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Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect Room for Improvement

Management Consultant & Architect at Contextual Focus Limited

The presentation graphics need to be improved in future builds. It's primarily an architecture tool. Therefore, it's using certain formulas, and they aren't really very useful in terms of presentation graphics for executives. It's an ongoing issue. You do some kind of diagram, you then have to convert it into a Microsoft PowerPoint in order to get a certain look and feel. Otherwise, the design is just too obscure for executives to understand.

The product needs better tools for defining report templates. Sparx will generate automated reports based on whatever you select from the repository. It has this templating tool that's very flexible, however, I can't get the damn thing to work properly. It's just not very user-friendly. It's almost like a programming language. That's the thing that we keep coming back to tech support with to say, "What are we doing wrong?" If they offered a better report generating front end that will let someone quickly and easily configure what they want in their reports, that would be very useful.

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Senior Solutions Architect Lead at a wholesaler/distributor with 1,001-5,000 employees

From a practical point of view, we need speed and reliability for creating a model and doing some really meaningful tasks such as application landscape, refactoring, etc. These are two primary criteria. Sometimes, when you import something, it creates the object duplicates, or it allows you to do something that you're not supposed to do. For example, validation is missing. This could be frustrating because when you work at a high speed, you need to come back and start fixing things that the tool allowed you to go with, which is not quite good. So, there should probably be some internal mechanisms to advise you about what you're doing and what is probably not the best idea.

For example, you can do many things with ArchiMate, which is modeling language, but people can interpret many things incorrectly. They start modeling and then realize that it is not a good idea. So, it is not the tool itself. It is probably a combination of the modeling language and the tool that validates it. It would be very good if validation mechanics are embedded in the tool to, at least, advise people that a particular thing is allowed to be done in this way, but doing it would also mean something else that you may not want. The languages themselves are not perfect. In a large company, you have many people doing the modeling. If they interpret things differently and the tool allows them to do that, then you would have to do some rework.

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Software Developer at RowdenSoftwareSolutions Ltd.

It is a good affordable that is actively evolving, I think the modeling of activity diagrams could be optimized - currently, they insist on you specifying whether a connector is a control flow or an object flow for instance. It is a minor point, but since this sort of diagram is popular in that it affords both the chance to effectively constrain the model whilst leaving freedom for the next stage in the dev process - which key in good design then it should a high priority to optimize this rather than waste resources unnecessary 'bells and whistles'?

There are several little things they could and should optimize. But the platform is good and could be the base a whole tranch or really useful features. for example: to be able to easily run code set up in unit tests to reverse engineer specific code blocks to yield sequence/activity diagrams, would be really useful when as a contractor you have to 'firefight' the design from the code. 

Personally I would like to see the database normalized better. It's really just a data dump whose business rules are contained in the front end client code - it is way way way off 3nf.

Because its easy to create diagrams one needs to be vigilant on the housekeeping of orphaned fragments - I have written my own scripts to do this, may they are available now.

I don't make much use of the traceability Matrix, yet that should be a feature that I should use if I could see it made it easy to ensure the traceability of ALL the design to the code (completeness)

However, it works. It’s good to use and it’s affordable for a single contractor. It has REALLY helped me. It is a good product and I am sure it will only continue to improve.

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Learn what your peers think about Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Conseiller principal en architecture d’entreprise et de solution at Cronomagic Canada

Even if there are web-based tools in the Enterprise Architecture tool ecosystem (like Prolaborate), the main modeling application is still a fat client application. For some organizations, it is still a concern and a significant disqualification criterion for adoption.

The capability to model and analyze while maintaining coherent traceability within different variants (variations or versions) of a future architecture has been greatly enhanced in the recent versions of Enterprise Architect. It requires a very mature, systemic, and methodic approach that is not easy to grasp for junior modelers. 

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Entrepreneur-Consultant-Developer-Freelance at Dipl.-Ök. Roland Kossow

The tool is, to some extent, clumsy and in some areas slow (especially on mid or low-performance workstations). 

Quite a lot of data entry would be very tedious if you could not develop your own automation or data entry tooling (or have it developed for you).

The automatic creation of reports based on the model elements could be improved and overall the diagrams could be more beautiful (or more visually appealing content could be added) to the toolbox. The wireframing support could also be improved and the roadmap capability is not ideal.

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JF
Business Owner at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees

The solution is difficult to learn.

