W H I T E P A P... W h y A r c h i...

Why Architecture Matters: PowerDesigner Enhances Its
Support for Enterprise Architecture
Sponsored by: Sybase
Stephen D. Hendrick
Kathleen E. Hendrick
May 2010
Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA 01701 USA
Enterprise architecture (EA) is gaining increased attention due to the expanding
role of IT and the importance of aligning IT activities with business needs and
communicating this alignment to all stakeholders. Effective EA tools both
comprehensively define the alignment of business architecture and IT architecture
and ensure that changes to these architectures are addressed completely and
The value of any architectural tool is its ability to define and abstract the relationship
between objects. IT architecture tools are well known for this ability to provide a
detailed view of how IT systems function. Enterprise architecture tools are similarly
well known for their ability to identify the structure and strategy of the enterprise and
address planning in support for moving the company from its current state to a future
state. The primary value of a converged approach to architectural tools is the ability to
establish a complete and unified blueprint of both the business and IT pursuits of the
enterprise. Once this blueprint is established, the ability of these tools to evaluate
intersections enables the enterprise to clearly understand how the business and IT
are aligned. There is tremendous value in understanding where these intersections
are complete, incomplete, or inconsistent.
PowerDesigner is well known for its comprehensive treatment of all three disciplines
within IT architecture — data modeling, object modeling, and business process
modeling (BPM) — in one tool. This approach has helped PowerDesigner become a
leading IT architecture tool. PowerDesigner also now has expanded enterprise
architecture functionality along with two key relationships in the enterprise
architecture market: an implementation of the Zachman Framework from
Zachman International and a partnership with Troux Technologies, one of the leading
vendors in enterprise architecture. These new features have enabled PowerDesigner
to also become a leader in the overall architectural tools market.
This white paper examines the evolutionary changes that are occurring in the overall
architectural tools market, including the increasing emphasis on enterprise
architecture tools and the importance of a converged approach to architectural tools
where support is provided for both business architecture and IT architecture. The
convergence of business architecture and IT architecture in one tool provides a more
comprehensive, unified, and valuable approach for aligning IT with the structure and
strategy of the business. PowerDesigner is one of the first tools to address this
converged view of business and IT. A review of key PowerDesigner features is
provided along with a detailed discussion of PowerDesigner support for EA and what
this means for the overall architectural tools market. In addition, a case study is
included that explains how Educational Testing Service is gaining leverage from the
use of PowerDesigner.
The Rationale for Architectural Tools
The increasing reliance on IT by enterprises has resulted in a tremendous emphasis
on the alignment of the business and IT. Volumes have been written on this topic
(over 38 million articles at last count), and billions have been spent on hardware,
software, and services in pursuit of this goal. This is where it is important to bring
back the distinction between architecture and architectural tools. Architectural tools
provide the blueprint from which an architecture is implemented. This would appear to
ensure that architectural tools are held in high esteem. However, the utility provided
by architectural tools is directly related to their functional breadth and depth.
Architectural Tool Breadth
Figure 1 provides a taxonomy of the architectural tools market and enables us to
better understand the scope of architectural tool breadth. This taxonomy first
segments the architectural tools market into IT architecture and business architecture
tools. This bifurcation is then further segmented by discrete focus areas, which
currently include data modeling, object modeling, process modeling, and enterprise
©2010 IDC
A Taxonomy of the Architectural Tools Market
Tier 1
Tier 2
Tier 3
Source: IDC, 2010
Today, most architectural tools would be classified as some type of tier 3 tool and
provide support for one of the tier 3 domains. Data modeling, object modeling, and
business process modeling are all important architectural domains within IT, and it is
rare to find a tier 2 IT architecture tool that supports all three of these domains.
Business architecture tools currently have a unity relationship with EA tools, but Figure
1 was purposely created this way to support the likely expansion of business
architecture tools into domains such as policy, management, and planning. Current EA
tools have a distinct business focus and, while capable of bridging to the IT domain,
generally stop well short of understanding the specifics of the IT domain. Consequently,
the only way to obtain a comprehensive architectural understanding of the enterprise is
to seek a tier 1 architectural tool or invest in multiple tier 2 or tier 3 tools.
