4 steps to modeling and roadmapping from SharePoint

June 02, 2015

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Have you ever wanted to use SharePoint data for your enterprise architecture program? Here we explain how SharePoint can become an enterprise architecture repository.

With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, SharePoint is a rich vault of information. Enterprise architects can easily tap into SharePoint-based lists to build models and roadmaps of their business. There’s absolutely no need to wrestle data into a bespoke EA-tool-friendly format first.

SharePoint lists can be the substructure for creating current state architectures and roadmapping future scenarios. And from these you can chart business outcomes and create dashboards using a Business Intelligence-style web interface.

Let’s walk through the steps for this process using the ABACUS SharePoint Sync plugin.

Step 1 – Keep using your SharePoint lists

That’s right.  Keep using them.  You can continue to work in SharePoint’s familiar and collaborative environment. Whether you have lists of applications, projects, portfolios, services or standards, keep using them.

There’s no need to transform or edit your SharePoint data – no “swivel-chair integration”. The ABACUS plugin will extract it directly from the lists you already have.

Step 2 – Mapping

Setting up the ABACUS Portfolio Manager SharePoint plugin is straightforward and involves a one-time mapping of ABACUS’ portfolios and their properties to your SharePoint lists and their fields. We can cover it quickly in a few minutes in a demonstration for you.

The ABACUS Enterprise Architecture toolset is built on a graph database so the tool’s repository will adapt to match details of your SharePoint lists.  No ‘square pegs into round holes’ here!  There is no ‘translation’ required and the synchronization is seamless, continual and automatic.

For EAs who have a preferred framework in mind (e.g. TOGAF, BIAN, etc) this can be set up in ABACUS in minutes using any of the over 100 frameworks and notations freely available in the tool and then used to generate the lists in SharePoint in the first place.

SharePoint and ABACUS will continue to work side-by-side as lists are maintained and architectures modeled (obviously this is also critical to avoiding information becoming obsolete or out-of-date).

Step 3 - Enterprise Architecture – models, diagrams, roadmapping

Now you’re ready to exploit the modeling and analytics capabilities available in ABACUS to generate landscapes, models and diagrams from your SharePoint data.  Models can be heatmapped and you can run analysis according to your chosen KPIs (TCO, ROI, response times, reliability etc).

Very quickly you can be “roadmapping”, weighing up alternative future state architectures, looking at the ripple effects of strategies and initiatives, and running some pretty impressive analytics (ABACUS runs out-of-the-box simulations using equational, structural, discrete-event and Monte-Carlo techniques). Read How to build an EA roadmap: 4 styles to consider for a more detailed guide, or view our Roadmapping Webinar.

Step 4 – Outputs and visualizations

Your team needs to use these models and analytics to communicate across the business, to the C-suite, IT and sales and marketing and beyond.

In ABACUS this can be done with standard reports, charts and diagrams or using the self-service BI-style web interface ABACUS Intelligence. This is our HTML5-optimized portal which allows you to explore, analyze and present your data.  Many EA’s prefer to customize their own dashboards using our dock-able and navigable ‘portlets’.  Portlets deliver query-based results directly from ABACUS – a great way of visualizing your SharePoint data.

Of course, it’s also possible to click back through from the ABACUS Intelligence web interface into your SharePoint lists, amend the source information or add new items. This will automatically feed back into ABACUS’ analytics engines and you can continue on your way.

Step 5 - Gamification. Now I know we said there were only four steps in this process, and by walking through these you will indeed be able to build an analytics, modeling and visualization engine beside your SharePoint data.

However, we believe there is a bonus “Step”, what analysts refer to as “Gamification”. This is the idea that each employee’s company CV (i.e. their “profile” or “About me” page in SharePoint) updates automatically with the parts of the business ecosystem they’re working on.  Their involvement in the business becomes visible and they are incentivized further. If it’s obvious you are working on multiple business-critical systems and processes, then you’re a key player. You’re motivated to contribute more, achieve your goals and the company’s goals.

Logging and mapping employee activity and value using SharePoint and ABACUS is a painless way to test how “Gamification” can work in your organization.

Note that as well as SharePoint, ABACUS is also able to synchronize and roundtrip data from other inventory management tools such as CMDB’s, and from Excel, Visio and many other sources - we do this by providing a completely open API and configurable graph-based repository.

To set up a demonstration to explore in more detail how to integrate, model and roadmap from SharePoint, please contact us at demo@avolutionsoftware.com.

You can also download a free trial of the ABACUS toolset by clicking the TRY ABACUS button at the base of this page.