10 Best Sparx System Alternatives for 2020

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Let’s begin the post by defining Enterprise Architecture, which consists of both Business and Technology Architecture. It provides a strategic planning framework that aligns information technology with the business functions that it supports. TechTarget refers to it as “a conceptual blueprint that defines the structure and operation of an organisation”. Enterprise architecture can be or should bemore suitably known as IT-oriented enterprise architecture, as it is mostly limited to the IT or technology concerns of the organisation. Business Architecture, on the other hand, enables strategic planning and tactical execution. The Business Architecture Special Interest Group of Object Management Group (OMG) defines business architecture as “A blueprint of the enterprise that provides a common understanding of the organisation, used to align strategic objectives and tactical demands.” As the definition suggests, a Business Architect is responsible for designing the model or blueprint for Business Transformation. However, if you’re a Business Architect and are still just focusing on Business Design, it’s high time you embraced the new modelfor Business Transformation

If you are reading this, there’s a good chance you’re in the market for a lightweight online solution to manage your Business Architecture and Business Transformation project.

SparxSystems is a well-known SaaS diagramming platform that was founded back in 1996 in Victoria, Australia and is privately held. SparxSystems is known for the development of its Unified Modeling Language (UML) tool Enterprise Architect.

“SparxSystems specialises in the development of visual tools for planning, design and develop of software intensive systems”, well, so says its own Wikipedia page.

There are however, alternatives to any product in the SaaS world. SparxSystems has several alternatives as well.

In this post, we’ll examine ten of the best SparxSystems alternatives.

1. HOBA Pro®

There’s a reason why HOBA Pro® tops our list of the best SaaS alternatives (yes, we may seem slightly biased but try out this extraordinary tool for yourself and you’d happily agree).

Research shows that 70% of business transformations fail, but where do they fail is the question. Business Transformations don’t fail at the idea or design stage, they fail at implementation.

HOBA Pro® addresses the main problems that cause Business Transformation failure – lack of stakeholder involvement; lack of Executive support and poor planning and most importantly lack of visibility and transparency of the process used and followed to design the Organisation’s Target Operating Model (TOM), from design, right the way to and including implementation.

How HOBA Pro® does that is through an intuitive collaborative platform, based on the HOBA® agile business transformation framework used around the world by thousands to transform their business, with its step-by-step wizard, takes the hassle and frustration out of the project and literally walks the User through the process, and through their transformation.

Based off the proven HOBA® agile business transformation framework, finally there is no need for prior Business Architecture, Business Process or Business Transformation knowledge or expertise. With predesigned blueprints and templates, text-driven modeling and automation for efficiency, there’s no guess-work involved taking the risk out of your project. It’s no wonder they’re calling it the Future of Business Transformation!

HOBA Pro® addresses the main problems that cause Business Transformation failure - lack of stakeholder involvement; poor planning and lack of visibility and transparency of the process used to design and implement the Organisation’s Target Operating Model (TOM).

HOBA Pro

2. ModelioSoft

Offering a wide range of modelling standards, ModelioSoft’s goal is to provide a comprehensive architecture modeling and diagraming system on the Cloud. It also integrates a smart, modeling wizard to offer solutions to common problems users might face. Along with that, it supports rich text editions to combine models and documents.

Whilst ModelioSoft offers several advanced features, it can seem a little overwhelming for beginners. If you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy, or if the Business Architecture World is new for you, then ModelioSoft could complicate things further.

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P.S – if you’re really looking for an off-the-shelf solution to get things done faster (and smoothly), then Hoba Pro is your answer. Its step-by-step wizard guide and text-driven modelling ensure that even beginners can achieve highly efficient models.

Modelio Soft

3. Visio

Being a part of the Microsoft Office family, Visio shares the functionality and familiarity of MS Word and MS Excel. It offers an easy, web-based solution to diagramming with ready-made templates.

Visio has not long gone from a desktop version to a cloud-based version, joining the family of SaaS cloud-based tools, using that familiar windows look-and-feel, but like the desktop version, the online Visio also requires a level of business model and diagramming expertise to use. In terms of modelling Business Architecture (and even technology architecture for that matter), Visio will help you craft complex (and if you’re not careful, complicated) models with its famous snap-lock feature, but if you are looking for a collaborative tool that is more business transformation, than business design, HOBA Pro® is you better choice. For businesses that prefer to keep things simple and not involve other stakeholders and are looking for a solution that will be used and not shared outside of those creating the models – Visio would work perfectly well!

Visio

4. Archi

Downloaded on average about 5,000 times a month, Archi is a popular modeling toolkit. It’s an open source software that is targeted towards all levels of Enterprise Architects and Modelers.

Archi is perfect for those who have just decided to venture into the Business Architecture world. It’s simple to understand and most importantly, it’s free. Plus, you get an added perk – risk evaluation.

There’s only one major downside to this tool (besides its archaic and outdated UI) – Archi doesn’t offer intuitive modelling, which some users might find difficult to work with. In this case, HOBA Pro® would be the better fit, as it includes automation and seamless intuitive modelling.

Archi

5. Blueworks Live

A renowned SaaS tool, Blueworks Live is cloud-based and offers quick documenting and modeling solutions. It operates from a single user interface, and enables real-time collaboration by sending automated notifications to its stakeholders when changes are made.

verage about 5,000 times a month, Archi is a popular modeling toolkit. It’s an open source software that is targeted towards all levels of Enterprise Architects and Modelers.

