Modeling Tool Evaluation 101

Enterprise Architecture May 19, 2023

Peter Harrad outlines a recommended approach on how to go about evaluating a modeling tool.

There are two things that I find striking about the modeling tools arena. First is the number of organizations that spend a 5- or 6-figure sum on a tool and then don’t seriously use it (rarely is this because of any deficiencies of the tool). The second is how many organizations approach the purchasing of a tool in a disorganized fashion. There are enough recommendations out there about what a tool should or should not offer, that it seems pointless to add to it.

Instead, in this paper I’m going to outline a recommended approach on how to go about evaluating a modeling tool, based on what I’ve seen work, and what I’ve seen fail. It may seem to be stating the obvious that evaluating a tool is a project in its own right – but too many organizations don’t act as if this is the case. The evaluation approach I will outline consists of the following 5 stages:

Define the Stakeholders

Before you even start to talk about what your tool should do, you need to ask yourself who needs to be involved.

This stage might seem obvious; the stakeholders are the budget holder, and the people who will be using the tool. But in practice, once you start looking at a modeling tool, questions arise. First of all; what other initiatives might be interested? Most modeling tools don’t just support one area of modeling – they’d be fools to. So the natural question that arises again and again is ‘what other teams might be able to use this, now or in the future?’

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