The ubiquity and ease of use of Microsoft Office means it is widely used to produce documentation to support IT architecture and delivery projects. However, from a governance perspective this is often far from ideal as there is little to manage the consistency, integrity or sharing of deliverables and metadata documented in this way. This report looks at a solution to this problem from Orbus Software whose iServer product provides a multi-user repository supporting Microsoft Office, focused on the use of Microsoft Visio as a modeling client, and with specific support for both the Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Business Process Analysis (BPA) markets. In particular, the report looks at their TOGAF 9 solution, and how the configuration and meta model customization features might be used to support the CBDI-SAE SOA Framework.

Introduction

Given the number of specialist modeling tools there are on the market, it is surprising how many enterprises use Microsoft Office as their prime vehicle for capturing various items of metadata and producing the documentation and diagrams required to support their IT architecture and delivery projects. Requirements and specification deliverables are routinely documented using Microsoft Word, while metadata is captured as columns and rows in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and diagrams are constructed using Microsoft Visio.

Partly this is down to the ubiquity of Microsoft Office in a corporate environment and the familiarity that users have with it. Hence documentation can be produced with no additional cost and with little learning curve.

However, the end result is not ideal, particularly from an enterprise or cross-project perspective. The structure of a document may be shared as a template – for example, CBDI Forum itself provides several Microsoft Office-based templates for SOA deliverables. However the individual items of metadata are not easily accessed outside of the document. Consequently:

  • sharing is typically at a coarse-grained level, placing whole documents in a shared folder using something like Microsoft SharePoint, or perhaps a wiki
  • governance suffers as it is more difficult to validate the contents of documentation produced in this way, or ensure that policies are applied
  • consistency of individual items of metadata shared or referenced across documents is hard to enforce.

Whilst Microsoft Visio at least enables users to produce models that conform to industry standards such as UML, the same challenges remain.

Orbus Software

Orbus Software recognized the opportunity to overcome these challenges by providing a more robust modeling environment while still leveraging the low cost and ubiquity of Microsoft Office. Though a relatively small company with offices in London and New York, they have acquired a respectable user base with some well known customers including the United Nations and the UK Meteorological Office1. Having initially provided solutions based on Visio's own set of diagrams – such as UML – they now provide their own solutions to support the Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Business Process Analysis (BPA) markets,

Continued in PDF...

Document Download: Orbus Software iServer 2009 (pdf)

Description:

The ubiquity and ease of use of Microsoft Office means it is widely used to produce documentation to support IT architecture and delivery projects. However, from a governance perspective this is often far from ideal as there is little to manage the consistency, integrity or sharing of deliverables and metadata documented in this way.

Type: pdf

File Size: 748KB

Published: 12 Apr 2012 15:08

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