What is Essential?

A walkthrough of Essential and how you use the tool

Informed decisions based on fact

To be successful, any organisation needs to:

  • Meet and anticipate changing customer demands and high service expectations
  • Meet regulatory requirements that are becoming increasingly complex
  • Meet shareholder expectations of increased returns while managing business risks
But to achieve all this is really difficult, mainly because of Organisational Complexity: the interdependent mix of people, functions, business processes, IT applications, data, infrastructure, suppliers and customers scattered across multiple locations, often across the world.

Complexity breeds its own problems with inefficiencies (and related costs), slow responsiveness to changing market conditions through a lack of agility, and inconsistent data with potential for internal confusion, regulatory fines and security breaches. Complexity makes it difficult to understand how the business operating model actually works, where there are opportunities for improvement, and where risks lie if the model needs to change. In addition, the diversity of data needed to analyse the organisation makes this nigh on impossible to manage in spreadsheets, Visio, etc.
Business executives don’t want to waste time managing complexity; they would rather focus on strategic matters: meeting their organisation’s long term goals and differentiating its products and services. They also need to know where money is being spent, whether it is being spent wisely, and how to get the best returns from strategic investments.

HOW CAN ESSENTIAL HELP?

In short, by making complex organisations easier to manage. Essential helps you understand how people, functions, processes, applications, data, infrastructure, suppliers and customers interact across the business, and how they support or hinder the business strategy. It also enables the impacts of changes to the business operating model to be assessed.

  • Anyone in the organisation can help create the enterprise architecture – Essential enables people to capture data without having to understand the business model
  • You capture the facts about the organisation and their interrelationships; Essential generates views to provide clarity and enable analysis for decision-making
  • Skilled enterprise architects can focus their energies on value add activities
  • You don’t draw pictures with Essential, you let Essential create the visualisations
  • Essential uses advanced algorithms to work out where there are potential issues, opportunities and risks

HOW DO YOU CAPTURE DATA?

Data is captured via a variety of mechanisms.



There is the data capture interface where you add data and create relationships through a, primarily, forms based mechanism. Importantly, you aren't drawing pictures with Essential, you are capturing facts and relationships, then Essential visualizes that data for you.
You manage capture, configure and publish from the data capture capability. Note Essential Cloud provides an enhanced user friendly interface with improved security, but the underlying model and method is the same in both tools.



You can also use the import utility to import XML, Excel or CSV data. Or you can use the automated import which can support all those formats and, shortly, JSON. you can integrate with other tools, such as ServiceNow, Archi or Sparx, as long as the semantics of the tools providing the data is consistent



You create relationships between objects within the data capture interface, or through the imports.



Once you have data in the repository, you publish to the viewer. Out of the box, you get over 120 views, including catalogues, dependency views, etc. We produce views that you can utilize day to day to do your job, based on our own experience, and also views that you can utilise with management to support your analysis and recommendations. In Essential Cloud access to views is managed via user roles, so you can easily manage which views different stakeholders see. In Essential Open Source this is managed by creating different portals.



Essential also has a number of added features, such as multi-language. We already support, UK English and US English, German, French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. Adding additional languages is a simple mapping exercise.



Adding to or extending the underlying model takes minutes. If you want a new class then create the class in the editor, add relationships and it is immediately available to the viewer. The same applies if you want to add a slot to an exisitng class.



Many different types of views can be created from simple tables to more complex interactive reports. With simple XSL skills, you can create your own catalogues and reports to personalise Essential to your own organisation.

The Essential meta model is very extensive. We are all practising architects - we have been (and still are) Chief Architects, lead architects, etc at Fortune 2000 companies, and continue to provide consulting to these firms. It is from that work that we have built and continue to extend the meta model, and we know that specific views work with EA teams and with senior management, depending on the problem. We see Essential as a foundation upon which you can provide your organization with real insight from the out of the box views, but also that you can extend and take into many other areas of interest that give your organization real competitive advantage.