Enterprise Analysis

Archimate: A Service-Oriented Framework for Enterprise Architecture

ArchiMate is a modeling language for describing enterprise architectures which presents a clear set of concepts and relationships between architectures domains, and offers a simple and uniform structure for describing the content of these domains (The Open Group, 2009).

The language has been developed in the ArchiMate Project which lasted from July 2002 until December 2004 in a broad consortium from industry and academia (comprising ABN AMRO, Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst), Telematica Instituut, Ordina, the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI), the Leiden Institute for Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), and Radboud University Nijmegen ) with the aim of providing a visual design language with adequate concepts for specifying interrelated enterprise architectures. 

The design of the language has been guided by the issue that managing the complexity of the organizations requires the description of the language in terms of several domains of knowledge as well as the relations within these domains. Therefore, the main goal of the language is to promote the integration of the several viewpoints of the organization, albeit it is not intended to introduce a language that can replace all existing domain-specific languages. 

The central characteristic of the architecture is the service orientation. According to (Lankhorst, 2005), “services are defined as the unit of functionality that some entity (e.g. s system, organization or department) makes available to its environment and which has some value for certain entities in the environment (typically the “service users”)”. The service orientation proposed in the ArchiMate enables a layered view of the architectural models, where the concept of the service is one of the main linking between the different layers. The service layers which the services are made available to higher layers are interleaved with implementation layers that realize the services. Within a layer, there may also be internal services.

The language distinguishes three main layers (abstraction levels): the Business Layer which offers products and services to external customers realized by business processes executed by actors or roles; Application Layer which supports the business layer with software applications services; and Technology Layer which offers infrastructural services for software applications (composed by software systems, computer and communication devices). Each of these layers can be decomposed in sub-layers. However, the level of abstraction must be chosen according to stakeholders concerns. 

In the structural/behavioral dimension, the behavioral concepts are assigned to structural concepts to show who or what displays the behavior. The structural concepts are in turn refined in active structural elements (concepts which indeed display the behavior) and passive structural elements (objects in which the behavior is applied). For instance, in the business layer, roles, interfaces and collaborations (structural concepts) are assigned to business processes, business services and business interactions, (behavioral concepts) respectively. 

Concerning the second dimension, there is a distinction between the external view and internal view. The external view is concerned about the functionality (and its associated non-functional aspects) which are exposed to the environment, whereas the internal view refers to internal realization of the services. In the internal realization of the services, the behavior may be performed by an individual structural element (e.g. actor, role and component) or by a collective structural element (collaborations). From an external perspective, it is usually irrelevant whether a service is realized by individual or collective behavior. Services are accessed through interfaces, which constitute the external view of the structural aspects. 

The language puts emphasis on concepts which captures the design and realization of the organization, without however providing concepts for capturing the intentional aspect (goals, strategies, policies and so forth). This “intentional dimension” is indispensable in the sense that it captures the principles which govern the design process for creating the enterprise as well as the translation of the abstract definition to the actual architectural implementation.

by Evellin & Paulo

Telematica Instituut. 2009. Archimate Resource Tree. http://www.telin.nl/NetworkedBusiness/Archimate/ART/. [Online] 2009. .

The Open Group. 2009. What's ArchiMate. http://www.archimate.org/. [Online] 2009. http://www.archimate.org/en/about_archimate/what_is_archimate.html.

Lankhorst, Marc. 2005. Enterprise Architecture at Work - Modelling, Communication, and Analysis. s.l. : Springer-Verlag, 2005.

Important links for Archimate:



http://www.bizzdesign.nl/joomla/ (unfortunatelly, it is written in Dutch)


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