Background of ArchiMate Architecture
ArchiMate is a language designed to offer information technology architects, a common language for analyzing, visualizing, and describing enterprise architectures. The language had been under development since 2002, when “the Dutch Telematica Institute” in collaboration with various government organizations, enterprises, and research institutes (Peňa and Villalobos 80) founded it. Since its inception, the language has undergone various stages of growth, and has been adopted into many industries.
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The company began with ArchiMate 1.0, which became an ideal tool for delivering models founded on the “The Open Group’s global standard framework for enterprise architecture” (TOGAF) (Peňa and Villalobos 80). The current version is ArchiMate 2.0, which is more in alignment with TOGAF, making it possible for businesses and IT experts to collaborate information.
The language has proven ideal for a starting point “Model Driven Architecture” or (MDA) for any industry framework, since its design- and service-oriented perspective, have impeccable implementation on “Business Process Modeling Notation” (BPMN) and “Unified Modeling Language” (UML) (Iacob et al. 294).
The need to develop ArchiMate arose from the realization that business practices needed an integrated approach, where information technology and business practices were in harmony and linked. However, for many business enterprises, this integration was far from reality, posing major challenges to their organization functionality (Jonkers, Lankhorst and Proper 367).
This problem implied that changes within the business strategy and goals were neither effectively represented, nor managed by existing information technology. For such aspects to be represented there was need to develop enterprise architectures, to allow for the representation of core competencies, applications, products, business processes, infrastructure and any core aspects (Jonkers, Lankhorst and Proper 367).
Reports on ArchiMate
A critique of literature reveals that enterprise architecture is a vital instrument that can enable informed governance. This is through the creation of a relationship between concepts from the various business domains like process, strategy, information, and applications. However, such needs imply that the EA model becomes complex owing to the heterogeneous nature of these relationships. Therefore, any architecture language designed to handle EA must be integrative in nature to link these heterogeneous relationships.
For this reason, to determine the effective application of enterprise architecture, it is important to analyze the architecture in term for its ability to meet desired future states. This implies that the enterprise architecture model must be coherent, be specific and detailed.
This requirement is “the need for more coarse grained modeling languages used at the level of specific development projects, such as UML and BPMN” (Jonkers, Lankhorst and Proper 367). Based on this need, the report decided to analyze critically, ArchiMate language by looking at its documentation, key design principles, and decisions (Jonkers, Lankhorst and Proper 368).
The analysis carried out shows that ArchiMate is a language that is designed with the graphical capability to adapt to industrial semantics (Jonkers, Lankhorst and Proper 369). This capability makes it possible for architects to analyze and evaluate architectures and outcomes and develop consistent support tools.
The language is designed to increase interoperability and assist architects develop a common language across the industries, and raise value and awareness on the enterprise architecture discipline.
Moreover, ArchiMate documentation, key design principles, and decisions, make it a complement of other EA languages, such as UML, Zachman framework and TOGAF (Jonkers, Lankhorst and Proper 369). This is because ArchiMate performs EA best practices while, constructing, visualizing and analyzing EA as UML, Zachman framework and TOGAF do.
A second report analyzed shows that one of the central ideas behind ArchiMate was the ability of the model to play an important role, both as the starting point for driven developments (covers CIM level for MDA) and for keeping the relations between various design models, in different languages (Iacob and Jonkers 1). This article shows that the ArchiMate language is suitable as enterprise architecture, since it can cover a wide range of aspects.
The architecture is purposely designed to handle; technical infrastructure layers, software applications, and the business processes supported by the various applications (Iacob and Jonkers 3).
Therefore, ArchiMate can integrate these aspects, since it is a modeling language founded on tool and conceptual model integration (Iacob and Jonkers 4). Research identifies this characteristic as a factor that makes the language advantageous over other modeling languages like “Unified Modelling Language” (UML), which are found within a domain (Alsaadi 3).
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Moreover, research finds that ArchiMate is a language, which can define elements in an enterprise at a higher level of abstraction, and pay attention to the relationship between elements (Iacob and Jonkers 6). The research carried out by Iacob and Jonkers (2007) sought to define the process of model integration for ArchiMate, and found that the language uses integration of detailed designs to visualize, and analyze enterprise architectures (Iacob and Jonkers 6).
