ArchiMate® 3.0 – The Next Step in the Evolution of the Standard

Jun 14, 2016
Written by
Marc Lankhorst
Marc Lankhorst

ArchiMate® 3.0 – The Next Step in the Evolution of the Standard

On June 14, The Open Group launched the new version of the ArchiMate modeling language for enterprise architecture at the Enterprise Architecture Conference 2016 in London. This is a new step in the development of a standard that started in Netherlands, but in the meantime has received broad international acceptance.

Just like in the software world, UML has become the standard graphical modeling language, ArchiMate now holds that position for enterprise architecture: a standardized description technique that is the basis for a good tool box for the architect. Since early 2009, ArchiMate is an official standard of The Open Group. It is used by thousands of architects and supported by numerous suppliers of consultancy, software and training. BiZZdesign has been at the forefront of this development, so of course we want to keep you abreast of these developments.

So why is there a new version of ArchiMate? A standard for describing enterprise architectures must, of course, move with the times. In recent years we have seen a number of important trends in EA that also have an impact on the way you want to describe architectures. Two main developments are 1) the use of architecture in strategy execution and 2) the physical and IT world coming together in trends such as the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.

Figure 1. ArchiMate 3.0 Framework

Architecture as a strategic instrument

EA is becoming ever more relevant for ‘the business’. Where it used to be seen as something only for the IT department, more and more organizations have now discovered its value in realizing strategy. Moreover, the old separation between business and IT has gone, because IT has become core business for most organizations: many processes are fully automated; business intelligence directs decision-making; IT integration is a critical success factor in mergers and acquisitions; and digitization leads to new strategic options.
A well-integrated description of strategy and architecture is essential to understand the consequences of strategic choices. Moreover, architecture may help you to discover new strategic options, such as technological innovations that contribute to the digital transformation of your organization.

Important in strategic choices and other management decisions is a clear insight in the options and their consequences. Architecture models are an important source of information. Not only because they provide company-wide coherence and are used to assess the effects of changes, but also because they can form the backbone of many other analyses. Consider, for example, cost calculations, risk analyses or compliance checks. This helps managers to decide based on facts rather than on gut feeling.

This requires a clear description of the business strategy, the current and desired capabilities and resources of the organization, and the relationships with people, processes, information and systems. The new version of ArchiMate adds a number of concepts to model these strategic aspects, which help you to map the relationship between strategy and reality in a much clearer way. Frequently used techniques, such as capability-based planning, are now well-supported by the language. In a future blog, we will zoom in on these changes to support your strategy execution.

Technological innovation

New technological developments have a profound impact on the profession of the enterprise architect. The physical and IT worlds are becoming ever closer. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a key example, but we see that all kinds of physical systems and manufacturing processes are inseparably linked with IT. The ever-increasing digitization of manufacturing also an example of these developments, such as the ‘Smart Industry’ or ‘Industry 4.0’ concept of smart factories.

So far, ArchiMate lacked the concepts for modeling this physical world and was limited to the world of information systems. In the new version, different concepts have been added for modeling, for example, machines, materials and distribution networks. Those concepts are included in the language in such a way that it easy to describe the integration of physical facilities and IT systems, such as smart production systems or the ‘things’ of IoT. And, of course, more traditional physical systems can also be described in the context of an enterprise architecture. As with the description of software, it is not about the details of the implementation, but about the elements that are essential at this enterprise level and about their relationships with the rest of the architecture.

Again, we will show examples of the use of these concepts in future blogs. Watch this space for more!

Other improvements

In addition to these trends, of course, there are also many people who have contributed ideas for improvement to the language from their practical experience. The notation, coherence and flexibility of the language has been enhanced, as has its correspondence to other standards such as TOGAF. This increases the practical usability of the language, and we expect that the popularity of ArchiMate will grow even further.

Support by BiZZdesign

BiZZdesign sees open standards as very important for the development and maturation of our ‘business design’ disciplines, and has therefore been at the forefront of ArchiMate development ever since the language was first developed by the Telematica Instituut and its partners in 2002-2004. We have contributed extensively to the development of the standard within the ArchiMate Forum of The Open Group, and we are the first to implement this new version, in our newest release of Enterprise Studio.

More information

The ArchiMate 3.0 standard has been published on the website of The Open Group: A quick reference for the concepts of the standard can be downloaded here.

If you would like to see a demonstration of the ArchiMate support in Enterprise Studio (HoriZZon), you can schedule a demo here.