The documentation needs a bit of improvement. What I find is that when I'm trying to do something specific for some part of a project, in terms of documentation, it's kind of hard to get at figuring out if you don't use it all the time. 

It's hard, because it's such a massive tool, to figure out how to dig in and to get to the place you need to go. The documentation would give you some idea of what to do. There's just not a lot of examples that are fully baked that I'm aware of.

The user interface is difficult, however, it was going to be difficult anyway, because of all the things we have to do when we're doing design and trying to figure out use cases and stuff like that. What I'm getting at is more tutorials are needed. You should be able to just to pick it up and say, okay, for this kind of thing, I'm going to go through this tutorial step by step and get it completed. And I don't see that as an option for getting to know the solution.

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Enterprise Architect at a tech services company with 201-500 employees

Their business model does not include consulting services but this can be a strength in some cases.

Companies that include or even highlight the consulting arm of their companies can easily create a situation in which the on site staff become dependent on the vendor consultants and are unable to progress without them.

Knowing which button to select or which icon to click on is one thing but understanding how a tools like this fits in to the overall methodology takes an in company investment in integrating the tools and software process.

I've worked for most of the big name vendors and I know first hand that the only real way to learn is to roll up your sleeves and start using the tool on a regular basis.

Training and instruction are very available for Sparx via webinars, videos, pdfs, whitepapers and email support which I have always found to be first rate.

In addition to the huge number of manuals, videos, webinars and forums available, just googling a Sparx issues is likely to provide with a huge number of hits to find just what you are looking for.

It's huge user base (750 K) is a big advantage.

Yes one must invest a little time in learning how to use the tool.  Using the cup o soup paradigm, "just add hot water" will not work. If you want that , stick with Visio,

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KD
Senior Design Leader at Koninklijke Bam Groep N.v.

I would like it to be less of a general tool. Currently, it is not a Swiss army knife that can do everything. It is not specialized for our purposes. We are a civil engineering company. We build things. We work mostly in what is known as Infra world in the Netherlands, which comprises objects such as bridges, locks, and water management. We would like to see more focus on such types of projects. It would be nice if it has more specializations. At the moment, it is very generic, and you have to create everything yourself. 

Our focus is more on user requirement management, which is currently very basic. I would like to see a lot more functionality in this area. Its basic functions for adding user requirements are perfect, but we need more features. Currently, it has limited possibilities for our requirements. I would also like to see better contract management and have it managed in a certain way. 

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JF
Business Owner at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees

The product is good. When I'm trying to do something specific for a part of project documentation, it's hard to get it figured out if you don't use it all the time. It's such a massive tool, it's hard to figure out how to dig in and get to the documentation where you have to be to get some idea of what to do. There are not a lot of examples that I'm aware of to be able to do that.

The user interface is going to be difficult because of all the things we have to do when we're doing design and trying to figure out use cases and stuff like that. Tutorials would really help out where you could just start to pick it up and say, "Okay, for this kind of thing, I'm going to go through this tutorial step by step and get it completed." They don't have that. There's nothing wrong with the tool. It's how to use it.

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Enterprise Architect at a consumer goods company with 501-1,000 employees

The user interface is not so good. It's not easy for someone to use it at first. The product takes some getting used to.

In the next update, I would like to see more integration with databases in the cloud. For example, Amazon. I'd like that mostly to plug the Sparx tool above any Azure database or Amazon database in the cloud. 

You do need to set up something separate in order to broadcast or share information. That's not so easy to do with the product itself. 

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KB
Owner at a marketing services firm with 11-50 employees

Its documentation is not 100% perfect, but it is good enough. It is powerful, but because it is so powerful, it is sort of arcane.

It took me a while to figure out how to use the report generation features effectively. So, it would be really nice if they had a way to make that a little bit more interactive and a little bit more straightforward.

Something that is a little bit annoying is that the changes that you make to models are instant and permanent. So, you have to be careful with what you do, and you should do a backup or have some kind of a version control scheme in there. I'm used to Word where you can hit Control+Z and undo what you just did. It is not quite that way in Enterprise Architect. There are cases where the model changes, so you got to be careful with what you do before you change the model.

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DS
Software Engineer / Application Developer & Systems Engineer at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees

Many items are not actually handy, I would say. Many things which should be working - regarding some techniques - are not working and seem to be buggy. Recently, I was trying to perform a task and I was thinking about getting in touch with Sparx about it. However, I started with confirming my concerns with colleagues, and now I would like to somehow report it to Sparx and ask them if the way the task is being handled a bug or feature.

