ArchiMate core - Overview

Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk
Posted by Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk on Apr 17, 2012

Enterprise Architecture, ArchiMate

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Enterprise Architecture is the strategic discipline that helps organizations to answer the question: How should we organize ourselves? Modeling plays an important role in doing so, and ArchiMate is quickly becoming the de facto standard for enterprise (architecture) modeling.

This is the first posting in a series on the ArchiMate language. Our goal with this series is to give an overview of the language as well as to provide tips and tricks to start using the language. We aim to make the series useful for both novice and advanced ArchiMate users. The first few postings in the series are intended as a general overview of the language. The later posts provide more practical tips.



The ArchiMate language was developed from 2002-2004 by a large consortium of universities and partners from industry – including BiZZdesign – in the Netherlands. The first specification of the language was published in the book Enterprise Architecture at Work and the first native tool implementation was BiZZdesign Architect. Since then, a lot has happened. By now the language has been adopted by the Open Group (2009) and was further aligned with TOGAF, the Open Groups’ Architecture Framework. This has lead to a second version of this language that was published earlier this year. In this new version two extensions were added to the Archimate core. Also, more and more tools have been developed that support the ArchiMate language. We are proud to announce that Architect was one of the first to fully implement ArchiMate 2.0. 

Overview of the series

This series will cover many different topics as illustrated by the figure at the beginning of this post:

  • Core Framework
    In this posting we will explain the basic framework behind the core of the language. We explain the three layers (business/ application/ technology) as well as explain the distinction between active structure elements, behavior elements, and passive structure. Last but not least, we will discuss how the two new ArchiMate extensions help to align ArchiMate with TOGAF.
  • Core concepts
    In the next posting we will give a high level overview of the core concepts of the language. This should give readers a good start in learning about the language. We will cover concepts from each of the three layers, and will also include some of the more complex concepts such as collaboration and interaction.
  • Extensions
    In the extensions posting we dive into the motivation extension and the implementation and migration extension, explaining its concepts, relations, and use.
  • Tailoring ArchiMate
    In the fifth posting of the series we dive into the issue of tailoring the framework for use in your own organization. This includes the ArchiMate extension mechanisms, tips for leaving out some concepts when starting to use the language, as well as tips for introducing the language in your own organization.
  • Viewpoints
    Architecture work is all about communication. Tailoring the message for key stakeholders is essential for an effective architecture practice. The need for effective communication is addressed by the view/viewpoint mechanism. In this posting we will cover this mechanism as well as present best practices for visualization.
  • Patterns
    In this post we will present several common ArchiMate patterns that we’ve come across over the last few years. We will also explain how organizations can effectively leverage these (or self-developed!) patterns to improve the Architecture practice.
  • Wrap-up
    The last posting gives an overview of the series and present best practices that we haven’t covered elsewhere. We will also use this posting to address questions and comments that are posted throughout this series.


If you’d like to know more, please leave a comment. The next post in this series covers the Archimate framework. It is scheduled to be posted on the 2nd of May.

Archimate® and TOGAF® are registered trademarks of the Open Group.



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