What I would Change About ArchiMate

ArchiMate 1.0 has been out for a while and ArchiMate 2.0 is months if not weeks from publication. Drafts for 2.0 have been circulating around a while now. The upcoming 2.0 version doesn’t change a lot to the core language. This new release is mostly marked by two extentions: one for modeling business motivatons and requirements and one for modeling the implementation and migration phases.

Most of what I was looking for in 2.0 didn’t made it. Here is a list of what I would have changed in 2.0 to the core language.

Define Business and Application Function as structure

It may come as a surprise but Business Function is not behaviour. Behaviour is the reaction a system has after being triggered by an event. Any behavioural element therefore represent instances that have a start time (when the event triggers), a result and an end time (when the result is produced). A business function is not such an element.

Most if not all meta models, including TOGAF, describe it as a structural element. In ArchiMate it would be a more logical version of a business actor. In other words, it’s an idealization of a business actor.

The exact same reasoning to move Application Function from behaviour to structure. An Application Function is a logical (idealized) version of an application component. TOGAF would call it a Logical Application Component.

Add Application Process as a core element

The business layer has a process element, why shouldn’t the application layer have it? An application service with the related application process would corresponds to a well known concept in IT: use cases. I would love to see them in ArchiMate!

Add dependency relationship

ArchiMate has tons of relationships, most of which should are hardly used, yet it misses one of the more important relationship: dependency. ArchiMate tried to avoid it by adding most of the specialized dependencies: Used By, Access, Realization …
But there are still places where I would like to use a simple dependencies without being forced to specify more detail.

Redesign the technology layer

ArchiMate is built around the distinction of internal versus external and behaviour versus structure. This is very visible in the Business and Application layer, especially with the above proposed changes. The technology layer is an exception. They tried to fit UML elements in this model and did a pretty good job. Yet, it feels wrong that the symmetry from the business and application layers is not showing in the technology layer.

I even wonder how wrong it is to have a behavioural item (System Software) inherit from a structural item (Node).

Something is not right in that layer and it needs to be fixed.

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