The complexity of aligning multiple architectural tools tends to favor the use of a tier 1
architectural tool. The irony is that the challenge facing most vendors in the
architectural tools market is the same challenge that enterprises face in aligning the
business with IT — how to achieve a complete, comprehensive, and consistent view
for the enterprise.
©2010 IDC
Architectural Tool Depth
In addition to functional breadth, architectural tools must support comprehensive
abstraction capabilities. Abstraction can be thought of as a continuum that can be
parsed into multiple abstraction layers and models. This continuum is bounded at the
top by conceptual models and at the bottom by physical models. There is also value
in establishing logical models that support the transition from conceptual models to
physical models. The notion of multiple abstraction layers is critical to addressing
architectural issues.
Conceptual models enable identification of key strategies, policies, information,
processes, and people intrinsic to the enterprise.
Logical models take into account key decisions regarding technology and
organization directions, providing added detail and/or constraints.
Physical models are closely aligned with key enterprise assets. The ability to
provide detailed models that show how all key assets relate to and support
enterprise strategies, policies, information, processes, and people is what
enables the enterprise to have a complete, consistent, and comprehensive
understanding of itself.
Signs of Architectural Tool Convergence
IDC has followed the IT architectural tools market for many years. While the business
architectural tools market is less mature, it is largely a different and distinct market
with little historical overlap into the IT architectural tools market. However, there are
signs of architectural tool convergence.
The leading IT architectural tools vendors are expanding their products to support EA
capabilities. This is the path that Sybase has embraced with PowerDesigner. Sybase
also made two announcements in 2009 that extend its capabilities in the EA domain:
In May 2009 Sybase announced a working relationship with Zachman
International to incorporate the Zachman Framework into future releases of
PowerDesigner. CEO John Zachman is well known for his work in information
system architecture and EA.
In October 2009 Sybase and Troux Technologies announced a working
relationship to bring together Sybase's PowerDesigner model-driven
development tool and Troux's EA solution for IT planning. This relationship is
very interesting given the underlying architecture of the PowerDesigner product
and the strength of the Troux product in IT planning.
©2010 IDC
Company Overview
Sybase has been a vendor in the software industry for 25 years and a leading
software vendor for much of that time. During that time the products that Sybase
provides have grown to encompass data management, application development,
analytics, modeling, and mobile data services. Through these products and services,
Sybase is able to offer organizations the ability to develop and configure systems that
collect, store, integrate, and manage data across an enterprise. Products in its Mobile
Messaging, Mobile Commerce, and Mobile Enterprise product families enable
corporate data to be used by a growing audience of users on any number of devices.
Employing nearly 4,000 employees worldwide, Sybase is a global company whose
products and services are used around the world in a myriad of industries. For many
of these industries, Sybase provides vertical solutions as well as solutions designed
to meet specific organizational needs in areas such as business continuity, data
warehousing, and business intelligence and analytics.
Despite a weak economy, Sybase has grown revenue, operating income, and net
income in every one of the past four years. Although revenue in 2009 grew only 3.4%,
operating income grew 37.6%, reflecting significant expense control. The ability to
maintain growth in challenging economic times attests to the strength of the Sybase
products and services.
The first commercial release of what is today PowerDesigner took place in 1989. The
current release some 20+ years later is PowerDesigner 15.2. PowerDesigner is also
one of the few architectural tools that provide complete support for all aspects of IT
architecture and business architecture. This is unusual in the architectural tools
market because of the challenging scope and has clearly helped PowerDesigner
become a leading architectural tool.
PowerDesigner architecture is based on a meta metamodel. In this meta metamodel,
the relationship between objects is also an object. Consequently, relationships can
define any kind of dependency. So extending the meta metamodel (adding
metaclasses) is as simple as adding additional object types. This allows
PowerDesigner to adapt very quickly and easily to any visualization or metaclass that
is needed. This gives all the metamodels in the product a level of intimacy that is
unparalleled, enables fully integrated metadata management, and also accounts for
the flexibility and power of PowerDesigner's Link and Sync technology.
PowerDesigner includes an enterprise repository and features open support for major
development platforms and process execution languages. Additionally,
PowerDesigner has expanded its support for EA. The following sections provide an
overview of key PowerDesigner features.
