The book featured examples of several tools: Qualiware, Visual Paradigm, MagicDraw), Signavio, DecisionsFirst. These applications are used by us in Projects and Workshops. For sure, you find more interesting solutions in the Web used by us in Projects too. Examples are Adonis, Intellior, Semtalk, ARIS (softwareag.com), or BIC.
Users often ask which tool is the most suitable for me? The question cannot be answered without further ado. The answer is undoubtedly partially subjective. Several criteria play a role. Which one has the higher priority depends on your project task. The primary or only measure is not, which notation is supported and is most suitable for my task? This is a big advantage of the standard notations. The meaning of the presentation and the elements are standardized. In addition, the OMG standard notations include an exchange format. This allows the exchange between tools and platforms. No manufacturer can claim to own a better BPMN. The standard notation is supported or not. The implementation and support of new standard notations are often a temporary question. Other criteria are more important: ease of use of the solution, output formats and reports, the ability to easily add additional attributes not included in the standard notation (e.g. IGOE), proprietary representations, support for a role concept, and more.
Social Networks, events as "Process Solution Day" discuss the question.
Price: Of course, the price question is always decisive. But consider that for very cheap solutions, the expectation of possible manufacturer support needs to be adjusted to the price.
The tools I know support several licensing models: Single Seat, Concurrent License, Subscription Models.
An important criterion from my point of view is the use and (full) access to a repository. A repository (inclusive full access) is needed to support the reuse of model elements, collaboration in the team (collaboration), as well as to structure the repository (and our project).Ein wichtiges Kriterium für mich ist die Nutzung und der (volle) Zugriff zu einem Repository. Ein Repository (inklusive Zugriff) wird für die Unterstützung der Wiederverwendung von Modellelementen , die Zusammenarbeit im Team (Collaboration), sowie für die Strukturierung des Repositories (und unseres Projektes) benötigt.
The availability of a repository with full access to the repository requires knowledge and discipline. A full-access repository opens up many possibilities.
Supported notations: Several groups can already be identified with the presented tools.
Support for a single or a few standard notations
- DecisionFirst (DMN)
- Signavio (Focus on Business Process Management; Support for multiple standard notations: BPMN, DMN, CMMN)
Universal solutions, suitable for many tasks and perspectives
- Visual Paradigm (support for many standard notations, UML, SysML, BPMN, CMMN, ERD, DFD, MindMap, ...)
- Qualiware (support of many standard notations and means of representation: UML, SysML, BPMN, ERD, DMN, TDM, workflow models, ...)
- MagicDraw (support of multiple standard notations: UML, SysML, BPMN, BMM, TOGAF, Zachmann, organization chart, ...).
Again we recognize different groups:
- Client-Server Solutions: Examples are Visual Paradigm, NoMagic, Qualiware. Visual Paradigm and Magic Draw can be used cross-platform (MS Windows, Linux, Mac). All known client-server solutions now additionally support the web platform. The functional scope of the web platform may differ (considerably).
- Pure web platforms: Solutions such as Signavio exclusively support the web platform. Especially when using the hosted solution, the cost of operating the solution is often low. The hoster takes care of updates and availability.
- Mixed solutions: Client-Server solutions with web-components
- Visio-based tools with a repository: for example Semtalk
A tool must provide ways to support roles in the modeling process (see 6.6: Roles in the Modeling Process). The required notations and functions are limited depending on the role and simplify the use of the tool.
Methodology and project management
In addition to "pure" modeling, most tools support methods and work techniques. Examples are "textual analysis", "storyboards" (Visual Paradigm), "risk management" (Qualiware).
All tools provide project management capabilities or support established project management methods. Examples are TOGAF® ADM (Visual Paradigm, MoMagic), PMBOK® (Visual Paradigm), and own project management methods (Visual Paradigm).
Reports and analysis
It must be possible to evaluate the generated models and generate reports easily. Here are the web-based tools (yet?) not so strong. The fact that the stakeholders can all access the model on the Intranet / Internet does not relieve us of creating stakeholder-specific outputs and evaluations. Paper outputs are still relevant depending on the task.
Beyond the simple syntax check of the notations used, it is advantageous to define and implement your own quality criteria.
If notations are used to describe system components (ERD, UML, wireframes, BPMN, CMMN, DMN), functions for code generation are essential. Integration with corresponding environments are frequently offered.
Ensuring timeliness and compliance plays an important role today. The tools, therefore, support governance functions.
The supported features differ considerably.
Models have to be created and maintained in multiple languages.
First, a differentiation must be done between pure drawing tools such as Visio™ (products.office.com/visio) and Lucidchart (www.lucidchart.com). These tools are often easier to handle for the end-user when creating visual descriptions. The combination of different views, as well as evaluation and analysis features are limited. Real modeling tools are evolving more and more towards architectural applications (business architecture, application architecture).
The following table summarizes the criteria. Depending on your project charter you have to extend or detail the criteria.
|Supported Standard notations (OMG, Open Group)|
|Support for a Vocabulary (SBVR)|
|Support for roles in model development|
|Method- and Process-Support|
|Techniques supported in the tool
Collection of Information
All tools need knowledge.