A Comparison of Xirocco & EA Tools

Few IT Strategy stories can be told without inclusion of some details on mission critical applications and IT infrastructure, especially those of interest to Management Boards due to their link to the four R’s - Revenue, Reputation, Regulation and Right to play. Applications and infrastructure architecture are mainstays of Enterprise Architecture and that respect, Xirocco has a small overlap with EA tools.

While EA tools offer in-depth design, planning and business-as-usual management and maintenance of technology solutions, Xirocco focuses more on creation, presentation and continuous management of a comprehensive, articulate and interconnected IT Strategy that goes beyond technology and includes all aspects of strategy, tailored to how Management Board and executive business leaders digest such information.

If you are in the market for an EA tool and have come across Xirocco, this comparison page may be helpful in determining if Xirocco is right for you. Depending on the complexity of your technology estate, Xirocco offers a set of foundational EA features that could meet your requirements. If you have existing and significant investments in EA tools, then Xirocco can connect to them via APIs to serve as a communication and presentation layer.

EA Tools
  • Summary

    EA tools help planning and managing complex IT estates through conceptual and logical diagrams of business processes, systems, information, data and their interdependencies. They perform detailed analysis, design, and implementation of IT infrastructure components and applications. EA tools conform to one or more of the industry standard frameworks such as TOGAF, Zachman and ArchiMate and focus on delivering blueprints for robust and maintainable systems, application, infrastructures, data models & data flow visualisations. Architects use EA tools to enforce principles of Systems Interoperability, Reusability, Extensibility, Encapsulation, Loose Coupling and Agility. 

    Outcomes of EA include:

    1. Lower software development, support, and maintenance costs (TCO)
    2. Increase portability of applications
    3. Improve interoperability and easier system and network management
    4. Reduced complexity in IT infrastructure
    5. Improved ability to address critical enterprise-wide issues 
    6. Easier upgrade and exchange of system components
    7. Enable flexibility to make, buy, or out-source IT solutions
    8. Reduced risk overall in new investment

    Xirocco helps organisations create, communicate and continuously manage a Business-linked IT Strategy that optimises the use of technology and budgets for business outcomes. It builds strategy by capturing and connecting current state health, business aspirations, trends / threats / opportunities, leadership vision, technology assets, talent, strategic projects, vendors and tech stacks, at a summary level, to influence Board-level decision making. It features an industry-first, best-practice IT Strategy Framework and Board-orientated rich interactive dashboards that empower IT Leadership teams to address any query from the Board. Xirocco is the digital glue between the Board, CIO, IT Leadership teams and CIO Advisories. Outcomes of Xirocco include:

    1. Deliver a business-linked IT Strategy 10x faster
    2. Collaborate to cocreate strategy with the Business and external advisories
    3. Drive IT Strategy jointly and continuously with the Business
    4. Achieve better overall IT Strategy quality and rigor
    5. Improve alignment between Business and IT and between Group IT and BU IT
    6. Drive better IT funding decisions
    7. Monitor strategy realisation and course-correct
    8. Visualise the value and impact of IT on the Business

  • Orientation

    Enterprise Architecture.

    IT Strategy.

  • Target Department

    Technology & Architecture.

    IT Leadership, Strategy Realisation Office, Office of the CIO.

  • Target Audience

    CTO, Enterprise Architect, Domain and Solution Architects, Application Portfolio Managers, Business Analysts.

    CIO, Head of IT Strategy, Board, Business & IT Leadership, Office of the CIO (OCIO), Strategy Realization Office (SRO), IT Sourcing, IT Finance, and IT HR.

    Will also benefit IT Business Partners and Delivery Heads.

  • Output

    Detailed architecture and technology landscape planning and execution, for use by specialists and practitioners of EA discipline.

    Business-linked IT Strategy for CIO and Board decision making.

  • Scope of Tool

    Business and technology architecture (conceptual, logical etc.).

    All components of IT Strategy at Board level, including IT diagnostics, business strategy, threat analysis, alignment, technology strategy, portfolio analysis, IT operating model, investment modelling, cost analysis, supplier analysis, talent, etc.

  • Presentation to Board

    Graphical outputs are not presentable to Boards/Senior Management, need to be wholly recreated in PowerPoint to achieve consultancy-grade look and feel that Management Boards are accustomed to.

    Rich, visual and interactive dashboards that are visually Board-ready out-of-the-box so no need to recreate in PowerPoint. Dashboards are designed to mimic how Boards think and interrogate strategy.

    Users can create custom, audience-specific presentations called narratives with drill through capabilities that can include proprietary material created outside Xirocco. When launched, these narratives draw on the most up-to-date underlying data to present current and relevant IT Strategy information.

  • One-Page Strategy

    Feature does not exist.

    Xirocco is the only tool that features a customisable, interactive One-Page Strategy (acknowledged by leading CIO advisories).

  • Collaboration

    Not available in in all EA tools.

    Xirocco allows internal and external collaboration. Your incumbent CIO advisor can participate in real-time to cocreate your strategy or passively observe and proactively intervene at specific trigger events.

  • IT Diagnostics

    Mostly technology health assessments focussed on Applications and IT Infrastructure.

    Holistic IT health diagnostic across multiple dimensions including technology, capabilities, maturity, finance, suppliers, talent etc. Includes both quantitative and qualitative methods given Boards prefer narrative and explanatory style of issues and consequences, that can be reviewed at own pace and inferences made ahead of meetings.

  • Group vs. Business Unit Strategy

    Feature does not exist.

    Xirocco allows creation of one or more IT Strategies per Business Unit, with individual Admins responsible for managing their own BU strategies while staying in alignment with Group and other BUs. Strategy created in Group can be disseminated (forced) into Business Unit strategies.

  • Horizon Scanning

    Feature does not exist.

    Xirocco allows strategists to perform horizon scanning, assess the findings, import relevant findings directly into the IT Strategy and assign ownership and response. The Xirocco product roadmap is seeking to apply AI in this space.

  • Strategic Artefact Diagramming

    Shapes (mostly rectangles) aligned to a predefined grid with connecting arrows, useful for detailed conceptual and logical diagrams depicting information flows and systems dependencies.

    Liberal, freehand canvases with rich collections of images, icons and shapes that allow creation of rich diagrams that bring strategy to life. User creativity rules, not system constraints. Elements from diagrams can be interlinked to create visual drill-throughs.

  • Feedback Loop

    Feature does not exist.

    Xirocco allows CIOs to demonstrate how their IT Strategy actually addresses the current issues at hand through a “loopback” feature.

  • Cost Optimisation

    Detailed TCO management of IT Infrastructure and Applications.

    Cost analysis across application TCO, projects, suppliers and talent. Xirocco helps reduce costs by identifying waste and better aligning Business, IT, Group, BUs and/or regions.

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