ArchiMate Modeling in Practice - Getting Started

Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk
Posted by Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk on Jul 21, 2013

Enterprise Architecture, ArchiMate

Welcome to our blog. This is an archived post, most of our knowledge and advice remain valid but some material or links may be outdated. Click here to see our most recent posts. 
Brenda the Architect has her work cut out for her: developing a baseline and target architecture for BriteLite seems like a challenging task. The organization is still in the middle of the transformation towards production of LED based lighting products for international markets and tries to get used to the new way of working with the consulting team.

Brenda_thumb_up There has been some tension between the sales/ consultant teams and the production department over schedules, time to market and so forth.

Brenda spends her first few weeks getting to know the lay of the land by meeting with as many people as she possibly can. This gives her some time to settle in and work on her plan. Three weeks in she is ready to get started and, after some debate with top management she gets going:


  • Top management sends out a lengthy E-mail, letting staff know that Brenda will be involving them in an architecture modeling exercise to help BriteLite get to grips with the changes that are coming. This show of support is likely to make sure people will support Brenda in her efforts

  • A small team with experts from business and IT is assembled. They are mainly selected for their knowledge and history with the organization. However, extra care was taken to select team members with a good network and reputation

  • With the team assembled, another lengthy mail is sent out to inform every one of the plan: the small team will do most of the work, will involve experts as much as possible and all intermediate results will be published on a shared network drive. All input is welcome, so the mail ends with a warm invitation to join. 

Starting with the basics: a business function model / capability map

As the first problem to tackle, Brenda gives her team a brief instruction on developing a business function model. As an inspiration, she shows high-level diagrams of Porter’s value chain model, capability maps that can be found online and several smaller business function models from previous engagements. She gives her team the following guidelines for the business function model: 

  • The business function model is to be set up as a capability map, where capabilities are defined as “an ability or capacity that an organization may possess or exchange to achieve a specific outcome or goal”.

  • The name of a capability (modeled as a function) is a noun, not a verb.

  • The business function model is to be linked to the business object model.

  • The model describes what the organization does with a business focus. There is no such thing as an “IT capability”, a capability is a capability.

  • Capabilities will be stratified, distinguishing between strategic capabilities (related to the direction of the organization such as strategy management, finance management), core capabilities (adding value for customers), and supporting capabilities (such as training and HR management)

 In the first round the goal is to find the top level (or: “level 0”) capabilities. This will be validated with people in the organization before moving on the adding more details. Ideally we’ll at least get to level 2 capabilities to get a consistent model for the organization.

The first draft

The first draft of the model is developed in a half day workshop by the team. Since the team has been with the company for a while, they have a fairly good grasp of what is going on. After brainstorming at the whiteboard and digitizing the results in BriteLite’s EA tool BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio (ArchiMate certified by the Open Group), they come up with the following draft high-level capability map:



While setting up this capability map, the team reused some information still available from an earlier attempt to incorporate knowledge and best-practices typically found in industry reference models, including parts of ISA-95 (see also this blog for more information on using reference models . The reference models are stored in BiZZdesign model repository, and in this way it is possible to link BriteLite’s capability map to the reference model to visualize their alignment, as shown in the diagram below:



Management agrees that this model is good enough to start with and the team proceeds with drilling down to more detailed capability models, starting with the core capabilities as these are expected to be needed the most. Brenda has set a time box of 3 weeks for the capability mapping exercise, so the team has to focus and dive in quickly. 

Detailed capability maps

The team starts with planning a series of workshops, inviting experts from across the organization. To maintain consistency, Brenda will facilitate all workshops so the team can focus on the contents of the mapping exercise. Indeed, most of the capabilities have been mapped out consistently after three weeks with several validation actions still open. These will have to be resolved at a later point in time. Again, the results are documented using BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio. In this tool, it is very easy to add more detail to the high-level capabilities by in fact adding a layer behind them. The tool allows to easily navigate between the layers by double-clicking and hence drilling down into the details layer by layer (level 0, level 1, etc.). Here are some of the results:



Once the team has finished the capability mapping exercise, Brenda confidently presents her results back to management. She is happy with progress, as the capability / function map will prove to be a big help as a starting point for impact analysis. The maps are also printed in a big format and put on display in various parts of the building with an open invitation to provide feedback. 

The first iteration is finished with a ‘retrospective’ for capturing lessons learned, and creating an outlook for the next iteration. During a 45 minute discussion at the management meeting, it is decided that the next iteration should focus on a “product x services” mapping effort. 

Delivering Business Outcome with TOGAF and ArchiMate


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