Over the last few decades, the discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) has expanded to the point where most, if not all, of the world’s most influential organizations use it to conceive, develop and implement major strategies. A certified enterprise architect can deliver a clear and comprehensive blueprint of a company’s current and future ‘architecture’, making it far easier for decision-makers to guide various departments and resources from A to B.
At the same time, enterprise architecture as a practice can often appear esoteric, especially for executives who lack technical backgrounds. An enterprise architect must have the capacity to effectively communicate the contents of, and relationships between, different aspects of an EA framework. Otherwise, they will risk inadvertently sabotaging the clarity and efficiency which make EA worthwhile.
ArchiMate 3.0 is an EA modeling language designed to support enterprise architects by enabling them to describe their work visually. It was created by The Open Group, which also happens to be the organization behind ‘TOGAF’, one of the world’s leading EA frameworks. With a variety of options for complexity, ArchiMate can be used to communicate elements of EA to audiences of various backgrounds, making it far easier for architects to enable informed decision making.
ArchiMate has made a name for itself as one of the most intuitive modeling languages on the market. But what is it exactly that makes it such a versatile tool, and what are the main benefits that ArchiMate can offer practitioners and businesses?
Here are the most important things to keep in mind when selling ArchiMate to your organization.
So how can an ArchiMate Certification Help my Business?
ArchiMate has proven itself to be one of the most effective enterprise architecture tools on the market. It supports architects in describing, analyzing and visualizing complex frameworks, as well as the relationships between them.
Keep in mind that ArchiMate is more of a medium than a methodology, and the advantages of using ArchiMate can be best understood by EA practitioners. That being said, there are also plenty of brass-tacks benefits that organizations can take into account when considering investing in ArchiMate training and certification.
A vendor-neutral language
One of the biggest selling points of the ArchiMate language is that, despite being made by The Open Group, it is not tied to a specific standard or framework. In fact, ArchiMate was originally designed with a number of frameworks in mind, including TOGAF and BPMN. The Open Group continues to embrace this, providing support for users with various backgrounds and certifications via its ArchiMate forums.
In practice, this means that ArchiMate is simple to integrate into organizations that already utilize enterprise architecture. Almost any enterprise architect can treat ArchiMate training as a valuable career stepping stone, regardless of their current qualifications. As it is both vendor-neutral and non-descriptive, an organization can invest in ArchiMate without having to worry about getting tied down to any other languages.
A simple language
A huge advantage that ArchiMate has over its competitors is that, while it may not be the most comprehensive graphical language on the market, it is also one of the least bloated. In other words, ArchiMate 3.0 models do their job accurately and succinctly, clearly communicating EA structures even to unfamiliar audiences.
That is not to say that it is oversimplified. ArchiMate models are made up of several layers:
- The Business Layer
- The Application Layer
- The Technology Layer
- The Implementation & Migration Layer
- The Strategy Layer
- The Physical Layer
Each layer also takes multiple elements into account, including Active Structure, Passive Structure, Behaviour and Motivation.
The approach is highly inclusive, with the amount of coverage on offer being suitable for virtually any organization. At the same time, the complexity of the framework can also be amended, depending on the audience.
A common language
ArchiMate has attracted a sizable following over the years, with thousands of practitioners in various industries all over the world. Like other popular standards and frameworks, ArchiMate has a methodology and terminology which all practitioners are familiar with, making it easy for them to communicate and collaborate with one another.
Given the complexity of enterprise architecture initiatives, especially when they involve major organizational transformation projects, this advantage can prove absolutely critical. With simplified communication, architects can maximize efficiency while also preventing wastage and delays.
This advantage can come in particularly handy when multiple practitioners at the same company have different backgrounds in EA. Even if they are familiar with entirely different frameworks, ArchiMate can help them all get on the same page in no time.
For an enterprise architecture model to be accurate, a certain level of detail is required. This is unavoidable if you want to help your organization make the most of EA, but ArchiMate can make the process much simpler.
In a nutshell, ArchiMate helps by allowing practitioners to reuse relationships, attributes, and objects from previous models when creating new ones. This can save an incredible amount of time, allowing practitioners to provide decision-makers with the information they need to act as quickly as possible.
This element of standardization also has a second advantage, in that it also makes it far easier for new team members or audiences to get used to an organization’s ArchiMate models. Using the same features consistently helps to keep audience members on the same page, and it can help new enterprise architects to hit the ground running when they first join an organization.
Making efficient decisions
ArchiMate is used to simplify complex EA concepts, providing decision-makers with the information and perspective they need to drive an organization towards its goals. A typical ArchiMate-related task may involve creating a representation of a business’ current structure so that those in charge can maximize its efficiency and trim any unnecessary fat, or designing a model of what the organization needs to look like in the future in order to ease the process of getting from A to B.
Without this clarity, communicating architectural requirements in terms of time, costs, resources, and consequences can turn into an astoundingly inefficient slog. The speed of this approach can also create additional time to help executives think outside the box and consider a wider variety of options.
A common characteristic of frameworks owned by The Open Group is that they are regularly updated in order to keep them in line with the latest developments in the worlds of business and technology. This is essential, considering the astoundingly rapid pace at which these worlds continue to evolve in the Digital Age.
That is not to say that these frameworks necessarily become completely obsolete. ArchiMate 2.1 certainly still has a great deal to offer, despite the release of ArchiMate 3.0. The fact that ArchiMate’s language has remained consistent also allows practitioners certified in different iterations of the framework to continue communicating and sharing ideas without any issues.
This advantage is pressed even further thanks to the ‘ArchiMate Forum’, a message board hosted by The Open Group which allows users to share insight and updates. Newcomers are welcome, while seasoned practitioners are all too happy to share practical wisdom on how to utilize the framework in real-world scenarios.