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Alignment between Layers

The ArchiMate language is divided into a number of layers which is a useful mechanism to separate the concerns of various disciplines (e.g. Business from Application layers). This creates a division in the models that are created and so we need a mechanism to bridge this separation so that we can ensure that the elements and relationships created in one layer are able to be visualized in relation to the elements in the layer above or below (for example, elements in the business layer should be able to connect to elements in the strategic layer above and the application layer below).

ArchiMate has two important relationships that are useful for this purpose.

Serving Relationship

Serving relationships can be used to connect an application layer element to a business layer element for example between an application service and the different types of business behavior elements such as business processes and functions, and between application interfaces and business roles. The relationships can also be drawn in the opposite direction between business services and application behavior elements, and between business interface and application component. These relationships represent the behavioral and structural aspects of the support of the business by applications.

Realization Relationship

Realization relationships can be used to connect an application layer element to a business layer element for example an application process or function can be said to realize a business process or function, or a data object or a technology object can be said to realize a business object, so as to indicate that the data object is a digital representation of the corresponding business object, or the technology object is a physical representation of the business object. The relationship is always drawn in the direction from the lower layer with the arrow pointing to the higher layer.