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 a 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 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 diagrams that describe enterprise architectures, 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.
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 the concepts 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.
The role of the ArchiMate standard is to provide a graphical language for the representation of enterprise architectures over time (i.e., including transformation and migration planning), as well as their motivation and rationale. The evolution of the standard is closely linked to the developments of the TOGAF standard and the emerging results from The Open Group forums and work groups active in this area. As a consequence, the ArchiMate standard does not provide its own set of defined terms, but rather follows those provided by the TOGAF standard.
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.
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 C13L.