I think most people in the world of Enterprise Architecture, and especially ArchiMate, are aware of Archi as an approachable and ubiquitous tool that not only provides an easy entrance into ArchiMate modelling, but also has just enough functionality to keep you happy in your modelling requirements. Many individuals and organisations start with Archi, intending to move onto a more expensive solution but stay. Perhaps for these users the price point is right, or perhaps Archi provides just enough functionality?
What we are hearing from our many thousands of users is that whilst they love the elegance and simplicity of Archi they would love to have model repository support, more advanced reporting, and more flexibility in the presentation of the ArchiMate diagrams.
We agree. And we intend to bring you these features.
Let’s consider Archi’s existing feature set as a starting point. Archi is relatively young, and therefore the feature set will grow and improve. Over the last year we have already introduced some exciting new features that have vastly improved Archi. Late last year we brought you the option of setting colour schemes so that you could use Archi right alongside Gerben Wierda’s fantastic ArchiMate learning resource, Mastering ArchiMate. In January, we released version 2.6 with some great improvements to the diagrams, including better line and fill colour options, and better connections. In March we kept up the pace and brought you version 2.7 with greatly improved support for exporting diagrams as images, as well as SVG format, a popular request from many of our users.
And don’t forget we brought you our great new website, redesigned in a modern, clean style. We’re still working on improvements to the site and are now setting up a framework to support featured blog posts and articles.
So where now?
Since my last blog post we have not stopped. As you might have seen, we’ve now made the necessary changes to allow Archi to be built on the next generation of the underlying framework – Eclipse 4. We are working on Archi 3.0. Being built on Eclipse 4 guarantees Archi’s future within a sustainable framework. Archi 3.0 will bring the option of pluggable look and feel application themes, export and import of model data in CSV format, bi-directional support for Archi’s famous Magic Connector, Find and Replace, and many more improvements. We think it’s going to be a fantastic release.
And the incredible thing is that we’ve delivered all of these exciting features and improvements to you over the last few years for free!
We’re big fans of open source and free tools, but we can only do so much for free. In order to sustain the development of Archi and other projects we need investment in resources, particularly financial resources.
Consider an organisation’s return on investment by using Archi. I invite each company, each training organisation, each consultant that has used Archi over some time to calculate the financial savings they have made by using Archi instead of a paid-for tool. Collectively, this amounts to huge savings. Clearly, this is a good thing. But, like the goose that laid the golden eggs, we need to keep Archi alive to keep the good thing going. And this requires the co-operation of all stakeholders who have a vested interest in the future of Archi – companies, organisations, architects, consultants, trainers, and of course the developer of Archi itself. We now need to pull together to move forward.
So, we are now exploring potential business models that can support and guarantee Archi’s continuing success and its future. At this stage, there are some potential options on the horizon.
More than just tooling, our users also need support and training in the use of TOGAF, ArchiMate, EA Modelling, and of course, Archi itself. Whilst we ourselves do not currently have the resources to deliver training and consultancy, we can recommend and work with potential partners to provide you the full package for your modelling and EA needs.
“Archi” the software is still growing, it is still relatively young. And “Archi” the brand is equally as strong, with a great reputation. Archi has been a disruptive and refreshing force in the EA world, with some of our users hailing it as a “game changer”. In the last 3 or 4 years we have shown what is possible by taking a light, agile, and intelligent approach to software development and delivery. Imagine what the next 3 or 4 years could bring with investment and collaboration with like-minded partners. As Steve Jobs once said, we are thinking about where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. Currently Archi is a cross-platform desktop solution used by many thousands of architects. The scale of its global reach and impact has been phenomenal. We want to bring you tools that go beyond the desktop, providing you the means to work with your models and data in the cloud, and on your mobile devices. Archi on the desktop is just the beginning.
So, what can you do to help? If you’re happy using Archi today for free, that’s fine. Keep on modelling and enjoy Archi! We love happy users. If you think you’ve benefited from Archi either personally or in the workplace, why not make a small donation? This would be a great help towards running costs. If you are a company that uses Archi for your EA modelling, or if you are a TOGAF/ArchiMate training organisation that uses Archi for your training, you might consider investing in the tool that brings value to your organisation.
We think we can build on Archi’s great reputation to bring you better and inexpensive tools, complementary services, and advice and guidance to make your organisation more profitable and help you achieve your goals. With your help we can make it happen.