For example, there seems to be inheritance between blocks. I know inheritance from programming, and I checked that this mechanism is still working in MagicDrawer. However, it's not working in Enterprise Architect almost at all. Some things which should be inherited are not inherited, or if they are inherited after, let's say, deleting the inheritance dependency that still remains in the target block. It is not logical, at least for a programmer. 

The solution needs to offer better support for the mobile-based system. Right now, it's not working.

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Solutions architect at a government with 5,001-10,000 employees

The fact that you can do a lot yourself is a plus point, but it also becomes a challenge because you need an understanding of the programming languages to get things to work. It becomes challenging for those who are not very good at programming. You have standard reports, but if you want to make your own reports, you have to program it. Similarly, if you want validations rules, you have to take care of them yourself. 

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Business Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees

One of the drawbacks is that it is oriented on architecture and not user-presented.

Also, one of the disadvantages is that it doesn't provide a better representation level for the readers. It is not integrated with solutions such as Confluence or Jira. This is something that is missing in this solution.

Because it is oriented on architecture, it is not convenient to use this information for the presentations to our clients.

They also have a cloud-based deployment solution and it has a bit more capability to communicate to clients and to the sales team.

I would like to see integration with Confluence or any other TRM, and the capability to integrate with the data storage, such as a repository similar to GitHub.

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RA
FileMaker Developer, Agile Software Quality Analyst, Consultant, Trainer & UML / BPMN Modeller at ICONIX

The Business Process Modeling or BPM feature can be improved to make it more interactive and user friendly because it is a tool for technical people. My current use is only for business process modeling notation and putting in the icons etc. You need to take them in as a class, which makes things very complex. Because of this complexity, it is not an easy-to-handle solution.

Enterprise Architect is not very good for mockups. We cannot create user screens and other similar kinds of stuff, which is bad. For these things, we prefer to use Axure RP and other similar solutions. They should either remove this feature from this product or provide some kind of connectivity with Axure RP so that people can do better mockups of screens and import them.

They need to augment and strengthen the BPM feature, which is the main feature. They need to put in some elements like artificial intelligence and augmented reality. They should look into such features because these things are coming up.

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IM Consultant at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees

For data modeling, it is not very mature when comparing with other data modeling tools.

In terms of the workflows, we were initially thinking of having something automated where you have the options to check-in and check-out your data models. This would mean that you can get your data modeling changes reviewed by some of the team members.

The option to check-in and check-out option is not available in this tool. We are doing the steps manually to run the workflow that we defined. 

Even with the changes that the other team members will make, the owners of these respective areas will have to manually identify those changes and then merge them back to the enterprise models. That is what is lacking with this solution, that we have seen so far.

In the next release, I would like to see an automated way to check-in and check-out your data models and with the review process, where multiple people can make changes to a model, and with the workflow, everything will be automated where the data models can request someone to review the modifications. This would be everything that is needed in the next release.

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MD
Process specialist at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

The interface is not as fancy as it is in some other software solutions. 

Some of the features may be fine but I prefer a different type of interface.

Sometimes, it's difficult to read the text when you are presenting. The text is not very large or easy to read. It needs a zooming option. 

The user interface could be better, it needs improvement.

This solution has some limitations from a business perspective.

In the next release, I would like to see multi-language support.

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AH
Software Architect at a transportation company with 10,001+ employees

Sparx can be a bit slow. If you are trying to design software architecture, sometimes we run into issues and need to refresh. HOPEX also occasionally needs to be refreshed as well, actually.

The product has a unified view or a unified database with some limited functionality in the models. In the same database, it can create some problems. I don't know if the problem is that maybe there is a communication issue or we just have too many models in the company. When we're starting the scaling it started to become less capable. We've had trouble with access on the corporate usage level.

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Enterprise Architect at Mobiliser

Collaborating on a medium to large model resulted in significant performance problems, in some cases critical issues. It did not include sufficient flexibility for architecture work targeting business stakeholders. Very much a tool focused at application architecture despite having functions covering higher architecture domains.

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Director at Intelligent Enterprise Products

The areas of improvement should be focused on utility service such as producing better graphics, perhaps having a wider image library set and producing better models for working directly with customers. The solution does not provide things like shadow effect and 3D computer graphics instead of 2D.

