I was recently asked about the adoption trend of ArchiMate.
I see demand for ArchiMate support slowly increasing in the UK, but it is nowhere near the tipping point that it has already reached in the Benelux area, especially in the Netherlands of course, where a requirement for enterprise architects to have Archimate experience is ubiquitous.
I’ve come across many Enterprise Architects and Solution Architects that are aware of Archimate and have been using it in their models, even if the organisation as a whole has not yet made it a standard.
From discussions I’ve had recently I understand that interest in the USA and in South Africa in ArchiMate may be growing faster at the moment than in the UK.
The main motivation for the ArchiMate foundation transferring their intellectual property to the Open Group was to to enable ArchiMate to reach a global audience.
At the time that Archimate was first developed, TOGAF didn’t have a meta model so there was a significant need for one to complement the ADM.
ArchiMate is the only defacto standard modelling language for enterprise architecture in the same way that BPMN and UML are defacto modelling languages for BPM and solution design respectively. I’d like to see the Open Group doing much more to promote ArchiMate now that it is in their stable alongside TOGAF 9.
However I foresee that in the next version of TOGAF meta model and ArchiMate meta model will merge. The TOGAF 9 meta model has many good features and a wider scope but is not quite as mature or complete as the older more tested ArchiMate meta model. I discuss some of my ideas about this on my wiki site and plan to produce a paper on the subject shortly.
The TOGAF ADM and ArchiMate complement each other and can be used well in combination.
What I have found is that the ArchiMate meta model resonates very well with clients that want a simple to understand set of Enterprise Architecture concepts that supports their way of thinking and also supports a service oriented architecture approach. Archimate maps easily to BPMN and UML modelling by design, so it is useful for translating Enterprise Architecture models into more detailed solution architecture models.
A large number of EA tools already support ArchiMate. These include:
  • BiZZdesign Architect
  • Avolution Abacus
  • Sparxsystems Enterprise Architect
  • IDS Scheer Aris,
  • Casewise
  • System Architect
  • Salamander MOOD
  • Archi
ArchiMate can also be used with the Troux EA repository, which can be configured to support it, and as I’ve mentioned I’ve already customised Mega for two clients to enable better support for ArchiMate.
If you want to know more about ArchiMate then I have a created a 2 day course to introduce the concepts and use of ArchiMate.
Contact me at adrian.campbell@enterprisearchitects.com for details.


Recently I’ve tried the latest versions of the following EA tools:

  • BiZZdesign Architect
  • Avolution Abacus
  • Salamander MOOD
  • Mega
  • MetaStorm ProVision

The first two are definitely modern tools that fully support IEEE 1471 concepts and separation of concerns. Easy to use and good for Enterprise Architecture modelling without fuss.

Both are excellent.  MOOD is fine and attractive, but I’ve used it less in anger.

The last two suffer from an odd design quirk that means that a view (i.e. a diagram) must belong to an object.

The result of this quirk is that to create context free diagrams they must belong to a dummy object. Why are these tools built this way ?

Another common feature is a proprietary way of drawing business process flow (Workflow / Event value chain) diagrams in a truly BPMN style.

The data object that is input or output from a Business Process or an Activity is not the same data object that is modelled elsewhere in the tool. Mega is particularly bad at this.

Neither Mega or ProVision seem to know how Services (Business Services, Application Services etc.) should be modelled either.

A colleague also pointed out to me that many EA tools are pretty limited when it comes to modelling the Infrastructure Architecture at an Enterprise Architecture level. Both Mega and ProVision are the most limited in this domain.

Both Mega and ProVision can be customised to improve them for EA use, but I for one would expect support for modelling SOA and the infrastructure to be there by default. I’d also expect to see support for the de facto EA modelling language ArchiMate to be there by default.

In comparison both Avolution Abacus and BiZZdesign Architect are sweet and painless to use and do everything you want them to do.

So why are they not in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for EA tools then?

Today I came across the Essential project –  http://protege.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?EssentialProject

This is a very interesting open source Enterprise Architecture project that builds on the excellent Protege Ontology Editor.

If you haven’t looked at Protege yet then go to http://protege.stanford.edu/  to find out more about this free open source ontology and knowledge tool and download a copy to try out. It has lots of uses

I also recommend going to the Essential project web site http://www.enterprise-architecture.org/ and downloading a copy of Essential to try.

