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erwin Expert Blog Enterprise Architecture

What is ArchiMate? Top 6 ArchiMate Benefits

ArchiMate is an enterprise architecture (EA) modeling language from The Open Group that is used to communicate an organization’s enterprise architecture.

In this post:

What is ArchiMate?

Pronounced “AR-ki-mayt”, the modeling language’s name comes from a compounding of “architecture” and “animate.” The name conveys its aim to provide a way to visualize an organization’s EA.

Unlike other modeling languages such as Unified Modeling Language (UML) and Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN), ArchiMate is designed to be narrow in its scope. The idea being that this makes the standard easier to learn and apply.

It’s narrow scope and ease of understanding could well be the driving force behind ArchiMate’s adoption within the enterprise architecture space.

Additionally, ArchiMate is often seen as a source of great background knowledge for enterprise architecture learning resources for anyone working towards becoming an enterprise architect.

Top 6 ArchiMate Benefits

Some of the key benefits of ArchiMate are:

  • It is an independent and consistent modeling language, meaning organizations and their enterprise architecture projects aren’t tied to vendor-specific tools or individual architects.
  • Its narrow scope and carefully developed concepts combine to provide organizations clear and actionable insight into their enterprise architectures.
  • Its narrow scope makes it easier to learn, and many enterprise architects use ArchiMate as a way to learn more about EA in general.
  • Its place under the Open Group umbrella means it is well integrated with the popular architecture framework, TOGAF.
  • It was designed to share concepts with existing modeling languages including UML and BPMN, and it can work as a bridge between them.
  • It’s tried and tested from an enterprise perspective and an in-demand certification for enterprise architects, so there are relatively low risks associated with adopting it.

ArchiMate in Practice

With ArchiMate, users have a common language through which they can discuss an organization’s business processes, organizational structures, systems and infrastructure.

By establishing a recognized standard to describe, analyze and map out an organization’s EA, organizations can limit the misunderstandings and ambiguity.

Such standardization is an important factor in ensuring consistency between departments, projects and even enterprise architects themselves.

It means that stakeholders can more easily acknowledge, understand and mitigate the consequences of making changes to an organization’s systems or structure.

Parallels can be found in construction, where enterprise architecture’s nomenclature is derived. As with enterprise architecture, architects in the construction space build and label diagrams based on pre-established frameworks.

This means that the project can be reviewed by different stakeholders, and the diagrams can be untethered from any one architect.

As well as insulating the project from stalling should the/an architect leave, the approach speeds up time-to-markets by making communication more efficient.

How it Works

With ArchiMate, organizations can use visual notations as a representation of their EA over time, by using “layers” and “aspects.”

ArchiMate Specification - Aspects & Layers

Layers:

Layers are broken down into business (yellow), application (blue) and technology (green), and in each layer, three aspects are noted.

Aspects:

  1. Active structure elements can be subdivided into internal and external elements.
    1. Internal active structure elements are subjects that can perform behavior.
    2. External active elements represent a point of access where one or more services are provided to the environment.
  2. Behavior elements can also be subdivided into internal and external elements.
    1. Internal behavior elements represent a unit of activity that can be performed by one or more active structure elements.
    2. External behavior elements, called a service, represent an explicitly defined exposed behavior.
  3. Passive structure elements represent an element on which a behavior is performed.

The framework is populated with “concepts,” which act as visual indications of the nature of elements.

The following is an example of an ArchiMate Core Metamodel, demonstrating how concepts are structured across aspects and layers:

ArchiMate Core Metamodel
ArchiMate 3.0.1 Core Metamodel

 

Getting ArchiMate Certified

As with The Open Group’s Architecture Framework (TOGAF), a certification program is available for ArchiMate users.

The certification program helps maintain the standard and instills organizations with greater confidence in the enterprise architects they employ or contract.

Due to ArchiMate’s recognition within the EA discipline, ArchiMate certified architects are in greater demand and can command better salaries.

The Open Group have a number of resources that address how you can obtain an ArchiMate accreditation.

The erwin Expert Guide to Enterprise Architecture

Although ArchiMate helps standardize the language we use to describe an organization’s enterprise architecture, it’s just one piece of the puzzle.

The benefits of implementing an enterprise architecture management suite (EAMS)  go beyond just the benefits of using the ArchiMate modeling language.

With an EAMS, organizations can introduce more structure into the way they manage EA. Frameworks and common modeling languages help introduce efficiency, enable agility and improve collaboration.

Some enterprise architecture tools come with an array of collaborative features that make ad-hoc collaboration such as sharing PDFs look primitive in comparison.

For a more complete understanding of enterprise architecture, including its implementation and its benefits, get the erwin Expert’s Guide to Enterprise Architecture.

Categories
erwin Expert Blog Enterprise Architecture

What Is TOGAF? The Open Group Architecture Framework

Categories
erwin Expert Blog Enterprise Architecture

Types of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks: ArchiMate, TOGAF, DoDAF and more

In enterprise architecture, there are a number of different types of enterprise architecture frameworks, tailored to meet specific business and/or industry needs.

