An architecture is typically developed because key people have concerns that need to be addressed by the business and IT systems within the organization. Such people are commonly referred to as the “stakeholders” in the system. The role of the architect is to address these concerns, by identifying and refining the requirements that the stakeholders have, developing views of the architecture that show how the concerns and the requirements are going to be addressed, and by showing the trade-offs that are going to be made in reconciling the potentially conflicting concerns of different stakeholders. Without the architecture, it is unlikely that all the concerns and requirements will be considered and met.
Architecture descriptions are formal descriptions of an information system, organized in a way that supports reasoning about the structural and behavioral properties of the system and its evolution. They define the components or building blocks that make up the overall information system, and provide a plan from which products can be procured, and subsystems developed, that will work together to implement the overall system. It thus enables you to manage your overall IT investment in a way that meets the needs of your business.
To provide a uniform representation for such architecture descriptions, the ArchiMate enterprise architecture modeling language has been developed. It offers an integrated architectural approach that describes and visualizes the different architecture domains and their underlying relations and dependencies. In a short time, ArchiMate has become the open standard for architecture modeling in the Netherlands, it is also fairly well known in the international enterprise architecture community, and recently it has been brought under the aegis of The Open Group.
ArchiMate is a lightweight and scalable language in several respects:
Its architecture framework is simple but comprehensive enough to provide a good structuring mechanism for architecture domains, layers, and aspects.
The language incorporates modern ideas of the “service orientation” paradigm that promotes a new organizing principle in terms of (business, application, and infrastructure) services for organizations, with far-reaching consequences for their enterprise architecture.
Although it intentionally resembles the Unified Modeling Language (UML), the ArchiMate modeling notation is intuitive and much lighter than currently proposed by UML 2.0. Nevertheless, the language is expressive enough to allow for the modeling of all layers (business, application, and technology infrastructure) and all aspects (structure, behavior, and information) of an organization in an integrated way.
The two enterprise architecture standards of The Open Group – TOGAF and ArchiMate – complement each other and can be used well in combination.
Finally, tool support for the ArchiMate language is already commercially available (from BiZZdesign, IDS Scheer, Casewise, Telelogic, and others).
The goal of this Technical Standard is to provide the first official and complete specification of the ArchiMate standard under the flag of The Open Group.
This specification contains the formal definition of ArchiMate as a visual design language with adequate concepts for specifying inter-related architectures, and specific viewpoints for selected stakeholders. This is complemented by some considerations regarding language extension mechanisms, analysis, and methodological support. Furthermore, this document is accompanied by a separate document, in which certification and governance procedures surrounding the specification are specified.
The intended audience of this Technical Standard is threefold:
Enterprise architecture practitioners, such as architects (application, information, process, infrastructure, products/services, and, obviously, enterprise architects), senior and operational management, project leaders, and anyone committed to work within the reference framework defined by the enterprise architecture. It is assumed that the reader has a certain skill level and is effectively committed to enterprise architecture. Such a person is most likely to be the architect – that is, someone who has affinity with modeling techniques, knows his way around the organization, and is familiar with information technology.
Those who intend to implement ArchiMate in a software tool. They will find a complete and detailed description of the language in this document.
The academic community, on which we rely for amending and improving the language based on state-of-the-art research results in the architecture field.
The structure of this Technical Standard is as follows:
Chapter 1, Introduction (this chapter)
Chapter 2, Enterprise Architecture, makes the case for enterprise architecture and for the necessity of a modeling standard for enterprise architecture.
Chapter 3, Language Structure, presents some general ideas, principles, and assumptions underlying the development of the ArchiMate metamodel and introduces the ArchiMate framework.
Chapter 4, Business Layer, covers the definition and usage of the business layer concept, together with examples.
Chapter 5, Application Layer, covers the definition and usage of the application layer concept, together with examples.
Chapter 6, Technology Layer, covers the definition and usage of the technical infrastructure layer concept, together with examples.
Chapters 7, Cross-Layer Dependencies, and Chapter 8, Relationships, cover the definition of relationship concepts in a similar way.
Chapter 9, Architecture Viewpoints, presents and clarifies a set of architecture viewpoints, developed in ArchiMate based on practical experience. All ArchiMate viewpoints are described in detail. For each viewpoint the comprised concepts and relations, the guidelines for the viewpoint use, and the goal and target group and of the viewpoint are specified. Furthermore, each viewpoint description contains example models.
Chapter 10, Language Extension Mechanisms, handles about extending and/or specializing the ArchiMate core language for specialized or domain-specific purposes.
Chapter 11, Future Directions, identifies extensions and directions for developments in the next versions of the language.
Downloads of the ArchiMate documentation, are available under license from the ArchiMate information web site. The license is free to any organization wishing to use ArchiMate entirely for internal purposes (for example, to develop an information system architecture for use within that organization). A book is also available (in hardcopy and pdf) from The Open Group Bookstore as document C091.