BACKGROUND: Spectrum Technology Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of CIBER in Denver, Colorado. We specialize in management consulting in the areas of information technology planning, enterprise and component architecture, knowledge management, data warehousing, client/server and Web-enabled systems development. We have been supporting the strategy planning architecture group of Lucent Technologies in the areas of enterprise architecture development, component architecture development, knowledge management architecture development and e-commerce design support.

PLATFORMS: Microsoft NT.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We have used System Architect (SA) from Popkin Software for three major projects. For enterprise architecture, we developed a series of conceptual data models covering the whole enterprise. We also developed a series of event function models as well as functional decomposition models. For our component architecture project, we developed the conceptual component object model using the unified modeling language. We extended the meta data to support decision events and business rules. We published our enterprise architecture models and our component architecture of models to our enterprise architecture knowledge management Web site.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: In our various projects, we developed data models, object models, event function models, use case diagrams and functional decomposition diagrams. The meta data objects were fully documented, and the meta data was extended to add additional attributes. We also extended the meta data, adding the decision event and business rule meta data objects and relating them together. We developed a series of reports reflecting the extended meta data and published all of our models and their supporting meta data to our intranet Web site.

STRENGTHS: The product supports a number of modeling tools and methodologies. It has a robust meta data model that can be extended to satisfy most, if not all, requirements. We beta-tested the new System Architect 2001 product and found it more intuitive and easier to use.

WEAKNESSES: Like most things in life, the strength of System Architect is also its weakness. There are so many modeling constructs and methodologies supported that it can be a little daunting at the start. The new System Architect 2001 addresses this weakness, but the beta test is not complete.

SELECTION CRITERIA: In evaluating System Architect, we first looked at functionality. The system needed to support data models, object models, use cases, event function models and functional decomposition. It needed to have extensible meta data and flexible reporting. We needed to publish our architecture models onto our enterprise architecture Web site. The fact that System Architect was moving to the Microsoft repository was a positive factor.

DELIVERABLES: We look to publish object models, use cases, data models, event function models and functional decomposition models in the form of reports and onto our enterprise architecture Web site. All these models needed to be supported by an extensive meta data repository and flexible reports. System Architect satisfied our deliverable requirements.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Popkin Software supports us well. They introduced us to other users. It was a pleasure to work with their competent salesperson.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation satisfies our requirements. We were aided by the fact that we've used the product before.

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