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What is ArchiMate?

ArchiMate is one of the modeling languages that provides a standardized approach for designing, describing, and analyzing enterprise architecture.

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ArchiMate is a widely recognized modeling language that provides a standardized approach for designing, describing, and analyzing enterprise architecture.

As organizations strive to align the IT landscape with their business goals, ArchiMate still plays a crucial role in facilitating effective communication and decision-making.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the fundamentals of ArchiMate, its key components, benefits, examples, and certification options.


What is ArchiMate?

ArchiMate is a graphical modeling language designed specifically for enterprise architecture. It provides a standardized notation to describe, analyze, and visualize the relationships between various architectural domains.

The primary purpose of ArchiMate is to facilitate clear communication among stakeholders, support decision-making, and enable the effective management of complex IT landscapes.

History and development

ArchiMate was initially developed by the Telematica Instituut in the Netherlands in 2002 and has since undergone several iterations. In 2009, the Open Group, a global consortium responsible for the development of open, vendor-neutral IT standards and certifications, adopted ArchiMate as a standard.

Since then, ArchiMate became one of the popular modeling languages recognized and adopted by enterprise architects globally.



Using ArchiMate for enterprise architecture modeling and analysis offers benefits, including:
  • Standardization: ArchiMate provides a standardized notation and approach, enabling consistent communication and understanding among stakeholders.
  • Holistic view: ArchiMate's layered structure and comprehensive frameworks facilitate a holistic view of the enterprise architecture, allowing architects to identify dependencies and potential impacts across domains.
  • Improved decision-making: With clear visualizations and a standardized language, ArchiMate supports informed decision-making and helps organizations align their IT landscape with their business goals.
  • Enhanced collaboration: ArchiMate fosters collaboration among stakeholders by providing a common language and set of models that can be easily shared and understood.



While it is a standardized and comprehensive modeling language, it also comes with certain drawbacks compared to other modeling approaches.

  • Learning curve: A complex set of concepts and relationships, can result in a steep learning curve, especially for individuals new to enterprise architecture. It may take time and effort to become proficient in using ArchiMate effectively.
  • Overwhelming complexity: The richness and complexity of ArchiMate can sometimes result in models that become overly complex and difficult to manage. It requires careful modeling practices to ensure that the models remain understandable and maintainable.
  • Lack of industry-specific extensions: ArchiMate provides a generic framework for enterprise architecture modeling, which may lack specific extensions or industry-specific concepts. This can be a limitation for organizations operating in highly specialized domains that require additional modeling capabilities.
  • Potential for misinterpretation: As with any modeling language, there is a risk of misinterpretation or miscommunication if the models are not well-defined. It's important to ensure clear documentation, proper training, and effective communication to mitigate this risk.



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Key components of ArchiMate

The language structure of ArchiMate comprises two main elements: layers and aspects. These components work together to provide a comprehensive view of the enterprise architecture. The ArchiMate Framework encompasses both the Core Framework and the Full Framework. The Core Framework serves as the foundation, including the fundamental concepts, relationships, and layers of ArchiMate—Business, Application, and Technology. It forms the basis for modeling enterprise architecture.

On the other hand, the Full Framework expands upon the Core Framework by incorporating additional layers and viewpoints, extending its capabilities for a more comprehensive modeling approach. It provides a complete set of concepts, relationships, and viewpoints to address various architectural domains and perspectives.

archimate32-4-1ArchiMate Full Framework


Aspects represent different perspectives or views of the enterprise architecture. They provide specialized viewpoints that focus on specific aspects of the architecture. ArchiMate defines these primary aspects:

  • Active Structure: The active aspect focuses on subjects that can perform behavior, representing the organization's structure, components, and properties. It includes concepts such as actors, business roles, application components, and infrastructure elements.
  • Behavior: The behavioral aspect captures the dynamic aspects of the architecture, describing the behavior and interactions of the architectural elements over time. It includes concepts such as processes, functions, services, and interfaces.
  • Passive Structure: The information aspect deals with the representation and management of data and information within the architecture. These are elements on which behavior is performed. It includes concepts such as data objects, business objects, and artifacts.
  • Motivation: Focuses on modeling the drivers, goals, principles, requirements, and stakeholders that influence and shape the architecture. They provide the context of an enterprise’s architecture.

Active structure, Behavior, and Passive Structure are three primary aspects that are part of the Core Framework. ArchiMate introduces Motivation as the fourth aspect of the Full Framework.


