It is impossible to hide that working on Enterprise Architect is sometimes quite a challenge. Especially the publication of diagrams is a big problem. Not without a reason, I also published a special course, which tells how to report with Enterprise Architect. I think that this situation is changing for the better. Already over a year ago, Sparx Systems released a solution that allows access to models via the Internet. I’m not talking about the traditional HTML that has been generated by Enterprise Architect for a long time. I am talking here about a solution that allows real-time access to models and their full update. The solution is Enterprise Architect Pro Cloud Server.
Since this solution appeared, I have watched it carefully. The first versions worked well, but not so good that you could write about them or recommend them. Currently available versions are already stable enough that you can think about them more seriously. Considering that Sparx Systems also offers Prolaborate (I will describe it soon), it seems that we are slowly turning towards a solution available via the Internet.
What gives us Enterprise Architect Pro Cloud Server? First of all, it is an excellent tool that allows access to models in Enterprise Architect in real time. Every change is currently available through a web browser, tablet and mobile.
Let me start with the fact that Enterprise Architect Pro Cloud Server is not a solution that, as the name suggests, is 100% available in the cloud. While Sparx Systems offers access to cloud solutions based on Microsoft cloud (I do not recommend it because it works quite slowly), usually Enterprise Architect Cloud Server is installed on a regular server. It means that your data and models are in the company’s infrastructure. What’s more, this solution also occurs in the Pro Cloud Server Express version. The Enterprise Architect Pro version of Cloud Server Express is a version that is available free of charge to those companies that have more than 5 floating licenses. Enterprise Architect Pro Cloud Server Express has several limitations related primarily to integration.
In addition, regardless of the access channel (web browser, tablet and cell), you can change the content of artifacts. Add basic ones such as tasks, requirements, issues, changes, use cases and actors. These basic artifacts are not enough for an analyst or designer, but for a business representative, a person who has to review the model to express their opinion or add requirements seem to be enough.
In my opinion, the greatest strength of Enterprise Architect Pro Cloud Server is to facilitate communication. In the post Reviews of Models in Enterprise Architect, I presented the review option. Using this mechanism allows you to opt out of preparing and generating a report. We also avoid the laborious process of updating the documentation based on the Word documentation. The documentation review in Enterprise Architect is a feature that is not very often used and which allows you to discuss and carry out the model review process directly on the models.
The Review element is a simple mechanism enabling real-time discussions that can relate to a specific event on one or several elements or diagrams. Typically, a project manager, team manager, or other person in the project creates a review element to discuss one or more objects at a given stage of the project.
In addition to the fact that Enterprise Architect Pro Cloud Server allows you to review models using a structure known from Enterprise Architect, it offers a good search engine.
The last, in my opinion, very useful function is linking to models. Now in any tool you can make a link to the current diagram or item.
Enterprise Architect Pro Cloud Server is not only model reviews and publications, but also the possibility of integration with such tools as:
- Enterprise Architect (external models)
- Share Point
- Service Now
- Team Foundation Server
Are the functions described above sufficient? I think that this is a good start for those companies in which stakeholders are eager to use web solutions of big companies that run many projects. Access to models and performing a review directly on models undoubtedly helps analysts and designers, because the whole discussion are one place.
In practice, many companies will also find it difficult to find a budget for such software. On the other hand, support for the automation of the software production process, integration with other tools, improvement of communication in the project are elements that can contribute to a more efficient delivery of solutions that, by supporting the business, earn on themselves more than you think.