your enterprise needs?
- Technical Stack: What type of technology stack are the business architecture and capability modeling tool built on? Does it use open standards as well as open source components?
- Implementation: How easy it is to implement and roll out the software? If a business architecture and capability modeling tool take more than a week to implement, it is perhaps a utility for IT users, not necessarily business users.
- Openness: How open is the business architecture tool vendor regarding intake and export of data? Does the software vendor offer APIs? OR import/export functionality in standard formats like CSV, Tab Delimited or XML?
- Customer Service: How well does the business architecture tool vendor support the software? What type of training programs and online help are available? What is the client service philosophy of the supplier?
- Interoperability: How well does the business architecture tool vendor play well with other tools in the adjacent realms?
Features to consider are an ability to create and manage capability maps, draft value stream flows, set up and analyze process flows, generate key functional requirements to evolve capabilities, render heat maps, capture rich semantics and compose projects/initiatives using underlying capabilities.
- Deployment Options: Does the vendor offer a cloud-based offering as well as an opportunity to deploy the software inside a firewall?
- Product Roadmap: Does the roadmap of the business architecture and capability modeling tool vendor conform to your future needs? Is their product vision compatible with your evolution?
- Pricing: What is the pricing model for the business architecture and capability modeling tool? In addition to the total cost of ownership, what is the lock-in period and also the friction/cost of moving to another platform?
- Financial Viability: What are the financial strength and business viability of the vendor? What steps are the business architecture tool vendors willing to take to mitigate the risk? For example, some vendors will place the source code in escrow to ensure that in case of their challenges to the vendor’s core business, the enterprise can have a path to continuing to use the software and make appropriate customizations.
Do you need help with Business Architecture Tool Evaluation for your enterprise needs? If so, please contact Capstera consulting team.
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Note: This article is a part of a series of insights published by Capstera.com, a capability-based enterprise transformation framework, and software. Capstera.com helps enterprises better define their business to link execution to strategy and help build optimal IT solutions. Capstera leverages capabilities as the capstone of business definition and combines best elements of business architecture, capabilities mapping, process analysis, and requirements management. This enables companies to establish a common language and foster alignment across business/IT, it helps reduce redundancy and rework, and it helps aligns execution with strategy.