Top 18 enterprise architecture tools for 2021

These popular and emerging EA tools offer businesses everything they need to support enterprise architecture and digital transformation.

Top 13 enterprise architecture tools for 2020
LightField Studios / Getty Images

Enterprise architecture systems haven’t always been essential. In the 1940s, Thomas Watson Jr., one of the leaders of International Business Machines, supposedly said, “I think there is a world market for about five computers.” No one needs custom software to track a list that short.

The modern enterprise, however, is much different. Some employees have more than five computers on their desk alone. Even a small organization may have thousands of machines; some can easily have more than a million. That’s before the sensors and smart gadgets that make up the internet of things are taken into account. Enterprise architecture (EA) systems track all these machines and the software that runs on them — not to mention how these software layers interact. Because of this, EA tools are the single source of truth for managing these burgeoning virtual worlds.

The state of the EA tool market

The EA marketplace is robust with more than several dozen serious competitors. Some specialize in particular platforms or clouds. Others offer deeper integration with business intelligence and business process management software. Some began life as generic modeling software; others were purpose-built for enterprise architecture. All compile long lists of machines and offer various tabular and graphical dashboards for tracking them.

EA systems gather device and software information in a number of ways. The most manual process involves asking stakeholders and developers to fill out forms detailing who owns what machines. The most automated tools log into a company’s clouds directly, counting the machines themselves. Most use a hybrid of these approaches. Some offer drag-and-drop widgets so that developers, architects, and managers can create a model of all the machines, the software those machines run, and how the data flows from one machine to another.

To continue reading this article register now

Download CIO's Winter 2021 digital issue: Supercharging IT innovation