Layers, on the other hand, represent different levels of abstraction within the architecture. They define a hierarchical structure that helps to organize and separate different domains or domains within the enterprise architecture. ArchiMate defines these primary layers:

  • Strategy Layer: Represents the highest-level layer in the ArchiMate framework and focuses on capturing strategic aspects of an organization's enterprise architecture. It includes elements such as capabilities, business goals, drivers, principles, and policies.
  • Business Layer: This represents the highest level of abstraction and focuses on modeling the business aspects of the architecture. It captures the organization's business processes, business actors, and products.
  • Application Layer: Provides a bridge between the business layer and the technology layer. It models the software applications and their functionalities that support the business processes. It includes concepts such as application components, application services, application interfaces, and application collaborations.
  • Technology Layer: This is the lowest level of abstraction and focuses on modeling the technology infrastructure that supports the applications and the business processes. It includes concepts such as devices, systems software, networks, and technology services.
  • Physical Layer: Expands the Technology layer by incorporating physical infrastructure elements, such as servers, storage devices, and facilities.
  • Implementation and migration Layer: Supports the modeling of transformation and change within the architecture, including project portfolios, work packages, and migration paths.

Business, Application, and Technology layers are the three primary layers that are part of the Core Framework. ArchiMate introduces the Strategy, Physical, and Implementation and Migration layers as additional layers as part of the Full Framework.

The layering approach in ArchiMate allows for a structured representation of the architecture, enabling a clear separation and understanding of different domains and their relationships. Each layer encapsulates specific elements and relationships that are relevant to that particular domain.

Together, aspects and layers provide a comprehensive framework for modeling and analyzing the enterprise architecture from different perspectives and levels of abstraction.


ArchiMate features relationships connecting architectural elements. Key types include:

  1. Structural Relationships: Represent static construction of entities. These include composition (an object composed of others), aggregation (similar to composition but lifecycle independent), assignment (allocates responsibilities between active and passive elements), and realization (an entity fulfilling the contract of an interface).
  2. Dependency Relationships: Show dependencies between elements. Includes used by (one element uses another's services), access (behavioral entities accessing data entities), serve (an element providing its functionality), and influence (an element impacting another's properties).
  3. Dynamic Relationships: Describe entity behavior or sequence. They encompass flow (exchange of information or value), triggering (temporal or causal relationships), and association (generic relationship with no constraints).

By leveraging these expanded relationships, ArchiMate offers architects detailed and expressive language to represent the intricacies of the architecture, facilitating analysis, decision-making, and communication among stakeholders.


ArchiMate viewpoints are predefined perspectives or templates that guide the creation of architecture views. A viewpoint defines a specific set of concerns, concepts, and relationships that are relevant to a particular stakeholder or purpose.

It helps structure the architecture documentation and facilitates effective communication with stakeholders by presenting the architecture from their perspective.

Each viewpoint in ArchiMate focuses on specific aspects of the architecture and highlights the elements and relationships that are most relevant to that viewpoint.

For example, a business process viewpoint (image below) may emphasize business processes and their dependencies, while an application cooperation viewpoint may emphasize the interactions between different application components.

02-archimate-business-process-cooperation-viewpointBusiness Process Cooperation Viewpoint example

Viewpoints provide a means to filter and present the architecture information in a concise and meaningful way. They help stakeholders understand the architecture in relation to their specific concerns and enable them to make informed decisions based on the provided insights.

ArchiMate offers a range of predefined viewpoints, such as strategic, operational, capability, motivation, and technology viewpoints. These viewpoints can be customized or extended to suit the specific needs of an organization.

By utilizing ArchiMate viewpoints, architects can tailor their architecture views to different stakeholders, ensuring that the right information is presented in a clear and relevant manner.



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ArchiMate example

Let's see one simplified representation of the architecture using ArchiMate concepts.

This example showcases how ArchiMate can represent the business processes, application components, and technology infrastructure within an organization. It demonstrates the relationships between various elements and how they support each other to fulfill a specific business process.


Business Process ArchiMate example

  1. Business role (yellow square element)
    • Insurant
  2. Business processes (yellow rounded elements with arrows) with Triggering (Dynamic) relationship illustrated between each of them (left-to-right) and with Serving (Dependency) relationship to the Business role above.
    • Register
    • Accept
    • Valuate
    • Pay
  3. Application components (turquoise color elements) illustrated with Serving (Dependency) relationship to Business processes above.
    • CRM System
    • Policy Data Management
    • Financial Application
  4. Technology infrastructure (green color elements) illustrated with Serving (Dependency) relationship to Application components above.
    • Mainframe with CICS and DBMS System software elements within
    • NAS File Server with Unix Server Device within


ArchiMate certifications and training

ArchiMate certifications and training programs help professionals gain the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively use their modeling language.

The Open Group offers several certification levels, including:

📚 Related: LeanIX Academy for EAs


ArchiMate and TOGAF

Both ArchiMate and TOGAF are frameworks that are commonly used in enterprise architecture but with different focuses and scopes.

ArchiMate is a modeling language that provides a standardized notation and language for visualizing the enterprise architecture.

TOGAF is a broader framework that includes a methodology, templates, and tools for developing and managing the architecture.

