The Enterprise Architecture Toolkit

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Over the past month there has been a flurry of interest in what is referred to as the Enterprise Architecture Toolkit (EATK). The last mention of the EATK was in my post recapping the Japan Strategic Architecture Forum I mentioned the launch of the EATK.

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What is the EATK

So what exactly is the EATK? Well simply put it is a set of tools that will aid Enterprise, Solution and Domain Architects with their architecture efforts in a pragmatic way. The EATK does so by providing a set of base tools built in existing products that they may already have or use for the same purpose. The value of how the EATK rationalizes these solutions is by extending common interfaces used in enterprises such as Microsoft Word and Visio.

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Below is a summary of what the EATK is:

  • Solution Accelerator for Enterprise Architecture
  • Series of Add-Ins to Existing Products
  • Set of Smart Architecture Templates
    • System Architecture Document
    • Architecture Decisions
    • Architecture Review Board
    • Architecture Viability Assessment
  • Architecture Portal which includes:
    • Hosted Process and Collaboration Workflow
    • Knowledge Management System
    • Asset Management System
  • Based on Industry Standards
    • Supports IEEE 1471
    • Supports TOGAF ADM
  • Provides a Bill of Materials
    • Source Code
    • Whitepapers
    • Rich Media

 

Why the EATK

You maybe wondering, "why build on top of existing tools such as Word?". Well the answer is simple, from our research most architects are using these tools. The issue is that they are not used in the context of describing architectures but rather simple word processors.

There is an opportunity to still leverage many of the great features of these tools with out the baggage of a word processor. It’s a matter of changing the context of the usage of the tools from a word processor to a User Interface for describing architectures.

The goals of the EATK are to:

  • Introduce New  and Creative Capabilities to Architecture
  •  Simplify and Consolidate Solutions for Architecture Design
  •  Leverage the Tools You Have
  •  Simplify the process
  • Introduce Collaboration into the Architecting Process
  •  Surface Information in the Scope and Context of the Architect

 

Scenarios EATK is Based on:

The EATK was built not as a fully featured product but rather concentrated on a series of common architecture scenarios. The reason for this was because I wanted to go deep on these aspects rather than go broad and shallow.

Ten common scenarios where defined by talking with customers around the world, informal surveys and what I have observed through forums, blogs and analyst reports. 

  1. Describing an Architecture with Current Tools
  2. Building a Collaborative Solution Architecture Design
  3. Extend Architecture Meta-Data into the Visio Modeling Environment
  4. Deriving to an Architecture with a series of Architecture Decisions
  5. Architecture Management
    1. Understanding Architecture Policy
    2. Managing an Architecture Life Cycle
  6. Navigate and Explore Approved IT Patterns
  7. Navigate and Explore Existing IT Architectures
  8. Obtaining the information for IT Strategy Management
  9. Determining the Total Cost of Ownership of an Architecture
  10. Manage and publishing of Principles, Policies and Standards

Key Technologies Used

  • Microsoft SharePoint 2007 – Architecture Portal
    • Hosted Windows Workflow Foundation
    • Web Parts
    • Enterprise Content Management
  • Microsoft Office 2007 – Templates and Add-Ins
    • Word
    • PowerPoint
    • Visio
  • Web Services – Architecture Message Bus
  • SQL Server – Architecture Meta-Data Repository

Complements Existing Products

One of the most common questions I get is if the EATK conflicts or competes against existing development tools at Microsoft. The short answer is no. It actually complements the capabilities of the following areas:

  • Development
    • Visual Studio
  • Project Portfolio Management 
    • Project Server
  • Application Portfolio Management
    • Portfolio Server
  • Service Management
    • Systems Center
  • Methodologies
    • Microsoft Operations Framework
    • Microsoft Solutions Framework

Over the course of several months there will iterative enhancements done to the EATK that will introduce new materials, templates and integration points.

Tags: Enterprise Architecture

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