I’ve been trying to get my head around different ways that enterprise architects explore existing and potential business models. Being a complete novice I’ve found two major blocks to my progress.

The first problem I have is not really understanding the different different strategic management and entrepreneurial tools or the frameworks available for enterprise architecture. There seems to be lots of frameworks to help understand system complexity and deal with poor business alignment, according to the Microsoft Develop Network the big four are ArchiMate, TOGAF, Zachman and FEA. The problem is where to start, what advantages and disadvantages do the different frameworks have?

The second problem is which software to start playing with? As a developer the way I like to explore new concepts is playing with software. There seems to be lots of software supporting Enterprise Architecture, but this choice in itself brings a problem. Do I start with a piece of kit that supports a single framework, if so which framework? The cost of much of the software is so high that if you invest then you must be certain that you are investing in software which supports the way you want to work, not a good way to start if you are playing with software just to try stuff out. The complexity of many of these tools also makes it difficult for me to get started with them.

After quite a while having a poke around the available tools I ended up at the Archi modelling tool site. I have played with Archi before as it was originally developed within the group I work for, Cetis. The tool is now developed outside of Cetis by the original developer and I was pleased to see new versions being released.

Since my last session with Archi there seem to have been quite a few changes, but the most exciting one for me is the ability to create a model from a canvas or template, the default canvas’ shipped with Archi being SWOT and Business Model Canvas, which means I can get in to ArchiMate by using well know strategic management tools that I am also starting to get to grips with.

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