Open Letter to TOG #1

Interesting thoughts here on the often-confused distinction between a model and a meta-model

Mastering ArchiMate

Dear TOG,

I hope this letter finds you well.

As the shepherd of the ArchiMate standard, you are currently working on its next iteration. As I am not part of the ArchiMate Forum, I am going to send you a few open letters with suggestions for improvement of the language and what to do an not to do. I will be voicing some stern/harsh criticisms on ArchiMate in these letters, please don’t take it personal, I’m only interested in strengthening the language which I already find useful as it is. And I apologise beforehand for my language here and there.

This is the first of such a letter.

Today, I want to write to you about the Specialisation relation in ArchiMate.

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Has any new governance, #metadata or #modeling product impressed you lately? Please let me know so I can compare them

The list is slowly growing 🙂

Here’s a new one – http://www.infinuendo.com/

Metadata Matters, by @MetadataJunkie

There are new products out there in the governance, modelling and metadata management / visualisation market, like Collibra, Semanta, Manta Flow and others which I think are challenging the major players, some of which are getting clunky. I’m building a list myself, preparing to compare them and see how they might usefully fit with each other and longer-established products, ready for a future blog post.

If you have any suggestions for products to add to the list, please let me know.

Thanks

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Buying another company? Have you checked the data models? #datamodeling #ITintegration #M&A

There’s an apparently never-ending discussion of the role of data modelling. Is it an IT activity? Is it only about designing databases? My friend Chris Bradley has given numerous sessions on this (you can see one of them here), as have many others, so I don’t want to labour the point. I’d just like to focus on a possibly overlooked role for data models in mergers and acquisitions.

I heard a tale a few years back, of a foreign mortgage provider that bought a UK company that had a comprehensive enterprise data model. This was the first UK company that the foreign company had ever purchased, so I expect that they carried out a lot of research into the new market before deciding how much to pay for the acquisition, and how much effort would be involved in migrating the existing UK IT applications to their own platform. During that research, they ought to have taken a look at the enterprise data model and compared it with their own data models, assuming they had any, but did they?

Here’s where the tale gets interesting. The foreign company was used to a market with a simple view of mortgage accounts; each mortgage account only has a single product, making the interest and repayment calculation processes quite simple:

Mortgages - simple view

Unfortunately, a glance at the UK company’s enterprise data model would have revealed that their business processes and IT systems were much more complicated:

More complex mortgage

This is a simplified view of the data model, so it doesn’t look like there’s much difference at first. Look at the full data model and you’ll see that the UK mortgage account can include multiple products with different:

  • start date
  • maturity date
  • interest rate %
  • interest rate type (interest only or repayment)

The business processes for managing these accounts would be much more complex.

According to the tale, the foreign company had a modular component-based IT platform, and their projected cost savings were dependent on migrating the UK IT functionality to the existing components. Without the knowledge gained from looking at the data model, they may have seriously underestimated the amount of work needed to migrate mortgage accounts.

Within three months of the takeover, the new owners shut down the entire enterprise data modelling organisation – all the people, the data modelling tools, and the metadata repositories. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

 

Has any new governance, #metadata or #modeling product impressed you lately? Please let me know so I can compare them

There are new products out there in the governance, modelling and metadata management / visualisation market, like Collibra, Semanta, Manta Flow and others which I think are challenging the major players, some of which are getting clunky. I’m building a list myself, preparing to compare them and see how they might usefully fit with each other and longer-established products, ready for a future blog post.

If you have any suggestions for products to add to the list, please let me know.

Thanks

Do we really have Employee master data? #MDM #MasterDataFail #MasterDataSlaves

Sometimes when I’m providing a service to a client, I need to connect to their domain so they set me up as an internal user. This can give me some interesting insights into the way they operate, and it’s amazing how little has changed since the distant time when I was a salaried employee. For example, I recently supported a user department within a very large UK company, and the team moved from office A to office B. We all received an email advising us to update our current location in our email signatures, and also in the following systems:

  • Human Resources (two separate systems)
  • IT’s ordering system
  • the Intranet Directory

What on earth is going on at this company? How much time is wasted by employees carrying out manual Master Data Management? How much variation is there in the location data? Why are the Employees expected to act as Master Data Slaves?

Straightening relationship lines in #PowerDesigner

ER/Studio Data Architect allows you to remove all bends from a relationship symbol:

ER Studio - remove all bends

PowerDesigner has no equivalent, so I’ve just written one, as a demonstration of our ability to add functionality to what is already a great product.

I’ve added a ‘Straighten this line’ command to the contextual menu for individual links – it works in any type of model, on most types of link:

Straighten this line

Here’s an example before running the command:

Straighten this line - before

and afterwards – the line connects the same two points, and the corners have been removed:

Straighten this line - after

Here‘s how I did it

I added a new extension for all model types, which adds the ‘Straighten this line’ command for all symbols based on the ‘Polyline’:

PolylinePolyline menu

Here’s the tricky bit, the code for the method (which includes a set of output commands so you can see what it’s doing in the Script tab of the output window). The code has a few steps:

  • change the line style if necessary
  • If the line has more than just the beginning and end points
    • take a record of the coordinates of the destination point
    • remove all points except the first one
    • adds back the destination point
    • refreshes the diagram
Simples!

Sub %Method%(obj)
‘changes the line style to “normal”, then removes all corners
output obj

if obj.CornerStyle <> “0” then obj.CornerStyle = “0” ‘ set the line style to straight

dim dest_point_X, dest_point_Y, Point_Count, current_point
point_count = obj.ListOfPoints.Count

if point_count > “2” then ‘ line has one or more corners
output ” – Initial points: ” & obj.ListOfPoints.AsText

‘ capture the values held in the destination point
dest_Point_X = obj.ListOfPoints.Item.X
dest_Point_Y = obj.ListOfPoints.Item.Y

current_point = Point_Count-1 ‘so that the first link point is not removed
do until current_point = 0
‘remove the last link point in the collection
obj.ListOfPoints.Remove()
current_point = current_point – 1
loop

‘ add a new destination point
obj.ListOfPoints.AddPoint dest_Point_X, dest_Point_Y

output ” – Replaced by points: ” & obj.ListOfPoints.AsText

‘ Refresh the view
ActiveDiagram.RedrawAllViews
end if

End Sub

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