ARIS and Alfabet

Issue 2, 2014

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The new power players in business-IT management

Software AG is pleased to announce the 9.6 releases of Alfabet for IT planning, portfolio management and Enterprise Architecture (EA) and ARIS for Business Process Analysis (BPA). This is Alfabet’s first release under the aegis of Software AG and includes major new capabilities and features aimed at integrating Alfabet into the Software AG portfolio for the Digital Enterprise, most significantly with ARIS. These new product releases integrate Business Process Management (BPM) with EA to create a new business-IT management solution.


New business-IT management solution
One of this year’s highlights at the CeBIT show in Germany was a preview of the new interoperability between ARIS and Alfabet. Since mid-April, this exciting new integration feature became reality—the newest product releases of ARIS and Alfabet enable the user to traverse between both products to obtain a 360-degree view of how business processes and IT systems interact and relate with each other, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: ARIS-Alfabet interoperability provides a 360-degree view of business processes and IT systems.

With two market-leading products in its offering, Software AG is creating a business-IT management solution that is unparalleled in the industry. The integration of ARIS, the number one choice for BPM, with Alfabet, a recognized leader in EA and IT portfolio management, creates a new strategic solution for communicating between business and IT.

As Forrester noted at the time of Software AG’s acquisition of Alfabet: “The merger of Software AG’s business process-centric view with alfabet’s strengths in IT planning and portfolio management mends one of the biggest divides in the market today between business process and enterprise architecture roles … If properly brought together, the new offering could be the power-player. Both are leaders in the EAMS market from a tool functionality perspective, giving fantastic depth and breadth to the future offering.” (Source: Tim DeGennaro’s Blog, Forrester, June 5, 2013.)

Harmonizing the continuous development of business processes with the supporting IT is crucial in order to keep pace with rapidly changing business conditions. New, disruptive business imperatives are driving continuous change to business models and their underlying business processes. Digital business demands IT to proactively put forth solutions. This requires new approaches to collaboration between business teams and IT planning groups that previously, in many cases, acted independently. Yet, with today’s business mandates, these two groups ideally complement each other.

The interoperability between ARIS and Alfabet establishes a new methodology for collaboration: BPM, EA, and IT planning and portfolio management can all be performed with one comprehensive approach. This enables a full understanding of how organizational units, business processes and IT systems interface and interact with each other across the enterprise.

Users benefit from:

  • Enterprise context for large business transformation initiatives
  • Greater agility in providing digital business solutions
  • Tighter business-IT collaboration from inception to implementation of business solutions
  • Clear insight into the impact of change on business and IT
  • Revenue growth through customer focus and market differentiation
  • Cost reduction through business and IT standardization

The integration interface between ARIS and Alfabet allows them to be used in parallel as shown in Figure 2. Data maintained in either ARIS or Alfabet can be re-used in the other application to ease data maintenance and to prevent data inconsistencies between the different management tools. The ARIS-Alfabet interoperability also allows for the regular synchronization of data between the two products.

Figure 2: The ARIS-Alfabet repository federation layer enables data to be shared in parallel.

New user interface
Alfabet 9.6 offers a preview to a completely new, HTML5-based client, which is planned for delivery in the October 2014 release. The new interface provides independence of the Alfabet user interface from the underlying browser platform and embraces the innovative technologies that HTML5 has to offer. It provides Alfabet users a Web-based interaction that is state-of-the-art, improving usability and increasing performance in globally distributed environments. Most significantly, the new graphical user interface, shown in Figure 3, incorporates design elements from ARIS to provide a uniform “look and feel” for ARIS-Alfabet interoperability.

Figure 3: New HTML5-based GUI facilitates ARIS-Alfabet interoperability.


Service product portfolio management
Most organizations have an IT services catalog that defines the services available to business units as well as the more elementary services IT uses internally to bring these business services to life. An IT service model helps classify and standardize IT’s “products,” in turn helping IT understand what functionality IT needs to deliver and what infrastructure is needed to deliver it—functionality and infrastructure making up the “bill of service.” IT can, thus, plan and manage IT activities and costs in a business-oriented manner, align to business needs and operate efficiently.

Alfabet 9.6 introduces service product portfolio management to its integrated portfolio management approach. In a portfolio management concept, the service product portfolio can be optimized for greater performance, standardization and simplification, leading to higher agility in delivering on business demands. Additionally, users can analyze the impact of changes to application and technology portfolios on IT services in terms of availability and Service Level Agreement (SLA) conformity. They can better understand who consumes and who sponsors IT services. Furthermore, users can coordinate the analysis and planning of changes to IT services with the projects delivering on those changes.

With this new capability, a service product is a service that is owned by an organization and can be made available to other entities. The consumption of services is represented through contracts delivering the service product. Each service product is coupled with its SLA to define measures for the service product being contracted. The SLA captures information, such as a volume base, that is relevant for the service product (i.e., service desk support hours, target resolution time, defect backlog size limit, maximum number of test failures).

The service product portfolio management capability, shown in Figure 4, is highly configurable to accommodate each organization’s unique service product model and permits representation of the great variety of service products IT organizations offer to their business stakeholders. 

Figure 4: The new service product portfolio management capability accommodates each organization’s unique service product model.