I’m going to get some heat for that title… I’m sure of it.  Archimate has been a diagramming standard for some elements of Enterprise Technical Architecture for a couple of years now.  However, with the new release of Archimate 3.0, this interesting visual language is now directly useful to Enterprise Architecture from the perspective of a Vanguard EA.

New features include strategy that we can link to initiatives for the sake of creating heat maps and aligning to strategy, as well as a physical layer of representation that is critical to getting to our new world of devices and information appliances.  Don’t get me wrong… it was possible in Archimate 2.0 to do some business architecture, but with Archimate 3.0, we are an order of magnitude more able to model and map out the business and the initiatives we are implementing to change it, why those initiatives are needed, and what impacts they would have.

In addition, some minor tweaks to the language and the spec make Archimate considerably better aligned with UML and TOGAF, two sources of confusion for adopting the language.  While I still find a few aspects of Archimate to be a little odd to look at, I find that the newest version is considerable more readable, usable, and relevant than prior versions.  For anyone who saw my reservations about prior versions of Archimate, take note.  Those reservations are gone.

This doesn’t mean that I think Archimate is some kind of silver bullet.  It’s a modeling language, folks.  And the metamodel is nowhere near as sophisticated as the EBMM is.  There are relevant and useful enterprise concepts you cannot easily model in Archimate.  But for the vast majority of needs, especially in alignment, PPM and APM, Archimate 3.0 useful and relevant to Enterprise Architecture (finally).

Special kudo to BizzDesign for releasing a version of a modeling tool capable of handling the new specification immediately upon it’s release.  You can get useful information on how to use the new standard directly from the BizzDesign web site.  If you are not tracking the Bizzdesign blog, you should be.

[Edit again: According to a thread on LinkedIn, a number of other tools are already able to support Archimate 3.0 or will be able to do so by the end of the year.]

A big thank you to Marc Lankhorst, and the good folks at the Open Group.  This one is a home run.


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".

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