More polishing on the presentation should be included in the next release. 

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MH
Director, Strategy and Consulting at a university with 5,001-10,000 employees

The UI is a little bit outdated. It should be more fresh and clean.

The other thing that I would really love to see improve is the roadmap capabilities. They advertise that you can use Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect to do roadmapping, but I don't think that this is really accurate because the roadmapping capabilities are very basic and you can't really do a lot with them.

Also, the Veeva Forms Management capabilities, which are built-in, could be improved. They are okay, but they could be much better as well.

I would love to see more emphasis on Agile product development within the tool itself. So, if I am managing an Agile project or a scrum project, I would love to be able to plan my sprints within the tool and manage user stories, use cases, and test cases within the tool itself without the need to use any other tool.

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DS
Solution Architect at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees

They should make the Save button easier to find. 

A simplified user interface for a lighter user would probably be useful. I am not sure if such an interface is already there.

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LZ
consultant at Government of Saskatchewan

I check the Gartner report pretty regularly and I see that Sparx keeps on going down in the rating. The Sparx EA needs to catch up. I believe the one reason is the strategic architecture. Also, other tools might work better for those high-level executives for whom the quality of the diagram is very important. Sometimes these little differences set a product apart. 

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Enterprise Architect at CCandC Solutions

Their technical support is not good in India. I wrote to them because I had a question, but I never got an answer. So, I just left it behind.

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Innovative ICT Architect at a tech company with 201-500 employees

It would be beneficial to incorporate features like document management usage of video models or PowerPoint visuals that you can import and easily use, instead of having to buy extended modules. When collaborating with other people, it needs to be more user-friendly. I cannot get businesses to use enterprise architect as it is too complicated for them. 

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DM
Architecte fonctionnel at AAnnex

There was some sort of glitch within the last version. Everything is in French and I tried to use English. It didn't work so well.

The window froze for five or ten seconds. You can click and click again and it takes a second to come up. It might have been specific to a version. 

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NB
Enterprise Architect, Coach and Owner at a consultancy with 1-10 employees

The documentation could be better. Where I work, we speak French and we don't speak English, so we don't have anything in French. It's perfect in English, but we need something in French.

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DH
IT Professional at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees

Its usability needs to be improved. For non-technical users, it is a little difficult to understand how Enterprise Architect works. Users who are not engineers find it difficult to understand how this tool works. This is something they need to work on.

They can develop a BPM model to simulate processes.

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AC
Co-Owner at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

It could be more user-friendly. The tools could be more simple to use. It's a very complex solution. Because I am a business analyst, I use these tools to manage requirements, and I make models in UML, BPMN, and ArchiMate, and it's complex. In the next release, I would like to see more integrations.

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Sr. Enterprise Architect at Teranet Inc.

I think the solution could be improved visually. It's not as visually appealing as other solutions. There is a difference between being focused on a technical audience or a business audience. A business audience requires a greater effort and good visuals. Integrations with SharePoint, for example, could be beneficial. If you are using on-premise installation, the sharing of your artifacts with people that don't have a license, can be somewhat complicated.

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NA
Digital Asset Intelligence Lead at a construction company with 5,001-10,000 employees

I think the UI could be improved and made a little bit more presentable. I've also found that sometimes finding the track of the information inside can be difficult. All their topics and help are related to each other with one link over the other and it's a bit like going down a rabbit hole and not being able to find your way back. It would be helpful to have some form of infographic showing how these concepts are related to each other. But I also understand that there is a huge amount of information available and sometimes finding the proper tool is not easy.

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JL
IT Architect at a government with 10,001+ employees

This solution is quite complex to use. It would be nice if the learning curve wasn't so steep. 

I can't think of any additional features that I would like to see in the next release. There are already plenty; if there were any more, it would only become harder to use. 

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RH
IT Project Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

My customers use Bizagi, although I do not. I don't want to change this. What should be improved, however, are the integration capabilities of the solution with Bizagi. 

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MJ
System Engineer at a manufacturing company with 51-200 employees

There should be a MATLAB-specific toolbox added to the solution with better compatibility. The connections currently are good but in the future, it needs a huge improvement.

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AK
System Architect, SCRUM Product Owner at a tech company with 10,001+ employees

I have found the solution is lacking options. The general usability needs improvement and more compliance to CML definitions.

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Learn what your peers think about Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.