©2010 IDC
Enterprise Architecture
With the most recent release of PowerDesigner, Sybase has matured and enhanced
its support for EA. A new enterprise architecture model (EAM) supports seven types
of EA diagramming. This diagramming is focused primarily on exposing the business
architecture. This represents a strong initial effort at bringing clarity to the business
structure, resources, and processes of the enterprise. Also included are several
higher-level IT architecture diagrams designed to help set the stage for the alignment
of business and IT.
Complementing this EA model are new capabilities for project and framework
support. This allows users to create project templates and manage framework
matrices that help direct, standardize, and ensure the complete treatment of
architectural activities. The project and framework have important prerequisites to
building out extensible support for EA and are closely related to the announcements
that Sybase made in 2009 regarding Zachman and Troux.
In May 2009 Sybase and Zachman International entered into a working relationship
that enabled the Zachman Framework to be available within Sybase PowerDesigner.
Zachman International is a leader in EA certification. The Zachman Framework,
initially developed in 1987, is a schema with columns that identify basic
communication functions of what, how, when, who, where, and why. The rows are
represented by reification categories represented by Identification, Definition,
Representation, Specification, Configuration, and Instantiation. This structure can be
made domain specific and is used to determine the composite implementation of an
enterprise ontology that integrates all the tiers and EA components with an overall
EA. The Zachman Framework provides the structure, and PowerDesigner provides
the tools to analyze, model, and execute the implementation process.
Sybase and Troux Technologies joined forces in October 2009, further strengthening
the use of PowerDesigner in designing and implementing enterprise architecture
strategies. An enterprise architecture exists to enable an organization to operate
efficiently in pursuit of its goals — namely profitability. Given the ever-changing nature
of the business environment, an enterprise architecture is never static; rather, it
continually responds and adapts to changing environments and customer needs and
desires. Troux's capabilities lie in enabling corporations to analyze their existing IT
environments, as a central EA component, to determine where changes can be made
for more cost-effective operations. Given the tough economic climate corporations are
facing, it is advantageous to have tools that can identify weaknesses in IT programs
and resources. Once users have used Troux to analyze their environments and
determined strategic changes to be made, PowerDesigner delivers a complete set of
modeling and code generation tools to design and implement those changes.
Customers are pleased with the EA functionality that exists and continues to be
expanded by the PowerDesigner team. The case study at the end of this paper
provides a view into the experiences of one customer in using PowerDesigner for
Enterprise Architecture.
©2010 IDC
Business Process Modeling
PowerDesigner's business process modeling capabilities have been improved
recently. Additions in the most recent major release include a variety of diagrams that
are key to building out a stronger capability to render and analyze business
processes. Included in this release are enhanced business process diagramming with
the ability to transform and link with process execution models that allow for extension
into other BPA techniques (i.e., audit diagrams and event-driven process chain
diagrams). PowerDesigner's enhanced capabilities allow for the definition of crossfunctional flowcharts and support key deliverables defined in the ITIL. There is also a
capability to import Visio diagrams into the BPM and EA models where they can be
enriched with PowerDesigner metadata or used to help extend existing
PowerDesigner models.
Most PowerDesigner customers we talked to were pleased to see these
improvements now that business process modeling is becoming a more important
approach for application development.
Object Modeling
PowerDesigner already supports UML 2.0, so new features in this release are
focused on supporting the Eclipse Modeling Framework as a standard target objectoriented (OO) modeling language. This is an important addition because Eclipse is
the leading IDE framework for Java development.
Data Modeling
PowerDesigner is well known for its comprehensive data modeling capabilities. These
capabilities are largely responsible for helping PowerDesigner become a leading
product in model-driven development (MDD). While data modeling is a mature
segment, Sybase continues to expand its data modeling functionality to better support
enterprise data modeling needs. New in PowerDesigner is a revised conceptual data
model that supports Barker notation and a new logical data model (LDM) that bridges
the gap between the conceptual and physical data modeling already provided. The
advantage of an LDM is that its schema is aligned with the physical data model, but it
remains database independent — making it easier to swap database engines. The
physical data model has also been revised to include support for newer RDBMS
releases from IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase, and Teradata. PowerDesigner also
features an Information Liquidity Model (ILM) that can track the flow of data through
the enterprise. This tool also tracks ETL and data quality issues, so it is useful for
designers, developers, and operations staff.
