ArchiMate Modeling in Practice – project interruptions

Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk
Posted by Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk on Aug 18, 2013

Enterprise Architecture, ArchiMate

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In the meantime, her “target architecture team” may need an additional push to get going again. They have been researching policy documents, attending management meetings and researching modern EA strategies by industry analysts such as Gartner. The output has been minimal, but Brenda isn’t worried too much yet. They’ll get there, some extra “thinking time” might be a good thing as the most crazy ideas will have faded to the background.

A distraction?

While working on her plan, Brenda receives an unexpected visitor: James, one of the advisors of the management team comes in with a serious look on his face. Obviously he has something on his mind. After getting coffee – no meeting can start without it – and chit chat about the EA time, she comes to business: management is aware of the fact that Brenda’s team is working hard on the baseline / target architecture but there have been some challenges that must be addressed in the short run. He apologizes for the short notice, but piles these questions onto Brenda’s task list:

  • One of the database vendors is pushing for an extension of the licenses. Management isn’t too comfortable in making a decision on short notice: a lot of money is involved.
  • Key questions are:

o   Which products are we using from this vendor, and where? Are we using all the stuff that we pay for?

o   Do we expect to stay with this vendor in the target architecture?

Having a lot of experience, Brenda manages to keep a straight face and promises quick results on the first question. The second one might require more time. She asks for one week for the initial answer, and another to get the final answer ready: a swift answer will surely show the power of all the hard work the team is putting in.

James expected quite a fight from Brenda and is pleasantly surprised with the answer. He hadn’t expected such quick results and sees an opportunity to “score some points with the brass” so he graciously agrees. 

The plan

When James has left, Brenda collects her thoughts as she sweeps the whiteboard clean. With a quick note on the group whatsapp , she urges the team to come over in a hurry for an impromptu meeting. With everyone in her office, the room is a bit cramped. She speaks a little softer than normal, adding to the effect of creating a situation where everyone understand that the pressure is on. She explains the situation and gives two simple instructions:

  • The baseline team has nearly completed their work. They are to focus on the infrastructure layer first, complete that in a hurry and generate a cross table of information systems x platforms to see which products of the vendor are used where. It need not be perfect, it has to be here fast.
  • The target architecture team has a more complex task.

o   Brenda asks them to create a deck of max 5 slides to explain the operating model (a concept that they have spoken about before). Her claim is that the operating model for BriteLite is Coordination and she wants the team to explain why

o   She herself will work with the collected research (online, books, Gartner reports) to create a draft framework for the target architecture in a hurry. This will be used to answer the second question from management

  • There will be daily updates via the whatsapp group and she expects results by the end of the week. She’ll work over the weekend to integrate the results and send them to management as promised.

The execution

The team is highly motivated to dig in and get results. After a few questions and brainstorming some ideas, they fly off to do their work. The first updates via whatsapp are positive: it’s a lot of work, but everyone is confident that they will get the job done. Three days in, Brenda meets with the sub teams separately to confirm that they are on the right track. And indeed, by the end of the week, all the results are in.

Baseline analysis

Given the fact that the Baseline team has been documenting all of their results in the shared model repository of the BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio, they quickly find out that their task is actually quite easy. During the modeling work for the baseline application landscape <see previous blog>, the servers (modeled as Nodes) and platforms (modeled as System Software) were added to the models and linked to the applications they support. Using BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio’s model navigation and view generation functionality, it is very easy to create the overview that is needed to do the required analysis. The team decides to have a table view generated by the tool in which they show which applications use which database platforms. In the cells, they show the node or nodes on which the database platforms run. The resulting table is depicted below:


Three database platforms are in use. The IPPS application used to be a dedicated application supporting HRM functions and processes. However, during a project that was completed last year BriteLite started using the HRM functionality as part of the ZAP ERP system, and migrated the data to the ERP database, after which a new project was started with the goal to fully decommission IPPS.

Operating Model

The target architecture team had also done a good job. They came up with a simple deck with a good layout that explains:

  • What the operating model is and why it is important
  • The main dimensions (process standardization / integration) as well as the characteristics of the 4 quadrants
  • An analysis that explains that the main processes from BriteLite (consulting, production, etc.) are very different, but need to work on the same data. This suggests a Coordination model
  • In the last slide, they explain that BriteLite does not have a pure coordination model, but has some aspects of Diversification and Unification as well

The figure below was included in the presentation deck of the target architecture team, in order to support and explain the points mentioned above.


Target architecture

For the target architecture Brenda has also done her homework. She has crafted a slide that outlines the layering of the target architecture which will be used to start the discussion about retaining this vendor on the list of key partners.



Based on the baseline analysis, the operating model analysis and her own framework, Brenda works on her report with a hot coffee from her favorite local coffee shop on a cloudy Saturday morning. Her final recommendation to the management team:

  • We are using all the platforms that we are paying for except for one. That system was decommissioned over a year ago
  • Data is one of our key assets. It will be the core of the IS part of the target architecture
  • A single data platform is highly unlikely. We most likely need a single relational database platform from a strong vendor with the addition of solid open source platforms
  • We should give this vendor the opportunity to make us a good offer to become that strong vendor. If not, when we move on as soon as the plans for the target architecture become more solid

After finishing her coffee, she reviews the slides one more time and sends them off with these 4 bullet points. In her e-mail she offers to present this analysis during the Monday morning management meeting. With a grin, she realizes she beat her own deadline, delivering solid results in one week.

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