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A new EA Repository

One of my goals since starting this job two years ago has always been to create a repository for architecture documents.  The idea is to have a central store where people can find information about the University's applications, data sources, business processes, and other architectural information.  This store will make it easier for us to explain our plans, to show the current state of the University's information systems, and to explain what Enterprise Architecture is all about.

It's taken a long time to reach this goal, mainly because we're often had more pressing and immediate work to be done.  The creation of a repository is one of those tasks that is very important but never quite urgent.  So I'm now very happy to say that we are in the process of deploying a repository and modelling tool.

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This is the culmination of a careful process to select the most appropriate tool for our needs.  We began by organising several workshops to gather requirements from a range of people who will use the repository.  These people included developers in Information Services and in schools, business analysts, project managers, and of course our core EA team.  Then we looked at the market and assessed a range of offerings against our requirements to produce a shortlist.  Next, we evaluated the systems on the shortlist in more detail, installing trial versions and trying some simple modelling tasks. 

Finally, we made a choice, and our choice was Avolution Abacus.  This tool lets us model systems in a choice of languages (including Archimate and BPMN, which are the ones we're most interested in right now). The Avolution Publisher component will let us share documents with anyone in the University.  We can import data tools such as Visio and Excel, which will simplify the task of collaborating with project teams and business analysts. 

We're deploying the system this week, linking it to our existing authentication, SVN and web hosting services.  We will soon be meeting the project managers on the University's Service Excellence programme to discuss how to use the new repository to store their business process models.  And we will be developing some exemplar architecture models that will, we hope, guide others in the creation of consistent models.  This will take a month or so, after which the new repository should be ready for wider use. 

I'm really excited by this development and I hope that other people will shortly see the benefits that a repository of architecture and process models can bring.



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