The report showed that this process is by the transformation process, since the language has plenty of quantifiable attributes. This process uses the meta-model where modeling concepts are stacked in triangular architectural layers. At the base are the concepts used by organizations, along with any existing modeling language. The second layer is made up of all the enterprise architecture concepts, and the last layer is made up of generic concepts (Iacob and Jonkers 7).
A rich scholarly background shows the complex nature of enterprise architecture (EA) and the difficulty of making languages to support EA. The research carried by Peňa and Villalobos in 2010 shows that ArchiMate is an “Architecture Description Language (ADL)” which offers architects predefined viewpoints, which model EA and increase communication between IT and business through a common language (Peňa and Villalobos 81).
This aspect represents the best practice of EA. Despite this important function, the research by Peňa and Villalobos in (2010) finds that ArchiMate cannot be simply customized or allow the creation or addition of new viewpoints in new domains, which turns out to be a limitation of the language (82).
Additionally, the same study also shows that ArchiMate was designed to factor in the various frameworks for EA (Peňa and Villalobos 83). The language is founded on; the set of viewpoints, process of developing architectures based on techniques, guidelines, and best practices (Peňa and Villalobos 83).
Moreover, the language is founded on the frameworks of language description architecture, which defines relationships and concepts and the concept of architecture repository with predefined artifacts and models (Peňa and Villalobos 83).
To meet these frameworks, the report shows that ArchiMate was designed by TOGAF through the process of “Architecture Development Method” (ADM), to describe techniques, reference models, and viewpoints (Peňa and Villalobos 85). Overall, the report finds that ArchiMate is a useful language for EA since it describes viewpoints, worked out language that offers a concrete visualization, and has a graphical notation (Peňa and Villalobos 85).
Akehurst et al. (2010) discussed the importance of viewpoints in EA, as they assist in defining abstractions on a set of models, which represent EA (201). The aim of viewpoints is to meet the needs of each stakeholder and address a set of concerns. This function makes the consideration of viewpoints vital in analyzing the applicability of any language to EA.
Akehurst et al. (2010) described that for any language to be viewpoint-oriented, architects need to use a tool environment, which will support the definition, editing, generation, and management of architecture (201). This report realized that ArchiMate employed the use of model integration in different domain specifics, by mapping EA (Akehurst et al. 202). For this language, viewpoints are created and specified through the model transformation method, which is also identified by Iacob and Jonkers (2007).
The research carried out by Akehurst et al. (2010) realized that it is possible to create a tool environment for viewpoint specification with ArchiMate, by using two separate prototypes, based on editing and visualization of views founded on ArchiMate concepts and on the execution and specification of transformations (211).
The report recommends ArchiMate as a viable language for creating and defining viewpoints for EA since it makes it possible for the creation of a tool environment, which works with existing domain-specific modeling tools (Akehurst et al. 211). This report advocates for the use of viewpoints since they assist in the management of the inherent complex issues of EA.
These reports therefore, show that ArchiMate is a language that offers many benefits to EA. The visualization, definition, benefits, and analysis aspects of ArchiMate 2.0 are in the report of Newswire PR (2012), which shows that the language supports the management and preparation of business change, outsourcing scenarios, program, portfolio, and application rationalization better (1).
The current version of ArchiMate is proving to perform business and cost analysis calculations, model stakeholders, business goals, drivers of change, and principles (Newswire PR 1). In addition, the language is offering businesses the ability to implement extensions that support project portfolios, transition, and gap analysis (Newswire PR 1).
Architects find the language useful as it makes it offers additional updates on the previous version. Moreover, the language has different certifications for different users, these include, individual certification, open group training accreditation, and tool certification program (Newswire 1).
A report presented to a conference in Sweden by TOGAF, in 2011, showed that ArchiMate is based on three approaches: (1) language architectural descriptions, (2) framework describing viewpoints, and (3) method of constructing architectures (TOGAF 1).
The conference report used real life cases to prove that ArchiMate recent updates are functional. TOGAF added two extensions to motivate the model to carry out the best practices of goals, business requirements, and principles, and migrate and implement planning (TOGAF 1).
The presentation used the real-life case of portfolio rationalization for post-merger insurance company, where ArchiMate; (1) ArchiMate and TOGAF offer a complete and comprehensive approach to enterprise architecture, (2) ArchiMate enables modeling deliverables described by TOGAF, (3) the language’s extensions and core cover all aspects of TOGAF (TOGAF 1).
