Learning ArchiMate Part 1 – Core Concepts

Published: June 17, 2013
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Owned and maintained by The Open Group, ArchiMate is tightly linked to The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), but adaptable to any EA methodology.

Symbolic references clarify the functions, roles, processes, actors, products and services. The references have defined relationships illustrating how they interact and influence each other. Conceptually, ArchiMate evolved from UML, which makes it easily understood and easily assimilated into the tools for architecture framework development.

The most effective use of ArchiMate is in the production of viewpoints. A single function/process/service in the architecture can be represented in many ways depending on the stakeholders reviewing the status of development. Senior executives need to know how their requirements, goals and principles are being met.

Business unit managers want to confirm that the services and products will provide customers the appropriate services. Application, data and IT systems managers have to ensure that they can provide the supporting framework for service and product delivery.


Using TOGAF as a reference, ArchiMate has distinct realms of framework development following the four iteration concentrations: Architecture Capability, Architecture Development, Migration Planning, and Architecture Governance. Within this model, ArchiMate is broken out into 5 Concepts, 3 core and 2 extensions:

  • Core – Architecture Development
  • Phase B – Business Architecture
  • Phase C – Information Systems Architecture
  • Phase D – Technology Architecture
  • Extensions – Architecture Capability, Migration Planning, and Architecture Governance
  • Motivation – Architecture Change Management, Preliminary and Architecture Vision Phases; Requirements Management
  • Implementation and Migration – Phases E-H

Core Concepts

Business Layer Concepts

The Business Layer identifies the concepts and relationships of the highest level of the architecture: the end product; the customer delivery system. This part of the architecture is the realization of the goals and requirements of the senior executives which motivate the implementation of an enterprise architecture framework.

  • Business Actor – the human or computer element that impulses the systems.
  • Business Role – a defined responsibility that authorizes an actor to perform actions
  • Business Collaboration – when different roles perform tandem tasks
  • Business Interface – the place where collaboration operates
  • Location – where in physical space actors reside
  • Business Object – an element of a system upon which the system operates
  • Business Process – the identification of a flow of a system
  • Business Function – groups a set of related behaviors
  • Business Interaction – the activity related to a Business Collaboration
  • Business Event – a causal activity that initiates change
  • Business Service – customer facing delivery of a product
  • Product – a set of services that is marketed and sold to customers
  • Contract – the organ legally establishing an agreement between the business and the customer
  • Representation – a logical view of a Business Object
  • Meaning – intellectual background of a Business Object or its Representation
  • Value – the perceived worth, importance or utility of a product

Application Layer Concepts

ArchiMate combines the Application and Data Architectures in representation of their concepts. This layer shows the elements of the system that realize the concepts of the Business Layer. It explains the way in which the Business Layer concepts are deployed. The Application Layer works both laterally and horizontally in the architecture.

  • Application Component – a discrete software module that can be replaced or updated without interfering with other application components; accessed by an application program interface (API)
  • Application Collaboration – a set of two or more Application Components working together to support an application
  • Data Object – an entity upon which Application Components act
  • Application Function – a description of the behavior of an Application Component
  • Application Service – provides access to Business Layer functions, processes and services

Technology Layer Concepts

Technology Layer concepts describe the device-level elements of the architecture. The descriptive elements of this layer expose the IT systems that support the Application Layer and, in some cases, specific elements of the Business Layer (such as a personal computer). Whereas the Application Layer presents the application components, the technology layer shows what hardware systems house those components and the relationships among them.

  • Node – a generic computational resource of artifacts on the network for deployment or execution
  • Device – a generic device storing artifacts to be exploited
  • Network – a physical means of communications between hardware devices
  • Communication Path – the logical representation of data flow between two or more nodes
  • Infrastructure Interface – the physical access point to a node or device on the network
  • System Software – the physical representation of software and applications
  • Infrastructure Function – a collaboration of behaviors executed by a node
  • Infrastructure Service – a representation of external facing functions

Concept Extensions

Motivation Concepts

The purpose and goals of an enterprise architecture framework provide meaning to development, governance and implementation elements. Motivational concepts are defined in the Architecture Capability iteration of the TOGAF ADM. Stakeholders, executives and architects establish principles, driver, goals, requirements and constraints within which the Architecture is developed and implemented.

  • Stakeholder – a representative of a functional team of the business
  • Driver – the thing that necessitates a change
  • Assessment – an evaluation of the current situation and is used for inspecting the readiness and capability of the enterprise to change
  • Goal – a definitive description of the result obtained by implementing change
  • Requirement – a specific, well-documented statement of a need
  • Constraint –
  • Parameters within which goals are achieved
  • Restrictions imposed by competing requirements, goals, and principles
  • Principle – a fundamental and unchanging property that guides and directs architecture development

Implementation and Migration Concepts

This concept represents the way in which the Business, Application, and Technology Layers are put into place. Implementation and Migration begins after the establishment of the Business, Architecture, and Technology Layers. It is based on the defined baseline, transitional, and target architectures; the results of gap analyses; the high-level Architecture Roadmaps from the Architecture Development iteration; and other documented requirements.

  • Work Package – a discrete collection of tasks performed during the transition from the baseline architecture through transition architecture and to the target architecture.
  • Deliverable – the precisely defined outcome of a Work Package that validates the accomplishment of Work Package tasks
  • Plateau – an interim architecture between the baseline and target architectures; used by the program team to verify that the transition is proceeding as planned and identifying what needs to be changed in development plans
  • Gap – the identification of what is in place, what is needed, and what needs to be rationalized


This article serves only to explain the core concepts of ArchiMate and its relationship to TOGAF.

This modular language further defines the relationships between the conceptual elements within and between the Business, Application, and Technology layers. It explains how to construct viewpoints using ArchiMate iconic representations for target audiences. While being complex, it is also flexible and can be tailored to fit any implementation of an enterprise architecture framework.

More information can be found at

This blog includes extracts of the ArchiMate 2.0 Specification, Copyright © 2009-2012 The Open Group. ArchiMate® is a registered trademark of The Open Group. For the original material please refer to this page.

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