Importing Existing Material
When Enterprise Architect has been set up for use it is likely that you will still have some existing project artifacts in the form of diagrams, documents, spreadsheets and items in other formats. Many of these can be conveniently imported into Enterprise Architect or referenced from within the tool. The tool also provides extensive server-side connectivity to a wide range of other tools, including Requirements Management tools such as DOORS Next Generation, project management tools such as Wrike, and project implementation tools such as Jira, via the Pro Cloud Server (a separately licensed server-side component).
Spreadsheets are commonly used as a general purpose container for a wide range of numerical and textual project data. Uses include:
- Stakeholder Analysis
- Interface Definitions
- Task Management
While the spreadsheet is a very familiar tool it lacks many of the rigorous and powerful features of an information management platform such as Enterprise Architect, including:
- Versions and more.
Enterprise Architect has built in support for all these and many other forms of information that are commonly stored in Spreadsheets. The tool also conveniently comes with facilities to import and export the spreadsheet data using the CSV file format.
The most typical scenario is for the information in the Spreadsheets to be imported into Enterprise Architect and then the spreadsheet can be decommissioned and the information assets can be managed in Enterprise Architect from that point forward.
There might be situations where using the numerical analysis aspects of a spreadsheet would be useful, and Enterprise Architect conveniently provides a tool to export information to CSV file format for import into a spreadsheet. For more information see the Import and Export Spreadsheets topic.
Importing Visio Diagrams
Microsoft Visio is commonly used by engineering teams, often because there are no other more sophisticated tools available and it serves the purpose of creating general purpose diagrams. It is common for a team that adopts Enterprise Architect as their engineering platform of choice to have a collection of preexisting Visio diagram. All these diagrams can be imported into Enterprise Architect but the results are more effective when these Visio diagram have been constructed with consistency or using standard industry palettes rather than free-form geometric shapes such as square and circles that have no shared meaning. Once imported the diagrams can be massaged and updated to form part of the repository, and the original Visio diagrams can be decommissioned.
Enterprise Architect provides a free tool that can be used to connect to an MS Visio engine and import selected diagrams into the repository.
A decision has to be made whether to decommission the diagrams in Visio and to allow Enterprise Architect to manage the diagrams from this point on. Having the diagrams in the repository provides great power, as elements on the diagrams can be related to other elements in the repository. For more information see the Extensions the topic.
Using the Team Library
Even if an engineering team has transitioned to Model Based Systems Engineering it is likely that there will still be a range of documents and web based material that is critical for the management and development of engineering solutions. Enterprise Architect provides a pragmatic approach to this need by incorporating a Team Library feature where documents and web resources (both local and remote) can be collected together as references.
Any of the references catalogued in the Team Library can be included on a diagram as an Internal or External Artifact but more conveniently they can also be imported or referenced. For more information see the Team Library topic.
MS Office Integration
Enterprise Architect has the ability to integrate with the Microsoft Office suite of applications using the MDG Link for Microsoft Office, making it easy to exchange information between any Enterprise Architect model and MS Powerpoint, Word and Excel. There are options to import, export and synchronize the content.
PowerPoint integration provides easy access to Enterprise Architect's model repository within PowerPoint presentations. You can insert references to the model, use hyperlinked model element names, insert diagrams as images and tabulate Package contents on slides.
The Microsoft Excel Importer tool allows you to import contents from Excel workbooks into Enterprise Architect as model elements. This includes importing spreadsheet data as UML elements, connectors, attributes and operations.
The Microsoft Word Importer tool brings Requirements, Use Cases, Processes, Classes and other data from Word documents into Enterprise Architect as model elements. The Word Importer provides a step-by-step approach that helps you map items such as sections, tables and delimited name-value pairs to Enterprise Architect elements and properties – including defining custom Tagged Values.
Integration with External Tools
Enterprise Architect provides a powerful interface (as part of the Pro Cloud Server) for connecting your model repositories to external tools. This enables Enterprise Architect to synchronize elements in external tools with views of the elements in Enterprise Architect, which is particularly useful if Enterprise Architect and another tool share an interest in particular types of information. An example is the integration with the DOORS Next Generation (NG) product, where requirements modeled in DOORS can be viewed inside Enterprise Architect, and local surrogates of the elements can be placed on diagrams and related to any number of other modeling elements, including strategies, trade studies, Use Cases and Components. (There is also an in-model facility available to connect to older versions of DOORS.)
There is a wide range of integrations available, and teams can create their own integrations using the Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) facility, available as part of the Pro Cloud Server. For more information see the Integrations Help topic.