All of these models are stored within the PowerDesigner repository and based on
security settings that are available to all team members. The repository has features
for version control, configuration management, and search capabilities, as well as
notifications to users of the latest metadata available. Moreover, metadata can be
shared with all stakeholders through the PowerDesigner Web Portal.
©2010 IDC
Horizontal Technology Improvements
Link and Sync
Using Link and Sync technology, PowerDesigner can help users identify the
intersections between architectural layers, components, and perspectives of the
enterprise, allowing users from all groups to clearly visualize and implement fast,
reliable, and predictable change. This feature is a clear differentiator for
PowerDesigner in the market. Link and Sync effectively integrates models and
leverages the dependencies between models to provide a comprehensive
understanding and analysis of the enterprise.
This capability means that IT and business users obtain a holistic view of the enterprise
and that changes made to one model will be synchronized with all other models. This
capability is required for organizations that are employing an EA approach. It affects the
feasibility and usability of the models over time. A common problem with modeling is
that once models are created, they are never updated again to reflect reality. Moreover,
the effort involved to keep varying models in sync manually would prohibit that activity
from taking place. Through Link and Sync, this synchronization is accomplished
automatically, which increases the chances that the models will be kept up to date and
used regularly to determine how best to manage business changes and their effect on
the EA. Organizations must have a capability to efficiently determine the impact of
proposed changes to the EA. Link and Sync ensures that the impact of an actual or
anticipated change to the IT architecture or business architecture is completely
understood. Link and Sync is a key capability for the following reasons:
Link and Sync enables coordination of multitool and cross-domain metadata.
This allows PowerDesigner to provide a more complete view of all architectural
components and their dependencies across the enterprise.
Impact analysis is made far more meaningful through Link and Sync. Intended
changes to objects or relationships can be more completely understood, which
improves agility, time to market, quality, ROI, and governance.
Automated Code Generation
PowerDesigner delivers a range of modeling tools to take a project design from a highly
abstract and conceptualized state to a complex and detailed plan for execution.
Execution, in the form of automated code generation, can also be accomplished by
PowerDesigner. PowerDesigner puts customizable templates in the hands of designers
with support for all leading development environments including SQL, Java, and .NET.
PowerDesigner includes plug-in support for Eclipse, Microsoft Visual Studio, and
PowerBuilder development environments, and requirements integrate with Microsoft
Team System. These capabilities make it possible to increase productivity and provide
users with the tools with which they are familiar to execute their tasks.
Reverse Engineering
Reverse engineering speeds the architectural knowledge capture for software assets
already deployed. Besides being an effective way to accelerate the understanding of
the existing IT environment, reverse engineering is also effective at understanding
any newly acquired software assets.
©2010 IDC
The EA functionality of PowerDesigner has been very effective at driving demand, so
we expect a continued focus on building out this EA functionality.
Sybase made a wise move by deciding to be an early mover in seeking to provide a
unified and converged architectural product. The strategy of bringing more and more
functionality under one roof has always been successful in the software industry. It is
especially valuable in the architecture tools market where there is added leverage in
an extended family of objects and relationships regarding dependencies, consistency,
reconciliation, and impact analysis.
Sybase is better positioned than most vendors to leverage partnerships due to its Link
and Sync technology and meta metamodel. These two technologies enable
PowerDesigner to build meaningful associations to virtually any object with the
architectural tools domain. This is evident in the partnering that PowerDesigner has
established to date (Zachman and Troux) and will greatly simplify and facilitate future
partnerships. This is especially important as the architectural tools market continues
to expand in scope.
The value of a converged architecture tool is the complete and integrated
coverage provided. However, the underlying tool architecture to enable
convergence is a meta metamodel. PowerDesigner is one of the few products on
the market that employ a meta metamodel in its design, thereby making any
integration of EA technology far easier and significantly less costly than what
other vendors would experience. This will give Sybase an early mover advantage
in the converged architectural tools market.
Sybase will need to balance the degree of EA functionality it elects to build into
PowerDesigner with the role its EA partners expect to play. Partnering may
become increasingly complex as EA firms continue to expand into traditional IT
areas and IT architecture tools begin adding EA features. Repository overlap is
one of the first areas where we expect partnering issues to arise.
