System Architect

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Unicom System Architect is an enterprise architecture tool that is used by the business and technology departments of corporations and government agencies to model their business operations and the systems, applications, and databases that support them. System Architect is used to build architectures using various frameworks including TOGAF, ArchiMate, DoDAF, MODAF and NAF. System Architect is developed by UNICOM Systems, a division of UNICOM Global, a United States-based company.

UNICOM System Architect
Unicom Systems corporate logo
Screen shot of IBM System Architect software
System Architect with Heatmap, BPMN and Network Diagrams Open and Browsed
Developer(s)UNICOM Systems, a division of UNICOM Global
Stable release
Version / Released May 1, 2020 available on UNICOM support portal:
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows


Enterprise architecture (EA) is a mechanism for understanding all aspects of the organization, and planning for change. Those aspects include business transformation, business process rationalization, business or capability-driven solution development, application rationalization, transformation of IT to the cloud, server consolidation, service management and deployment, building systems of systems architectures, and so forth. Most simply, users use EA and System Architect to build diagrammatic and textual models of any and all aspects of their organization, including the who, what, where, when, why, and how things are done so they can understand the current situation, and plan for the future. Parts of the EA can be harvested from existing sources of information in the organization—auto-discovery of network architectures, database architectures, etc. The users building the models are typically enterprise architects, business architects, business analysts, data architects, software architects, and so forth. This information can be viewed by all stakeholders of the organization — including its workers, management, and outside vendors (depending on the level of access they have been granted to the information), through generation of the information to a static website, or enabling direct web-access to the information in the repository. The stakeholders can use this information to get answers to questions about the organization's architecture in the form of visual diagrams and reports that produce textual information, pie charts, and other dashboards.

System Architect is widely used in developing defense architectures. The Architecture Development and Analysis Survey, conducted by MITRE Corporation for the US Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks & Information Integration (OASD NII) and revealed at the CISA worldwide conference on December 1, 2005, reported that out of 96 programs building DoDAF architectures responding to the survey, 77% used System Architect, either by itself (48%) or in conjunction with another modeling tool (29%).[1]

System Architect has been referenced in textbooks written in the field of enterprise architecture, UML, and data modeling, and was also used to build some or all of the models that appear in some of these books.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


System Architect was initially created and developed by Jan Popkin under the auspices of Popkin Software. System Architect was one of the first Windows-based computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools[citation needed]. It evolved through the years to become an enterprise architecture modeling tool — one that enables the end user to utilize many notations and methods to model aspects of their organization in a repository, and disseminate this information to a large audience.

Telelogic acquired Popkin Software in April, 2005[8] and IBM acquired Telelogic in 2008. After acquisition of Telelogic, IBM included System Architect (and all other Telelogic products) in the Rational division, named after Rational Software, which it acquired in 2003.[9] On January 1, 2016, IBM announced that UNICOM Global had acquired System Architect from IBM, and that its core development and support team, which originated at Popkin Software, was joining UNICOM Systems to continue to build the product line.[10]


System Architect includes support for:

Technical overviewEdit

Graphic models and their underlying information are created and stored in a relational database in either SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, Oracle 10G, or SQL Server 2005 Express. For SQL Server, the information is stored in a database on the server; this database is considered a repository of information and in System Architect parlance is called an encyclopedia. For Oracle, the repository, or ‘encyclopedia’, is a schema on the Oracle database server.

Users build the models working together in teams on the network. In this multi-user environment, as one user opens a model artifact to edit it, other users get a read-only version of this artifact. Options exist to enable users to check out multiple artifacts so that they can work on sections of the architecture without anyone else modifying it while they work on it, and administrators to freeze artifacts so that they are ‘set in stone’. Users may also work in a stand-alone configuration using SQL Server 2005 Express on their laptop or workstation.

A SQL-based query reporting language enables users to build and run reports to answer questions about the information they have modeled, such as what business processes are related to what organizational goals, what applications are used to perform what business processes, what business processes operate on what data entities, what user has modified what information on what date, and so forth.

The information captured in the repository is done so against a metamodel that acts as a template for information to capture and how it is all related. Users may customize this meta model, to change or add to the template of information they wish to capture and how things are interrelated.

Models are typically published to a website so that they can be viewed by a wide audience. An add-on tool called SA/Publisher is used to publish websites based on SQL-based queries of the repository using System Architect’s reporting language.

System Architect DoDAF, UAF, MODAF, and NAFEdit

System Architect provides support for the diagrams, matrices, and work products required to be captured for the US Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF) version 2.02 (as well as features of the never-officially-released 2.03 version), the Unified Architecture Framework (UAF), the NATO Architecture Framework (NAF) version 3, older versions of DoDAF -- DoDAF 1.5 standard and DoDAF 1.5 ABM (supporting the Activity Based Method as specified by MITRE), and the UK Ministry of Defence Architecture Framework (MODAF).

System Architect ArchiMateEdit

Starting with release, System Architect has native support for ArchiMate 3.0 through a licensed add-on. This is a different add-on than a "Ready For Rational" plugin produced by IBM Business Partner Corso for the ArchiMate 2.0 language.


System Architect XT (where XT denotes eXtended Team) is a sister product to System Architect rich client, providing a pure web interface to read and write access to the repository via a browser. SA XT enables remote users with a web browser to browse the repository, run reports against it to ask it questions, and add information into it, including adding definition information, and editing or creating diagrams.


  1. ^ The US Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (NII) Architecture Development and Analysis Survey, conducted by MITRE Corporation, and presented at the CISA worldwide conference on December 1, 2005.
  2. ^ Goikoetxea, Dr. Ambrose, PhD. Enterprise Architectures: Planning, Design, and Assessment. ISBN 978-981-270-027-8.
  3. ^ Whitten, Jeffrey L.; Lonnie D. Bentley; Kevin C. Dittman. Systems Analysis and Design Methods. ISBN 0-256-19906-X.
  4. ^ Chonoles, Michael Jesse; James A. Schardt. UML for Dummies. ISBN 0-7645-2614-6.
  5. ^ Pender, Tom. UML Bible. ISBN 0-7645-2604-9.
  6. ^ Bahrami, Ali. Object-Oriented Systems Development: Using the Unified Modeling Language. ISBN 0-07-234966-2.
  7. ^ Pender, Tom. UML Crash Course. ISBN 0-7645-4910-3.
  8. ^ "Telelogic acquires Popkin". Government Computer News.
  9. ^ "IBM Completed Acquisition of Rational Software in 2003". IBM website.
  10. ^ "UNICOM® Global Acquires IBM® Rational® System Architect from IBM Corp". UNICOM Systems website.

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