Correspondence between the ArchiMate Language and the TOGAF ADMCorrespondence between the ArchiMate Language and the TOGAF ADM

Here are some of the differences and similarities between the two:

  • Focus: ArchiMate is both, a modeling language and framework used to represent enterprise architecture, while TOGAF is only a framework for developing and managing enterprise architecture.
  • Scope: ArchiMate is focused on the visual modeling and representation of enterprise architecture. TOGAF is a broader framework that includes a methodology, templates, and tools to manage the entire architecture process, from planning to implementation.
  • Notation: ArchiMate provides a standardized notation and language for visualizing and representing enterprise architecture. TOGAF provides guidance on creating and using multiple views and perspectives to represent the architecture.
  • Level of detail: ArchiMate and TOGAF include both high-level and detailed views of the architecture, with a focus on aligning the architecture with the business strategy.
  • Implementation: TOGAF provides guidance on how to implement the architecture, including developing roadmaps, managing projects, and governance. ArchiMate is primarily focused on modeling and representation of architecture.


ArchiMate and LeanIX meta-model

ArchiMate and LeanIX meta-model are two distinct concepts that serve different target audience within the context of enterprise architecture. Here's a comparison between the two:


  • It is a customizable modeling language specifically designed for enterprise architecture. It provides a standardized set of concepts, relationships, and viewpoints for modeling and visualizing different aspects of the architecture.
  • Offers a comprehensive framework that includes layers (business, application, and technology), aspects (structural, behavioral, and information), and extensions to cover various architectural domains and perspectives.
  • Allows detailed modeling of architecture elements, their relationships, and dependencies, providing a rich and formal representation of the enterprise architecture.

LeanIX meta model

  • It is a customizable meta model provided by LeanIX. It serves as the foundation for structuring and organizing the data within LeanIX, by following out-of-the-box best practices.
  • Provides a set of predefined building blocks (e.g., applications, technologies, processes) and relationships that can be customized and extended to suit an organization's specific needs and architectural context.
  • Enables organizations to define their own taxonomy, properties, and relationships for capturing and managing their enterprise architecture data within the LeanIX platform.
  • Its collaborative approach enables stakeholders from different departments and roles, including business users, IT professionals, and decision-makers, to effectively engage with enterprise architecture. The meta model's design focuses on simplicity, intuitiveness, and user-friendliness, making it accessible to a broad group of users.
  • It is designed to be framework agnostic, which means it can accommodate and support various architectural frameworks, methodologies, and standards used within an organization. LeanIX recognizes the importance of interoperability and flexibility, allowing users to tailor the meta-model to their preferred frameworks.

In general, ArchiMate focuses on providing a standardized language for modeling, while the LeanIX meta-model allows for customization and adaptation to specific organizational requirements.

Let's see how they can work together.

How to map ArchiMate in LeanIX?


LeanIX's configurable Meta-Model


All other concepts from the ArchiMate® language can be adjusted by adding custom Fact Sheet types or categories to an existing Fact Sheet.



ArchiMate is a powerful and standardized modeling language that enables enterprise architects to effectively design, describe, and analyze their organization's architecture.

By understanding its key components, benefits, and disadvantages, professionals can decide which meta-model to use in their role.

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Answers to frequently asked questions on ArchiMate

What is ArchiMate?

ArchiMate is a graphical modeling language and framework designed specifically for enterprise architecture. It provides a standardized notation to describe, analyze, and visualize the relationships between various architectural domains.

What is ArchiMate used for?

ArchiMate is primarily used for modeling and visualizing enterprise architecture. It provides a standardized language and notation that allows organizations to represent and communicate various aspects of their architecture in a structured and consistent manner.

What is the difference between TOGAF and ArchiMate?

TOGAF and ArchiMate are frameworks in enterprise architecture with distinct purposes. TOGAF is a comprehensive methodology for developing and managing architectures, while ArchiMate is a modeling language. TOGAF covers the entire architecture development process and offers guidelines, best practices, and governance. ArchiMate provides a standardized notation and language for visualizing and representing architecture elements and relationships. TOGAF focuses on the methodology and process, while ArchiMate focuses on detailed modeling and representation. Although they have different scopes, they can be used together, with TOGAF providing the framework and ArchiMate serving as the modeling language to represent the architecture.

Is ArchiMate worth IT?

ArchiMate is valuable for organizations in the IT industry. Its standardized language, comprehensive framework, visual representation, and integration with industry practices and some tools make it worth considering for modeling and communicating enterprise architecture.

How to use ArchiMate?

To effectively use ArchiMate:
1. Understand its modeling language and concepts.
2. Identify objectives and scope of the modeling effort.
3. Choose suitable ArchiMate modeling tools.
4. Capture architecture elements accurately.
5. Establish relationships between elements.
6. Apply viewpoints to address stakeholder concerns.
7. Validate and review models for accuracy.
8. Communicate and analyze using visual diagrams and reports.
9. Integrate ArchiMate into architecture development processes.
10. Stay updated and continuously learn to improve ArchiMate skills.

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