ArchiMate: A Quick Overview

ArchiMate: A Quick Overview


In the intricate world of Enterprise Architecture, where complex structures and relationships define the landscape, a common language is crucial. Enter ArchiMate, an open and independent modeling language designed to be the linchpin for Enterprise Architects. In this quick overview, we’ll delve into the basics of the ArchiMate Specification, its evolution, and its role in shaping the field of Enterprise Architecture.

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Understanding ArchiMate: The Foundation of Enterprise Modeling

ArchiMate, an Open Group Standard, provides a standardized way for Enterprise Architects to describe, analyze, and visualize relationships within and between various architecture domains. Much like an architectural drawing guides the construction and use of a building, ArchiMate serves as a universal language for delineating business processes, organizational structures, information flows, IT systems, and the broader technical and physical infrastructure.

The ArchiMate 3.0 Specification: A Leap Forward

The ArchiMate 3.0 Specification, a significant upgrade from its predecessor, introduces key elements for modeling at a strategic level. Concepts like capability, resource, and outcome now find their place in the modeling landscape. The update also incorporates support for modeling the physical realm, including materials and equipment. Enhancements in language consistency, alignment with other standards, and improved usability further distinguish Version 3.0 as a comprehensive tool for Enterprise Architects.

Origin Story: Telematica Instituut and The Open Group Collaboration

The roots of ArchiMate trace back to the early 2000s when a project team from the Telematica Instituut in the Netherlands collaborated with government, industry, and academia partners. Notable contributors included Ordina, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Leiden Institute for Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), and the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI). Tests in prominent organizations like ABN AMRO and the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration laid the foundation for ArchiMate’s development.

In 2008, the ownership and stewardship of ArchiMate transitioned to The Open Group, marking a pivotal moment in its journey. Since then, The Open Group ArchiMate Forum has spearheaded continuous development and released successive versions, ensuring the language’s relevance and adaptability.

ArchiMate in Action: Unifying Enterprise Architecture

ArchiMate’s primary role is to offer a graphical language for representing Enterprise Architectures across time, encompassing strategic, transformation, and migration planning. By providing a uniform representation for diagrams describing Enterprise Architectures, ArchiMate enables an integrated approach to showcase different architecture domains, their relationships, and dependencies.

ArchiMate’s design philosophy centers on simplicity without compromising usability. Starting from a set of generic concepts, the language was specialized for various architectural layers. The deliberate constraint was to keep the language as compact as possible while remaining effective for the majority of Enterprise Architecture modeling tasks. This ensures that ArchiMate remains a powerful yet accessible tool for Enterprise Architects, striking a balance between complexity and practicality.


ArchiMate, an Open Group Standard, serves as a foundational modeling language for Enterprise Architecture. It empowers architects to describe, analyze, and visualize relationships within and between diverse architecture domains. The ArchiMate 3.0 Specification, a major upgrade, introduces strategic modeling elements and enhances usability. Its journey began in the early 2000s in the Netherlands, developed by a collaborative team from the Telematica Instituut. Ownership transitioned to The Open Group in 2008, paving the way for continuous refinement.

ArchiMate plays a crucial role in unifying Enterprise Architecture by providing a graphical language for representation across time. It balances simplicity and effectiveness, offering a compact yet powerful tool for architects. From generic concepts, it specializes for different architectural layers, ensuring applicability to the proverbial 80% of practical cases. ArchiMate stands as a testament to collaboration, transcending organizational boundaries, and fostering effective communication in the dynamic realm of Enterprise Architecture.

ArchiMate stands as a testament to the collaborative spirit of the Enterprise Architecture community. From its humble beginnings in the Netherlands to its evolution under The Open Group, ArchiMate continues to be a cornerstone in the world of Enterprise Architecture, providing a shared language that transcends organizational boundaries and fosters effective communication and decision-making.


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