What is an Enterprise Architecture Framework?

An enterprise architecture framework is a standardized methodology that organizations use to create, describe and change their enterprise architectures.

Enterprise architecture (EA) itself describes the blueprint and structure of an organization’s systems and assets. It’s needed to make informed changes that help bridge the gap between the enterprise architecture’s current and desired future state.

Just like any building or infrastructure project, EA has different stakeholders and plan views.

You wouldn’t build a house without understanding the building’s architecture, plumbing, electrical and ground plans all within the context of each other.

So enterprise architecture provides the plans for different views of the enterprise, and EA frameworks describe the standard views an organization can expect to see.

What Makes Up An Enterprise Architecture Framework?

The EA discipline views an organization as having complex and intertwined systems. Effective management of such complexity and scale requires tools and approaches that architects can use.

An enterprise architecture framework provides the tools and approaches to abstract this information to a level of detail that is manageable. It helps bring enterprise design tasks into focus and produces valuable architecture documentation.

The components of an enterprise architecture framework provide structured guidance for four main areas:

1. Architecture description – How to document the enterprise as a system from different viewpoints

Each view describes one domain of the architecture; it includes those meta-types and associations that address particular concerns of interest to particular stakeholders; it may take the form of a list, a table, a chart, a diagram or a higher level composite of such.

2. Architecture notation – How to visualize the enterprise in a standard manner

Each view can be represented by a standard depiction that is understandable and communicable to all stakeholders. One such notation is ArchiMate from The Open Group.

3. Design method – The processes that architects follow

Usually, an overarching enterprise architecture process, composed of phases, breaks into lower-level processes composed of finer grained activities.

A process is defined by its objectives, inputs, phases (steps or activities) and outputs. Approaches, techniques, tools, principles, rules and practices may support it. Agile architecture is one set of supporting techniques.

4. Team organization – The guidance on the team structure, governance, skills, experience and training needed

Kanban boards and agile architecture can help provide team structure, governance and best practices.

Types of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks

There are a number of different types of enterprise architecture frameworks. Here are some of the most popular:

ArchiMate

An Open Group architecture framework this is widely used and includes a notation for visualizing architecture. It may be used in conjunction with TOGAF.

TOGAF

The Open Group Architecture Framework that is widely used and includes an architectural development method and standards for describing various types of architecture.

DODAF

The Department of Defense Architecture Framework that is the standard for defense architectures in the United States.

MODAF

The Ministry of Defense Architecture Framework that is the standard for defense architectures in the United Kingdom.

NAF

The NATO Architecture Framework that is the standard adopted by NATO allies.

FEAF

A Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework issued by the U.S. CIO Council. FEA, the Federal Enterprise Architecture, provides guidance on categorizing and grouping IT investments as issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Zachman Framework

A classification scheme for EA artifacts launched in the early 1980s by John Zachman, who is considered the father of EA.

TM FORUM

Telemanagement Forum is the standard reference mode for telecommunication companies.

Enterprise architecutre frameworks: The Zachman Framework

What’s the Best Enterprise Architecture Framework?

Although this might be somewhat of a non-answer, it’s the only one that rings true: the best enterprise architecture framework is the one that’s most relevant to your organization, and what you’re trying to achieve.

Each different type of enterprise architecture framework has its particular benefits and focus. For example, there are types of enterprise architecture frameworks best suited for organizations concerned with defense.

Having a good understanding of what the different types of EA framework are, can help an organization better understand better understand which EA framework to apply.

Ultimately, organizations will benefit most, from an enterprise architecture management system (EAMS) that supports multiple EA frameworks. This way, the most relevant enterprise architecture framework is always available.

How to Implement an Enterprise Architecture Framework

So you’ve established you need an enterprise architecture framework and assessed the different types of enterprise architecture frameworks, but how should you go about implementing and managing your chosen framework?

The answer? Using an enterprise architecture management suite (EAMS).

An EAMS is used to facilitate the management of an organization’s EA. It adds uniformity and structure, whereas many organizations had previously taken an ad-hoc approach.

And enterprise architecture tools are becoming increasingly important.

Thanks to the rate of digital transformation and the increasing abundance of data organizations have to manage, organizations need more mature, formal approaches to enterprise architecture.

Organization’s seeking to introduce an EAMS, should evaluate which frameworks the technology supports.

With erwin Evolve, users can expect a wide range of support for different types of enterprise architecture frameworks among other benefits, such as:

  • Remote collaboration
  • High-performance, scalable and centralized repository
  • Ability to harmonize EA and business process use cases, with a robust, flexible and Web-based modeling and diagramming interface

erwin Evolve was included in Forrester’s “Now Tech: Enterprise Architecture Management Suites for Q1 2020” report.

To understand why erwin excels in the large vendor category, you can see for yourself by starting a free trial of erwin’s Enterprise Architecture & Business Process Modeling Software.

EA Tool with support for enterprise architecture frameworks

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