ArchiMate Modeling in Practice - Where are we going?

Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk
Posted by Bas van Gils & Sven van Dijk on Jul 28, 2013

Enterprise Architecture, ArchiMate

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When work on the business function model / capability map is well underway, Brenda is confident that she can promise management a first product to be delivered in a few weeks’ time. She has organized weekly meetings with the team for updates and reviews and things seem to move along at a slow, albeit steady pace.

brenda_cartoon_blij This frees up her hands for the next topic to be addressed: where are we going? 

Brenda realizes that, in order to assist management in decision making about an overhaul of the IT-landscape she needs quite a bit of information… not just about the IT landscape. Both in the baseline and the target situation she needs to understand the relation between products/services, data/information, and systems. 

To start the discussion, Brenda wants to plan a series of short, focused workshops to gain a deeper understanding in questions such as: 

  • Who are the key stakeholders that we have to take into account?
  • What products do we currently offer, and can we distinguish between different categories of products? In other words, what is our product/service architecture?
  • Do we expect any major changes in this architecture? Are we going to offer more products and services that fit within this categorization, or do we expect to also add new categories? For example: lighting is often associated with interior design, are we going to offer products and services in that realm?
  • Are there important developments in the external world to take under consideration, such as new types of products, technological advances in production mechanisms, legal developments etc.?
  • What is our operating model (see e.g. Ross and Weill [1])? That is, to what extent do we standardize or integrate our processes?
  • Do we have a product strategy? An IT strategy? A sourcing strategy? 

These are big questions, and Brenda knows that (a) management time is scarce, and that (b) it will take some time to get all of these answered. That’s “ok” though. Getting the information is only one reason for asking: keeping management on their toes and making sure they play an active role in the development of the target architecture are equally important. 

After some discussion with her sponsor, Brenda gets the thumbs-up for a full-day kick-off session with management and their strategic advisors. She asks the management assistant of her sponsor to plan the session in 2 weeks, and makes sure her sponsor discusses the session in the next management meeting. As she had anticipated, there was some grumbling with respect to two things. First of all, the amount of time she claims did not sit too well with some, and secondly, some people suggested that it is “nonsense” to talk about these things.

Stakeholder map

In order to be well prepared for the session with management, Brenda decides to formalize the thoughts and ideas that exist in her group on the lay of the land in the “stakeholder department”. She uses best practices from her own experience, but also the techniques as described in TOGAF on stakeholder management. For documenting and analyzing the stakeholder landscape the Motivation extension in ArchiMate is perfectly suitable. Following TOGAF, for each stakeholder she makes an initial assessment of their power, interest and attitude towards the initiative to transform BriteLite’s business in the proposed direction. BriteLite’s EA tool BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio allows her to capture this detail and based on that generate a stakeholder analysis view. One of her draft versions is shown below. 


The workshop

To soothe the emotions a little, Brenda starts the sessions with some case studies about why these elements are key, illustrating each point with clear examples. She then proceeds with the stakeholder map …which takes up most of the day! What was thought to be a “quick and easy exercise” turns out to be pretty tricky. Doing this thoroughly gives her some credit and at the end of the day she has at least achieved an action list: 

  • The strategic advisors will work on the product/ IT/ sourcing strategies. The architecture team will review the results, after which management will rubber stamp them.
  • The architecture team is asked to map out the products and services and come up with a classification scheme.
  • The management team will work on an environment analysis using the 5 forces <> + PEST <> models.
  • The discussion on the operating model is postponed until the capability map is completed.
  • The deadline for capability map and (“0.9” versions of) the above products is set for three weeks from now. 

This is a pretty good result. Brenda and her team are well under way with the capability map, which frees up time to start on the analysis of products and services.

Products and services


As before, Brenda stars with a brief introduction in the way of modeling, based on the ArchiMate specification: 

  • The distinction between product / services is not the same as in natural language
  • Services are about what we do for the environment, about added value. E.g. ordering a bike, or making a payment
  • Products group services, where a service may be part of more than one product
  • A product may also have a contract, which is close to an SLA 

Much to her surprise, some team members had already studied the ArchiMate specification + discussions on LinkedIn groups, so the team “gets it” rather quickly. They agree to take a three-step approach: first come up with a list of all the services and definitions, then do the bundling in products, and finally come up with a categorization.


By now the team has claimed a meeting room for the duration of the project to use as a “war room”. All intermediate results that are stable enough are printed on posters and mounted on the wall for easy reference. The room is also well stocked with whiteboards, flipcharts, sticky notes, markers etcetera. 

An initial brainstorm results in a preliminary list of services. Each team members takes a full copy of this list for validation with various roles and departments: marketing, product development, and sales are among the key players in this realm. After consolidation, the list of services is grouped into products by creating a matrix in the BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio: 


The team is aware that this captures the essence of the products/services architecture, but that some additional services may have been missed. The consensus is that these will be caught only when a ‘layered view’ is created where services are linked to processes. This will reveal additional customer interactions and services that should be added to the model. After some further debate, the team agrees that this is “good enough for now”. However, Brenda reminds them that an additional product should be made: grouping the products into categories. 

The team is ‘unsure’ about this area. A preliminary brainstorm on the whiteboard does not help much. They call in the cavalry by bringing in one of the ‘old timers’ from marketing which seems to do the trick. After a quick discussion about the goals of the exercise the team gets to work and comes up with the following categorization: 

  • Standard off-the-shelf lighting products: has all the products and services associated with mass produced standard products, both to retailers and business customers
  • Custom off-the-shelf lighting products: is the one the team struggled with. It was hard to find a name for this category. The idea is that standard, mass produced products are bundled in a specific way for a specific customer for a specific price. It requires a different process with much more customer interaction.
  • Consultancy: resulted in some discussions as well. With the consulting team growing, especially internationally, the team feels that this should be a separate category. The fact that the top consultants are sometimes paid for advice in itself strengthens this
  • Custom lighting products: pertains to all the major deals with custom lighting solutions. There was some debate for splitting this up to retain the consulting / production / installation split, but the team decides that this is already handled by defining specific products for this category. 

To wrap-up, Brenda make sure the team creates the following ArchiMate view:


[1] J. Ross, P. Weill and D. Robertson, Enterprise Architecture as Strategy -- Creating a foundation for business execution, Harvard Business School Press, 2006.



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