Other leading vendors in the MDD market would benefit from a stronger
architectural tools story. Acquisition by any of the leading software vendors of EA
technology would not immediately result in truly converged capabilities due to
technology imitations of their product architecture. However, marketing
messages could distort this situation, creating challenges for Sybase.
While there is a consistent look and feel across the PowerDesigner modeling
tools, customers indicate that it is tied to the Windows client and not the browserbased version. To simplify maintenance and product access, the PowerDesigner
team is planning to build upon the Web Portal technology to offer a full Web
client interface in the next major release.
©2010 IDC
PowerDesigner represents an important milestone for Sybase by increasing support
for EA. As discussed in the first half of this paper, architectural tools have tended to
evolve along two discrete paths: business architecture and IT architecture. While
many IT architecture tools can claim some support of business architecture needs,
PowerDesigner is the first IT architectural tool to provide material support and
partnering in EA.
Building EA support into PowerDesigner was a great way to make a good product
even better. PowerDesigner's current EA capabilities will certainly appeal to its
current installed base that has yet to embrace EA. Sybase can also expect to attract
an entirely new set of customers from these capabilities. Partnering with Troux also
helps PowerDesigner provide comprehensive EA capabilities. What is perhaps more
interesting is the access that Sybase now has to the Troux installed base and the
ability of both firms to market to each other's customers — given that the products, at
this point in time, are fundamentally complementary.
Sybase's new relationship with Zachman is also a deft move. Zachman's frameworks
are the gold standard of the industry and will help amplify PowerDesigner messaging
around EA.
IDC interviewed a number of PowerDesigner customers during the development of
this white paper. A consistent thread across these interviews was the added value
provided by PowerDesigner's EA functionality. The following case study describes
one customer's experience with PowerDesigner and its EA capabilities.
Educational Testing Service
Company Overview
Educational Testing Service (ETS), established in 1947, provides testing and
assessment products and services for a wide range of educational sectors. ETS is a
private and nonprofit organization that employs 5,000 professionals worldwide and
has current revenue of approximately $1.2 billion. ETS' goal is to provide fair, valid,
and reliable assessments for the organizations and customers it serves. Through the
development, administration, and scoring of a myriad of tests, ETS seeks to "advance
quality and equity in education by providing fair and valid assessments, research and
related services." As part of achieving its mission, ETS is always seeking innovative
ways to improve and refine measurement. It also invests in the tests it has designed
and rotates and mixes content to ensure quality and validity. This allows the company
to consistently provide fair assessments and maintain high standards in its field.
©2010 IDC
IT Organization
ETS has a centralized IT organization that consists of 700 employees. This
department is responsible for all software and information technology and services for
the entire company. Software is developed to meet many of the corporate
requirements because ETS has found it difficult to purchase off-the-shelf products to
meet its specific needs. IT is responsible for building and operating the corporate
infrastructure including applications, systems, and services but has outsourced
running that infrastructure to CSC. CSC is responsible for infrastructure areas such
as desktops, servers, WANs, and LANs. All of the capabilities of ETS are delivered
through information technology from the development of an assessment through the
creation, field testing, administering, and scoring of that assessment. Once scoring is
completed, reporting requirements and in-depth analysis ensure the integrity of the
assessment. Consequently, the IT organization uses about 15% of the company's
revenue in its support of the company's operations and services.
Architecture and Corporate Challenge
At the time ETS was established in 1947, there was no such thing as IT. Still, ETS
utilized the technology of the period to score exams. In the early years, each
assessment or test had its own computer system despite the fact that they were all
accomplishing the same thing. This ultimately led to a considerable amount of
duplication and redundancy. About 20 years ago came the recognition that the same
systems were being built repetitively, and at that time, ETS began moving toward a
centralized IT process to build a common set of capabilities. This effort was
accelerated in the past five years and has not been without challenges.
The first step was to understand exactly the scope of what it had across the entire
stack from data through business requirements. Additionally, there was a requirement
to be able to perform impact analysis so that it was possible to ascertain the effect of
changes across the range of applications and systems. This is a crucial point given
the importance and nature of the testing and reporting services the company
provides. ETS tried a number of products prior to PowerDesigner; however, it found
these products difficult to integrate, lengthy to install, or too limited in supporting an
enterprise scope.
