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What is Archimate?

November 2, 2021 by Brad Brown
Category: Architecture

This tutorial is adapted from the Web Age course Archimate for Architects.

ArchiMate is a notation for describing architectural ideas about enterprise systems.  It deals with what are traditionally separate domains with one notation -Business, Application, Data, and Technology. ArchiMate compliments more specific notations such as BPMN or ERDs.

ArchiMate is a notation for describing architectural ideas about enterprise systems. ArchiMate is not a methodology. It does not tell you how to do architecture. It helps you communicate the architecture you develop.

ArchiMate’s place in the toolbox

There are many architecture modeling notations – why yet another one?

ArchiMate is good at

Showing the whole picture in one model

  • UML, ERD, BPMN, etc. focus on one aspect – detailed but narrow
  • ArchiMate allows a broader, more comprehensive view in one model

Showing relationships between domains- Business, information, application, technology all modeled together

A comprehensive picture makes relationships between domains explicit

ArchiMate is not so good at

Brevity – can be very verbose

Subtlety – ArchiMate is more general than more specialized notations

  • UML – Software engineering
  • ERD – Data models
  • BPMN – Process

Infrastructure -Not widely used to show infrastructure as a layer on its own

ArchiMate compliments other notations

You may want to use ArchiMate along with more specific notations

  • BPMN for process modeling
  • ERDs for data modeling
  • Network diagrams for infrastructure


  • Your audience
  • What you are trying to describe
  • Shop standards and practices

Rule of thumb: ArchiMate is the primary notation at HCSC

  • For Solution Architects
  • For Data Architects
  • For Business Architects
  • For Enterprise Architects (emerging)

ArchiMate in Action- Value Streams and Capabilities

ArchiMate in Action- Strategy Viewpoint

ArchiMate in Action- Business Process View

ArchiMate in Action – Layered view gives process context

ArchiMate in Action – Layering can link from business through technology

ArchiMate in Action – Application Cooperation View

Standard view – describes relationships between application components

Locations are optional 

  • Could use system boundaries (to show the interaction between
    components within systems)
  • Could use nodes (emphasizes inter-node traffic)

ArchiMate in Action – Technology Viewpoint

  • We focus on business and application
  • We use technology elements where needed
  • E.g., use of Kubernetes cluster implies quality of service attributes – availability – and is important for software design


  • ArchiMate is a notation describing enterprise systems
  • It is not a methodology
  • One notation for domains that are traditionally separate
    (Business, Information, Application, Technology)
  • Complements but does not replace specialized notations
    (ERD, BPMN, …)
  • Good at showing the big picture
  • Good at showing how parts are related, even across boundaries
  • Good at showing why architectural choices were made

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