ArchiMate Specification Review

Due to a release of  ArchiMate® 3.0 Specification, a brief overview of several expected changes in the Specification can be found in the BLOG Reading ArchiMate® 3.0 with glasses“.


A Review of Business & Application Layers of the ArchiMate® 2.1 Specification

WHAT: Clingstone publishes a White Paper “A Review of Business & Application Layers of the ArchiMate® 2.1 Specification“.

FOR WHOM: This White Paper targets a senior level enterprise IT, its architecture, as well as business design authorities that work with architectural solutions for business.

WHY: this White Paper can help those who

  • 1) have not adopted ArchiMate yet
  • 2) have adopted but experiences implementation problems


1. Introduction: Why Don’t We Use ArchiMate yet?

Gate to La Sagrada Familia

It is not a secret that Lingua Franca is one of the fundamental conditions for success of any architectural work in an enterprise. It is also not a secret that all previous attempts to establish such a language between Business and Technology in the enterprise and even between different Business divisions of the same enterprise have usually failed. This, however, does not mean that we have to give up. If we can produce an architectural language that simplifies, at least, the interactions and understanding between architects, it would be a significant step forward for an Enterprise and/or Solutions Architecture. The ArchiMate 2.1 is such a language [1].

ArchiMate is terrific and terrible at the same time. The language addresses a set of the most important concepts in both business and technology domains, but does it half-way or relies on “common sense” in too many cases in our opinion. It is the very problem – what we call “common sense” is de facto different to every individual, architects and architectural schools; it is simply impossible and unacceptable definingstandardised language constructs by referring to “common sense”.

For example, we have found that ArchiMate coves the majority of fundamental business and application concepts used in practice of architectural modelling. We would add only two more concepts to this collection. However, the defined relationships between these concepts contradict our experience collected for the last 30 years in about 20 companies in the USA and the UK, as well as the rational we’ve learned as during architectural certifications.

We do not know whether these problems relate to ArchiMate or caused by its ‘integration’ with TOGAF and BMM conducted by The Open Group. In any case, we see them and they inspire this review. The review has only one purpose – to improve ArchiMate for the users by sharing our concerns, understanding and knowledge.

This paper is intended to cleanse and clarify all ArchiMate 2.1 clauses and definitions identified by or related to the Business and Application Layers. OASIS SOA RAF [2] has defined that the concept of service orientation spreads across Business and Technology domains of any enterprise, which requires modelling languages such as ArchiMate 2.1 to be accurate and precise, especially for the Business domains. Though regular professional language of business is frequently ambiguous in practice, the models of business architectural entities cannot allow such ambiguity; we cannot staple an architect to the model or diagram to explain what has been meant. The basis for this work is the white paper “Navigating the SOA Open Standards Landscape around Architecture” agreed between OASIS and The Open Group, where the latter took obligations on to refer and preserve SOA fundamental standardised in the OASIS RAF for SOA [2].

Following sections of this paper track the clauses of the ArchiMate 2.1 Specification published by The Open Group [1]. We review every statement, diagram, sentence and word in the Business Layer and Application Layer chapters of the Specification. If some text of those chapters does not appear in this review, it means that we do not have comments for it; otherwise, the text/diagram will be copied into this paper with related remarks or proposals. Some words in the original Specification’s text will be highlighted by us in order to focus on the entity/word/statement that’s caused our notes.

The sections consist of tables where statements from the ArchiMate’s text, presented in the left-hand column, is commented or questioned in the related row of the right-hand column. All comments are authorisedby us; all used quotes are referred to the sources provided in the “References” sections…




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