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Model Driven Development and Sybase’s PowerDesigner

by William Laurent, William Laurent, Inc.Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Achieving better alignment of technology resources with the goals and strategy of the business at large remains the leading reason that companies are still funding IT governance projects at record rates. For many organizations, data is increasingly becoming their most valuable asset, if it is not already. In fact, it is impossible to achieve decent IT-to-business alignment without a robust data-driven knowledge base that represents both external and internal processes, assets, and entities in an integrated manner. Modern day business conditions require that companies view IT as a primary strategic enabler of all business initiatives -- a trusted partner that will help drive business strategy and policy from both a physical (infrastructure and data) and logical (model-based) perspective.

Enterprise architecture has become so tightly coupled to business strategy that a poorly run IT architecture will almost inevitably result in business failure on countless levels. Thus, spending the money and time to properly model an organization’s enterprise architecture is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity dictated by the 21st century marketplace. Having a rich knowledge base centered around enterprise architecture is a must if IT-to-business alignment is to occur in any order of magnitude.

By this time, we are all familiar with the plethora of IT governance methodologies (COBI, ITIL, COSO, CPR, etc.). However, these paradigms cannot be successfully implemented without a lot of lower-level work and investigative diligence. So it is no surprise that IT directors and executives are becoming huge proponents of Model Driven Development (MDD). MDD brings model-based standardization to both application development and the representation/modeling of enterprise architecture in order to achieve a more scalable and transparent IT portfolio – one which is primed to provide superior support to strategic commerce and achieve elusive business-to-IT alignment.

MDD has proven itself in helping global enterprises achieve better time to market for their information systems’ projects as well as giving them a huge advantage in maintenance and change management. And this is where MDD provides a great deal of value — it is not just an “upfront” modeling line of attack; MDD addresses the post-development factors of all IT projects. It is a full lifecycle approach to architecture. MDD is also cross-functional in that it provides users with means to accelerate the quality and efficiency of both data modeling and business process modeling. MDD also scales to support the latest types of cutting edge technology implementations such as SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture).

The benefits of MDD are best realized through modeling software that will assist users in achieving better enterprise models by employing MDD concepts, practices, and standards. Such best of breed tools should be able to capture different model snapshots and versions from both a current “point of departure” tangent and “point of arrival” (future desired state) vantage points that can be comprehended by both non-technical business users and technology geeks. This previous point is especially imperative if the tool is able to support business continuity (BC) objectives; needless to say, many current enterprise architecture modeling efforts are directly related and driven by BC discovery directives. Having a tool that can capture different iterations of an architecture also provides a leg up on achieving sound BC in that the “state transitions” of an infrastructure are captured succinctly. Also, being able to track varying logical and physical states of data, architecture, and process provides a tremendous advantage in documenting the varying state of affairs in very dynamic IT departments, where processes and services may shuttle back and forth between various deployments or test/QA cycles.

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Dick Brummer said:


Thanks for the update of the Power Designer cvapability. We are currently engaged in a major exercise to do exectly what you are promoting. We initially decided to replace our current investment in PD with the EA (Sparx tool) as PD only provided a ODBC connection to legacy systems for reverse engineering at thaat stag. Fotunately the RFP processs was delayed and Sybase in the meantime released an upgrade of PD that now enable us to connect directly to the various legacy systems with a native API and then tehey also added the source to target mapping facility so much needed for meta data management. The downside of PD meta data repository is that it is not yet the leader in the meta data space and we called on Rochade for providing us version control for the past present and future versions of data and business models.
We are looking forward for PD to become an enterprise Meta data repository to host all IT Artefacts at an enterprise level enabling transparent round trip engineering in active an passive mode for all ERD, BI and BPM tools including EA;Aris;PD;ERWIN;Cognos;BO and Microstrategy.


Dick Brummer
Enterprise Inoformation and Data Architect
Telkom SA

Georges Desterbecq said:

To add to Dick's comments we also do need elements (objects) ownership at their detail element levels, and also PD is rather poor on UML 2.xx (e.g. cannot display the inheritances in a class diagram)
Also has a problem with TMF SID xmi file for importing it.
Also can PD reverse engineer other tools ?? if so whay has it got problems with SID xmi??
this is just 2 points

William Laurent said:

Dick and Georges,

Interesting observations. While PD is not a true enterprise metadata repository, I think it helps bridge the gap very good for still being a modeled centered tool. Agreed that Rochade certainly has a more robust metadata engine.

Thanks so much for your comments!
Bill Laurent

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