Upon reviewing the different analysis carried out by literature on ArchiMate, this research identifies several strengths and weaknesses of the language. ArchiMate is more stable than UML, Zachman framework and TOGAF since it complements these languages. ArchiMate is therefore, the first EA modeling language that meets several aspects of EA supports visualization, offers stakeholders viewpoints and allows for the specification of stakeholder perspectives, allows interrelation of domains.
In addition, ArchiMate is an open language, as it is designed by TOGAF to be a non-proprietary language making it applicable in all industries. The language has proven to be applicable and credible, since it is founded on the IEEE 1471 international standards (IEEE 4). The language is simple and light as compared to UML, Zachman, and TOGAF, but is scalable and comprehensive in several respects (TOGAF 1).
The language though resembles UML, it is intuitive and lighter to UML for it is smaller (Alsaadi 3), allows for the modeling of all layers and aspects of an organization in an integrative manner (TOGAF 2). As compared to the three languages, ArchiMate incorporates the modern idea of “Service Orientation” easily, which promotes the organization principle of; business, infrastructure, and application) for any service organization with far reaching outcomes (TOGAF 2).
There are several weaknesses of ArchiMate, as identified from literature. ArchiMate lacks a foundation since it is not based on an appropriate and rigorous theory, as other languages are (Albani and Dietz 185). This implies that its semantics are undefined, which allows for miscommunication between users to occur, which is a deviation from the open standard approach (Albani and Dietz 185).
Moreover, ArchiMate is a second wave language, and therefore it cannot make a distinction between datalogical and fological issues within the business layer (Albani and Dietz 185). On the other hand, Peňa and Villalobos (2010) find that ArchiMate cannot be simply customized to allow the creation of new viewpoints in new domains (81).
Overall, the review of reports proves that ArchiMate is a language that can effectively support enterprise architecture since it meets the best practices of linking the business processes and information technology. The language is advantageous over other EA languages since it is integrative-, service- and design-oriented.
The language is a complement of UML, Zachman, and TOGAF ADM, since it increases the representation of applications, business processes, products, visualization, description, and viewpoints. However, the language has inherent weaknesses, as it cannot allow communication between users as it lacks the definition of semantics.
Akehurst, David H., Lankhorst Marc M., Steen Maarten W.A., terDoest ,Hugo W.L. “Supporting Viewpoint-Oriented Enterprise Architecture.” Telematica Instituut, The Netherlands (2004).
Alsaadi, Ahmad. “A performance analysis approach based on the UML class diagram.” ACM SIGSOFT software engineering notes, 29.1 (2004).
Albani, Antonia and Dietz, Jan L.G. Advances in Enterprise Engineering III: 5th International Workshop, CIAO! 2009, and 5th International Workshop, EOMAS 2009, Held at CAiSE 2009, … Notes in Business Information Processing. U.K: Springer, 2009. Print.
Iacob, Maria-Eugenia, Jonkers Henk, Lankhorst Marc, Proper Erik, and Quartel Dick, A.C. “ArchiMate(R) for Integrated Modelling Throughout the Architecture Development and Implementation Cycle.” Commerce and Enterprise Computing, 2011 IEEE 13th Conference Sept. (2011), 294-301.
Iacob, Maria-Eugenia, and Jonkers Henk. “Quantitative Analysis of Service-Oriented Architectures.” International Journal of Enterprise Information Systems, 3.1 (2007): 42-60.
IEEE. “IEEE standard 1471-2000: Recommended practice for architectural description of software-intensive systems.” IEEE, 2000.
Jonkers, Henk, Lankhorst Marc, and Proper Erik. “The Architecture of the ArchiMate Language.” Enterprise, Business-Process and Information Systems Modeling, Lecture notes in Business Information Processing, 29.12 (2009): 367-380.
Newswire PR. “The Open Group Releases ArchiMate(R) 2.0 for Better IT/Business Collaboration Across the Enterprise: Open and Independent Modeling Language Now Aligns More Closely with TOGAF(R).” Business and Economics, Newswire PR, 31st January 2012.
Peňa, Castellanons and Villalobos Jorge. “An MDE Approach to Design Enterprise Architecture Viewpoints.” Commerce and Enterprise Computing, 2010 IEEE 12th Conference 10-12 Nov. (2010): 80-87.
TOGAF (The Open Group). ArchiMate 1.0 Specification. Netherlands: Van Haren Publishing, 2009. Print.