Archi is perfect for those who have just decided to venture into the Business Architecture world. It’s simple to understand and most importantly, it’s free. Plus, you get an added perk – risk evaluation.

There’s only one major downside to this tool (besides its archaic and outdated UI) – Archi doesn’t offer intuitive modelling, which some users might find difficult to work with. In this case, HOBA Pro® would be the better fit, as it includes automation and seamless intuitive modelling.

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Blueworks Live

It includes over 200 process map templates, including the ability to import Visio diagrams. In fact, Blueworks Live possibly offers all the features and advanced techniques that SparxSystems also does, with the addition of real-time support for users.

For businesses that are more tech-savvy and looking for an easy and intuitive design– Blueworks Live will get their creative juices flowing!

6. BizzDesign

The only EA management tool that offers ArchiMate support (if you haven’t moved passed the ‘old generation’ of business modeling and design and who are after or like old school look-and-feel), BizzDesign offers a flexible and quick modeling platform. It’s centralized, smart and includes web-based collaboration features, which simplifies communication across departments and different locations.

BizzDesign maybe more suited for ‘Technology Architecture’ and Technology Architects than Business Architecture and Business Architects (or Business Transformation or Business Transformators for that matter), strongly focused on software, hardware, systems and data objects, if you want to sink your teeth into the detail of those technical element, then BizzDesign is the one for you!

Bizz Design

7. Capstera

Capstera is a cloud based software and offers a wide range of tools and views to create what the creators call ‘capability architecture’ diagrams and models. Its features allow users to visualize and map different relations and capture their impact on the business.

One of its more highlighted features is its ability to capture business strategy, so Business Architects can apply them in models.

Compared to SparxSystems, Capstera has a more user-friendlyinterface but more suitable for technical people – not users at a beginner level. Captera is possibly closer to a more ERP system built for modelling different scenarios to work out anticipated or expected costs of a specific Business Architecture or model to be able to present those views or findings to your stakeholders for review, comment or approval, which you would expect from a Business Architecture tool.

You are still left with the next step however, and that is how you implement it, and do it pragmatically, and iteratively with full buy-in from your stakeholders along the way. If you are wanting the later, you should check out HOBA Pro®.

capstera

8. Orbus Software

Founded in 2004, and trusted by over 500 companies worldwide, Orbus (iServer) offers the familiarity of Microsoft Office Interfaces, Visio Integration and a central, web-based storage platform. In fact, Orbus is so tightly integrated with Microsoft it is a recommended partner.

Orbus shows its roots in technology with also its strong technology focus, providing out of the box solutions for TOGAF and ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) frameworks. More focused on technology architecture then Business Architecture (or Business Transformation), to Orbus’ credit, iServer has the ability to baseline and compare different ‘structures’ under user defined scenarios.

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Not for the faint hearted, Orbus does require some advanced modeling and diagram knowledge and expertise.

If you want out of the box MS Vision style modeling, look and feel and usability, Orbus will see you right!

Orbus Software

9. Avolution

Avolution offers features such as standard frameworks, data-driven diagrams and easy collaboration on a cloud-based interface. It offers Microsoft and API integration, allowing Visio diagrams and Excel data to be imported and connected.

SparxSystems is a more popular choice amongst users, majorly due to having more refined diagrams. But if you have a limited budget and are happy with a simple user interface – Avolution should be your go to option!

Avolution

10. Erwin Evolve (formerly Casewise)

No list would be complete without Erwin. The company (Erwin) was named to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant annual list of leaders in the fields of Enterprise Architecture Tools, including in 2013[5] and 2014,[6] and Business Process Analysis Tools, including in 2011[7] and 2012.[8] 

Ewin acquired Casewise in 2016 and renamed it Erwin Evolve. Prior to that, in 2013, Forrester Research named Casewise among the 10 most significant software (providers) of enterprise architecture management suites.[9]

Evolve provides business process modelling and analysis to help companies document, construct and simulate business processes using what they creators call “best practice” models and frameworks (e.g. TOGAF and DoDAF) to speed up their business process initiatives.

If you are after a time tested and proven software that has ‘evolved’ (pardon the pun) and stood the test of time, that is slightly more technology focused than business (the clue is in the technology standards its supports), you can’t look past Evolve!

Erwin Evolve (formerly Casewise)

Pro Tip – You can also build up business architecture, and business transformation with ready-to-use Blueprints instead of starting from scratch.

If you are looking for a SparxSystems alternative, these are the ten (10) solid options for quickly building your Business Architecture and executing your business transformation. Which one would you rate as the best SparxSystems alternative and why?

Thank you for reading this!

Sincerely,
Heath Gascoigne

P.S. If you want to join our Business Transformator community of like-minded Business Transformators, join the community on the Business Transformator Facebook Group here.

P.P.S. If you want to learn more about Business Transformation, check out The Business Transformation Playbook here.

For more information, visit https://www.hoba.tech

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Heath Gascoigne

Heath Gascoigne

Hi, I'm Heath, the founder of HOBA TECH and host of The Business Transformation Podcast. I help Business Transformation Consultants, Business Designers and Business Architects transform their and their clients' business and join the 30% club that succeed. Join me on this journey.

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