I just recently had a conversation with a talented enterprise architect who had brought together the EA framework elements from numerous different sources in order to address the needs of his business.  Included in that list was the Enterprise Business Motivation Model which I developed and which I continue to maintain.

He reminded me of one of the bits of feedback that I’ve been given over the years, and that is “integrate the EBMM with other frameworks.” 

The challenge I have with that is that many other frameworks don’t have a metamodel.  The EBMM is a business architecture metamodel.  Of course, that is a quickly vanishing excuse.  The open group is largely using Archimate for their metamodel these days, and other frameworks have had metamodels from the start.  So it is time to get off my back and start taking a look at how the EBMM relates with, or differs from, standard metamodels.

I’m starting with Archimate?  Why?  Because it is at the right level of abstraction, fits well with the gaps in the EBMM (in the IT space, where Archimate excels, there is nothing in the EBMM), and allows a good relationship with tools implementation.

So over the course of the next few months, in my copious spare time, I’ll be diving in on Archimate and trying to improve my skills there, and find the ways to connect it to the EBMM.  If you have insight that you can share, please let me know.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

8 thoughts on “Aligning the EBMM with Archimate”
  1. Dear Nick,

    You can start practicing by using the tool "Archi" (http://archi.cetis.ac.uk/), which is developed and maintained by the University of Bolton. It is a free and open source application which provides a great platform for diagramming and connecting the proper models with one another as according to the ArchiMate 2.0 modeling language.

    Kind regards,

    Peter Sjoelin

  2. Hi Nick,

    I spoke to you a while back re: integrating the technology components of the TOGAF meta-model to the EBMM in a NZ local government context.  We have come up with a meta-model that we think is a good first cut. Whilst it does not show all the UML relationships yet, I thought I would show you what we have come up with so that you can feedback any comments. Can you flick me your email address and I will send you the PDF – if you are interested 🙂

    All the best,


  3. @Peter:  I am aware of Archi and have been playing with it.  Thanks for the tip.

    @Jonathan: Thanks for the correction.  I fixed the link.

    @Daniel:  Yes, I will drop you a note.  I am very interested.

  4. Hi Nick, have you had a look at the Essential Project?  It's meta-model has so far been more useful for me than any other.

  5. Hello R Singers,

    I blogged about Essential at the end of 2010.  blogs.msdn.com/…/essential-project-open-source-ea-metamodel.aspx

    One thing that is immediately apparent upon examination is that the Essential metamodel has no room for recognizing the value of a business model.  As business models are critical elements in understanding WHY a company does what it does, the lack of this essential element (pun intended) yields the Essential metamodel rather helpless.  It is a bicycle with no air in the tires.  Nice to look at… not much use for travel.  

    The EBMM, published in 2009 and updated continuously (we are on version 3.7 now) has no difficulty including this key concept.  For a paper on the importance of including the notion of a business model, please refer to my article in the Architecture Journal from April of 2009 ("Towards an Enterprise Business Motivation Model")

    Please note that the notion of a business model has been accepted as a core concept in the business metamodel that is under consideration by the Object Management Group's Business Architecture Special Interest Group (BASIG).  

    I hope to far exceed the limits of the Essential model.

    — Nick

  6. I fully agree with your choice of Archimate as  a starting point for the underlying metamodel. I don't really feel that it was quite there yet until version 2 came out .

    Since the 1->2 addition are based on the great work by the BiZZ Design chaps for incorporation of the BMM concepts it 'should' be a good alignment with EBMM. More importantly Archimate 2 deals with the lack of the 'why' in TOGAF.

    Perhaps EBMM would supplement the existing Business Motivation Model extension in Archimate 2?

    BTW, the Bizz Design Architect is the best commercial Archimate tool I have used, but Archi is  an excellent open choice.

    I will keep a keen eye on your EBMM<->Archimate progress.


  7. @Tom

    Thanks.  I am very much learning about Archimate.  I suspect I will end up having to take a training course.  I'm so embedded in my own way to model that I think I'm unlearning as much as I'm learning when reading the online material.

    I agree that Archimate 2 is better than Archimate 1.  Some of the really odd decisions are gone, and it aligns with UML quite well.  However, I don't know how flexible the metamodel will be to the kind of extensions that I suspect I may be asking for.  I'll have to see.  

    If you have a good recommendation for some kind of inexpensive online training for Archimate, I'd appreciate it.

    — Nick

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