Architecture of Essential

Architecture of Essential

The Essential Modeller uses Protege as it’s editor to enter the Enterprise Architecture model content, based on a Meta model pre-built in Protege.

Essential Architecture Manager

Essential Architecture Manager

 and the Essential Viewer uses a Java web application running in Apache to view the resulting Model.

Essential Viewer

Essential Viewer

The Essential Meta model is a fairly minimal EA Meta model, hence the name ‘Essential’ but it is certainly sufficient for most EA work. Using Protege it would be possible to modify the Meta Model to extend it to support other EA Meta models such as TOGAF 9  or Archimate.

On the Protege web site you’ll also find a number of interesting existing projects, including a model of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA)  in OWL.

I also remember reading about a Zachman Framework being modelled in Protege a few years ago that I think used a similar approach to the Essential project to publish its contents. http://apps.adcom.uci.edu/EnterpriseArch/Protege/index.html

Also http://apps.adcom.uci.edu/EnterpriseArch/Protege/TRCEAPractice/Website/main.htm


I have been evangelising about Archimate for a few years now in the UK and elsewhere.

Following a recent discussion, I wondered whether anyone else in the UK has also been using Archimate within their organisations and would like to get together to share their experiences, models, use of EA tools (such as BiZZdesign Architect or Avolution Abacus)?

Avolution Abacus

1 August 2008

I have recently come across the Avolution Abacus EA tool at the recent IRM UK EA Conference.

Avolution Abacus is a highly flexible tool for enterprise architecture modelling and for analysing the resulting models using pre-defined metrics.
The main features of Abacus that gives it a competitive advantage includes:

A meta-meta-model that is customisable at any time, including adding or changing component types, attributes and relationship types.
I like this feature since I invariably want to add concepts and new relationships. Some older EA tools have fixed meta models that prevent this or make it very awkward to change.

Powerful import and export to Microsoft Excel, Visio, PowerPoint and Word
I find this is also an excellent feature, especially since most organisations that I have supported in their  Enterprise Architecture efforts nealy always start out doing their modelling using office applications.

Customisable charts and graphs
I think that the charting and visualisation features are also very useful for presenting important information to senior executives, who just want to see the numbers and not the models..

Evaluation tools
There are five pre-built evaluation tools that are excellent for analysing the enterprise architecture models in terms of Performance, Total cost of ownership, Modularity, Openness and Reliability.

* The Performance simulator uses discrete event simulation to calculate the theoretical load and response of your architecture. There are a series of outputs from this simulator, the most obvious of which are the Bandwidth and Response Time properties.
* The Modularity evaluator calculates the number of incoming and outgoing connections for each component.
* The Total cost of ownership evaluator calculates the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for the architecture.
* The Reliability evaluator calculates the mean time between failure of the system and availability of the system given the structure of the components and connections and their properties.
* The Openness evaluator determines the degree to which an architecture and its elements are ‘open’, that is, the ability of the system to handle replacement of components with minimal impact.

Implementation Libraries with pre-defined metrics
This is an excellent feature that I have not found in other EA tools. The Implementations contain pre-defined data about existing COTS applications, infrastructure and connections that are used by the evaluation tools. This is invaluable for costing a particular future state architecture option.  Collecting this kind of data is frequently never done by organisations, and estimating costs can be largely guesswork.

Abacus supports numerous Enterprise Architecture meta models and notations as libraries.

These include:

I’d like to see the Business Motivation Model (BMM) also supported, and I’ll probably have a go creating it myself when I have a spare moment.

A demo can be downloaded at the Avolution Abacus Web Site

Today I returned to the Sparx Systems web site to see what was new and was pleased to discover that the Enterprise Architect tool can now be extended with a new MDG technology add on for the TOGAF 8 Architecture Development Method, in addition to the previous add on that was available for the Zachman Framework.

The Enterprise Architect tool is already a great tool and this add on is sure to be popular. TOGAF is increasingly mentioned as a desirable skill in job specifications for Enterprise Architects.


Of course, now that the Open Group has adopted the Archimate  Enterprise Architecture modelling language standard, the next add on I’d like to see is one for Archimate.

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