Microsoft Office vs enterprise architecture tools: Consider this

Nov 6, 2023
Written by
Marc Lankhorst
Marc Lankhorst

Microsoft Office vs enterprise architecture tools: Consider this

At Bizzdesign, we’ve had many engagements throughout the years where we were brought in to breathe new life into failing enterprise architecture initiatives. A common denominator across many projects was replacing Microsoft Office with enterprise architecture tools — specifically, a trinity comprising Visio, Excel, and PowerPoint.

In our experience, many organizations find it appropriate to start an enterprise architecture practice with a cheap, homemade solution. The thinking is that once some value has been achieved, they may (maybe) graduate to a professional tool – that’s usually how the story goes. We believe it’s the wrong approach if you want to do real, meaningful work that makes an organization more competitive in the marketplace.

Nonetheless, this thinking is ubiquitous in business and responsible for many failed transformation initiatives. To debunk the notion once and for all, we decided to explain in the clearest terms possible why office tools cannot support a value-producing enterprise architecture practice.

Bizzdesign Enterprise Architecture tools vs Microsoft office
Bizzdesign Enterprise Architecture tools vs Microsoft Office

Bizzdesign and office tools

Bizzdesign and office tools
Here’s why office tools won’t work. Although office tools are invaluable for many tasks, they do not have specific designs to manage intricate enterprise architectures. Many organizations that initially opted for these tools encountered challenges that led them to seek specialized solutions later.

READ: Enterprise architecture buyer’s guide

Additionally, an organization might opt for office tools because of the perceived cost-saving. However, this viewpoint often neglects the long-term implications.

Using specialized ea tools has a cost. However, the long-term advantages outweigh the initial investment. These advantages include increased efficiency, value-driven outcomes, and alignment with business objectives. The value-driven results that specialized tools can deliver make them an investment worth considering.

Specialized enterprise architecture tools like Bizzdesign Horizzon bring far more than advanced features.

5 reasons you need to consider Bizzdesign vs Microsoft Office:

  1. Modeling and analysis
    We offer users a seamless, intuitive experience aiming to design and deploy architecture models. On the other hand, while Microsoft Office includes tools like Visio for diagramming, they aren’t specialized for enterprise architecture. Visio is versatile but lacks the dedicated features and functionalities that a focused tool like Bizzdesign provides. Models are much more than diagrams! A diagram is just a picture, but a model can be analyzed and visualized in different ways for various stakeholders.
  2. Support for disciplines
    Bizzdesign provides comprehensive support for various architectural disciplines like Enterprise Architecture, Data Architecture, Solution Architecture, and Business Process Management, among others. In contrast, while Microsoft Office tools are versatile, they don’t offer specialized support for these disciplines. For example, while one might use Excel for data representation or Word for documentation, they aren’t explicitly designed for architectural disciplines.
  3. Integration and collaboration
    Bizzdesign is built with collaboration in mind, allowing teams to work cohesively on architecture models and designs. Our enterprise architecture tool promotes real-time collaboration, versioning, and feedback. Microsoft Office tools, although equipped with collaboration features, especially in their Office 365 cloud version, are not tailored for architectural teamwork. The experience can be fragmented, especially when working on complex models.
  4. Scaling
    Bizzdesign is tailored for both small and expansive architecture models. This ensures that businesses of varying sizes, from startups to global corporations, can benefit from our tool without experiencing scalability issues. In comparison, while Microsoft Office tools are ubiquitous and widely used, they are general-purpose tools. Their scalability in the context of architectural models is limited, making Bizzdesign a more suitable choice for dedicated architecture design and scaling, both in terms of the size of your architectures and to support collaboration between many architects across multiple distributed teams.
  5. Customizability and specialized features
    Bizzdesign offers a range of customizable features tailored to the nuances of architecture design. From specialized templates to intricate design options, it caters to professionals in the field. Microsoft Office, being a suite of general-purpose tools, doesn’t offer this level of specialization. While they’re customizable to an extent, they lack the depth that Bizzdesign brings to the table.

Final word…

In conclusion, don’t leave your organization’s long-term success to chance. If you want to do a job right, especially if it is complex, use the right tool. Just like any other professional, enterprise architects and related roles require specialized tools to deliver results if you are to deliver on the promise of enterprise architecture.

Consider this: Does your Sales department use Microsoft Word to keep tabs and leads? Does Finance use the Word Windows calculator app for their work? Probably not.

The business reality is changing, and the ability to plan effectively for the future, make sound strategic decisions, and adopt and foster an agile enterprise is becoming more valuable by the day. The sooner you act on it, the more advantage you have over your competition.

About the author:

Marc Lankhorst is managing consultant and chief technology evangelist at Bizzdesign. He contributes to Bizzdesign’s vision, market development, consulting, and coaching on digital business design and enterprise architecture. He also spreads the word on the ArchiMate® language for enterprise architecture modeling,  the Open Group standard of which he has managed the development.