When working on business transformation projects, you often find stakeholders who are not satisfied with a purely process-centered documentation of your organizations. Such stakeholders can be, for example:
These stakeholders require an object-centered perspective on organizational structures, that is typically achieved by enterprise architecture modeling with a notation like.
ArchiMate is arguably the most popular notation for enterprise architecture modeling. Although ArchiMate can also document business processes, its core strength lies in the description of enterprise systems, their business objects, and relation to each other.
With ArchiMate 3, two new layers were added to the standard framework:
Of course, these layers are no one-size-fits-all solution. With modern enterprise systems, it is often not necessary to have a low level, data-centric view on all applications you use in your organization. This means you might not need the technology and physical layer. In contrast, you might want to be more specific about theperspective:
You shouldn’t forget that ArchiMate is, like, a fairly complex notation. This means you should carefully choose the elements you employ to keep diagrams readable for your intended audience. If your target readers have limited to average technical knowledge, you shouldn’t use ArchiMate at all and instead create high-level value chain or customer journey diagram that are intuitively understandable without any hidden technical implications.
One of the key benefits of ArchiMate is its support for high-level IT system diagrams as the application layer of the ArchiMate framework.
Let’s take a look at an example: a software localization process we already discussed in.
While the BPMN-basedare already very specific, they don’t provide a clear, one-glance overview of how the IT system landscape needs to change.
This is a problem for specific stakeholder groups. For example, the IT operations team needs to know exactly how the IT application landscape will be affected.
In addition to our processes, let’s model two ArchiMate diagrams that document the current and future state of the affected part of the IT application landscape.
Now, we can see all changes at a glance (simplified example):
Hint: In complex scenarios, ArchiMate also excels at documenting the interaction between different parts of an enterprise application landscape, for example between cloud and on-premises systems, or between system groups that are operated by different business units.
Of course, we should reference the enterprise architecture diagram in our business process landscape:
One of the key challenges when providing different perspectives on one organizational reality (or future state) is ensuring the perspectives are consistent with each other.
Going back to our example, we need to make sure that after an update of the ‘Translation management server’ in the business process diagram, the description of the ‘Translation management server’ in the ArchiMate diagram is updated as well.
Tools like theemploy a central that allows you to share definitions of objects like IT systems, organizations, and documents between different diagrams.
For more complex changes to your business process and enterprise architecture landscape, you can establishto ensure all relevant stakeholders are involved.
There are many other ways to integrate ArchiMate and BPMN diagrams besides the one described above. For example, you can incorporate a high-level process overview in your ArchiMate diagrams and reference BPMN diagrams that provide insight into process details from the different ArchiMate process elements.
However, we recommend an approach like the one we just introduced, because it achieves a clear separation of concerns between enterprise architecture and business process perspective.
By integrating enterprise architecture diagrams into your BPMN-centered process landscape, you enable an architectural, object-centric perspective on your organization, while retaining the business-value centric documentation approach your business process diagrams provide:
To get started with enterprise architecture modeling now, sign up for aof the Signavio Process Manager.