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Build vs. Buy for EA Tools

Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

As Enterprise Architects, we know the tradeoffs involved with introducing new applications. Investing in a new application is not made lightly. As stewards of the organization's IT landscape, we may shy away from adding another application to our already complicated environment for our own team. However, this may be a short-sighted view regarding Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) tools. EAM tools can significantly increase the ability of the EA Team to leverage technology, make decisions, and manage change effectively.

I have outlined two approaches to introducing EAM tools in Building vs. Buying an EA tool, 4 Common Pitfalls to Avoid, where I chronicle my experience building and managing an EA tool. Over the years, my perspective has changed, and I now believe that buying an EAM tool early while developing an EA practice can add significant value.

Based on the pitfalls I encountered building my own EAM tool, I identified these critical features:

  • A crowdsourcing model to allow for information gathering from outside the EA team.
  • An easy-to-navigate portal with configurable dashboards. This portal will increase the tool's adoption and usage of the information it contains.
  • An easy-to-learn user interface with built-in data-quality measurements.
  • Data-driven visualizations that are automatically created.
  • The ability to store multi-level, complex relationships between all data objects.

I believe this approach ­– introducing a modern EA tool early in developing an enterprise architecture function – can have a significant, positive effect on the value the team delivers in the short and long term.


Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
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Chandra - thanks for posting this discussion topic. I would be interested in the community's experience in when they do adopt an EA tool and their experience on how it helped the EA discussions. What are thoughts around this from others?

Senior Enterprise Architect
SAP Canada