We’ve been kinda quiet on this blog since the summer, not because we all took the autumn off, but because we’ve been working feverishly behind the scenes reviewing the Essential roadmap and preparing a major new release which we are planning to make available early in 2012.
We will be releasing Essential Architecture Manager v3, which includes new versions of the meta model, the software platform and the viewer as well as updated training modules – I did say we’d been busy!
The roadmap below gives you a taster of what is in v3 and what we are planning beyond this (click on the roadmap to view a larger image):-
There’s a lot of new and, we think, exciting stuff in here. We will include full details when we release it, but to whet your appetite ………….
The Strategy Management area has been completely overhauled to provide support for defining and managing Architecture States (current and future – by layer or strategic project as required) and for defining and managing architectural roadmaps, with milestones and timelines, to demonstrate how the organisation will move from one architectural state to another with supporting Strategic Plans. In addition the Change Management area has been updated to allow change programmes, projects and activities to be defined which detail the strategic plans that will deliver the roadmap transitions.
An example Roadmap view:-
Information quality and security are key to any organisation and, due to much demand, we have enhanced both areas. Data Standards Management now provides the ability to manage Data Quality across the organisation, whilst Security Management allows an organisation to define its Security Architecture and its relationship to the resources in the organisation. In addition to the usual application of these areas, we have been able to resolve other issues for organisations, such as providing the required regulatory views for movement of data across country borders, with a long term solution that is quick and easy to implement by simply adding to the information artefacts already captured.
Some example Data Management and Security views:-
There are also a number of other smaller additions to the meta model which provide benefit across the repository as a whole, for example, Data Governance (a peer of Data Standards Management in Data Management); Taxonomy (enabling user-defined classifications to be applied to any element); Geography (for including geographical location information with elements such as Site) and Synonym (for any element in the model).
We are always looking at how we can provide more benefit and we have developed a new and innovative solution to help organisations get information into the repository as quickly and efficiently as possible, in support of our view that capturing the data is the means to the end (views/reports/analysis of the information) rather than the end itself. We have developed a Spreadsheet Export and Import facility which allows the user to define a spreadsheet from within Essential, incorporating a series of worksheets and including data from the existing repository if required. This is then exported to excel and allows almost anyone within the organisation to capture the required information by simply filling in the spreadsheet; no modelling knowledge is required for this task. The information in the spreadsheet is then imported directly into Essential, populating the repository and creating the required links and relationships between the captured artefacts. This is not only quick, it also allows the data capture to be completed by more and cheaper resources; the person with the EA knowledge is then freed up to concentrate on the important tasks.
We’ve be using this in beta for a few months,and it is proving hugely effective at capturing large amounts of quality data quickly.
All the existing training modules have been updated to take account of v3 and new modules have been created for the new areas, all of which are now readily available.
Finally, you have probably noticed from the screenshots that we also have a brand new Essential Viewer. We’ve taken the time to think about what users, especially business users, really want from the reports and have created a look and feel that’s clean, friendly and focused. It also features active filters to show or hide elements on a page which we think are a great way to simplify the content on a page without building a whole new view. There are also some less obvious but powerful features such as dynamic linking. We’ve always been proud of the ability to navigate the architecture – moving up, down and across to discover more about your organisation – but previously each link only ever went to one place. In future, any link on a page can be configured to access any number of relevant views. For example, clicking on a Data Subject can take you to a Data Subject Summary, a Data Subject to Role matrix, a Data Subject to Application Matrix, etc. There’s nothing to learn, no training required, you click on a link and click where you want to go. It’s powerful and effortless. For those who develop their own views, you can easily take advantage of this with just a few extra lines in your code. We’ve also developed a whole new CSS framework for Essential Viewer that helps you build great looking views for you organisation quickly. Finally, we know how important it is for these tools to feel like part of your own organisation and we have provided the ability to re-brand the viewer. You can add your own logos, colour schemes, fonts and portal name. This kind of branding used to take a lot of effort but now can be achieved extremely quickly. And of course, you can use the new viewer on your iPad or iPhone…
As always, these changes are driven by our clients and community, as are the next Essential developments. We are always keen to hear your views and suggestions, please feel free to comment.