Needs That PowerDesigner Addressed
When ETS explored prospective products, it was drawn to PowerDesigner because it
provided not only data modeling but also object-oriented and business process
modeling. In addition, it came with an underlying metadata repository where both
PowerDesigner-developed and non-PowerDesigner artifacts could be stored. ETS
began with data modeling and business process modeling and worked those two
areas together. Ultimately, ETS is working toward traceability across a domain for any
given assessment, and it has realized this goal for some of its newer systems that it
has built from scratch. Moreover, ETS leverages PowerDesigner's Link and Sync
capability to ensure that it can synchronize between various model types to document
and reconcile any changes that are made. This feature ensures that nothing is
overlooked when changes are made. When developing new systems, ETS starts by
analyzing its existing business process and defining the future state through "to-be"
©2010 IDC
business processes, detailing business requirements and a conceptual data model.
Once these documentation artifacts have been established, ETS can review its
existing systems (by reviewing enterprise architecture models, solution activity and
deployment diagrams, application use-case inventories, and logical deployments) to
see what already exists that can be reused and leveraged. In fact, the company now
has a metric that measures the amount of reuse and enables it to ensure that it is
compliant with its reference architecture and modeling capabilities. Hence, ETS is
able to more easily identify areas for reuse as well as detect gaps in requirements.
PowerDesigner's EA capability enables ETS to better discover and understand the
existing infrastructure and systems capabilities. This knowledge again increases
reuse and drives better quality and consistency.
PowerDesigner has been ETS' biggest success from an architectural standpoint and
has helped the company with its goal of putting new systems together more quickly.
From a business and IT alignment perspective, PowerDesigner provides data to help
ETS better align the two areas but does not do it for the company. That said, a huge
value PowerDesigner provides is impact analysis through requirements traceability,
which enables IT to much more quickly respond to new and changing requirements
from the business side. While this is currently still a challenge for ETS, it is steadily
improving as it refines its overall system integration. Another area ETS is starting to
explore is PowerDesigner's integration with Troux to gain portfolio management,
compliance, and visualization capabilities. ETS is satisfied with the functionality
provided by PowerDesigner and values working with the PowerDesigner team. ETS is
impressed with how Sybase has taken its calls, listened to its needs, and provided
strong customer service.
PowerDesigner Best Attributes
The best attributes of PowerDesigner, from ETS' perspective, fall into four areas:
architectural discipline, data modeling and management, central repository, and
working with the PowerDesigner team.
Architectural discipline is the ability to build a wide variety of models with high levels
of enforced standardization and intermodel consistency. To date, one of the biggest
benefits that ETS has realized from PowerDesigner is architectural discipline gained
from the consistency and standards enforced features of PowerDesigner tools. ETS
has found that PowerDesigner's disciplined approach to modeling results in higherquality models that have unparalleled breadth and depth of functionality and
consistency. This architectural discipline is due to the classic modeling strengths of
PowerDesigner, its central repository, and the business context afforded by its
enterprise architecture functionality.
ETS has also found the PowerDesigner data modeling and management to be very
strong. It is especially impressed with the business process modeling as a result of
recent improvements made to that module. Due to improvements that allow free
formatting, ETS has been able to eliminate the need for Visio among most of its
©2010 IDC
The other key strength is the common metadata repository. Once ETS completes
loading all of its models into this single consolidated repository, the company will have
very strong discovery capabilities — something it doesn't currently have. This
repository is a key part of the PowerDesigner value proposition because of its support
for discovery, versioning and impact analysis, and integration/reconciliation.
These features and standards have brought a new level of consistency across all
areas of ETS development, especially in the area of data management. Moreover,
they have also helped ETS make great strides in its goal to increase reuse of existing
Copyright Notice
External Publication of IDC Information and Data — Any IDC information that is to be
used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written
approval from the appropriate IDC Vice President or Country Manager. A draft of the
proposed document should accompany any such request. IDC reserves the right to
deny approval of external usage for any reason.
Copyright 2010 IDC. Reproduction without written permission is completely forbidden.
©2010 IDC