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Using ArchiMate with Enterprise Architecture

With the ArchiMate perspective selected, as shown in the Getting Started topic, all of the language features such as concepts, diagrams and views and viewpoints will be available to the modeler. Enterprise Architect also provides a way of creating a repository structure using Packages that will act as the containers for the elements and diagrams that you create to describe your enterprise. There is also a wide range of tools that are useful for working with ArchiMate models including diagram filters, legends, notes and tools for navigating and searching, which will be useful as your models get larger.

Our world has fundamentally shifted to architects working together, often in distributed settings, and this is important as Enterprise Architecture models often grow organically with a number of architects contributing to a central model. Enterprise Architect is essentially a collaboration platform that allows architects and other stakeholders and contributors to work together, sharing ideas and using the discussion, review and other collaboration features  to ensure that robust and relevant architectures are created.

Adding Diagrams

Diagrams are one of the most useful ways of communicating with other team members and with stakeholders who have an interest in the enterprise architecture.  Diagrams can be created in different ways:

  • An empty diagram can be created and existing elements can be added from the Browser window, or new elements and connectors can be added from the Diagram Toolbox
  • A diagram can be created from a user-defined pattern that also contains elements and connectors

In the next section we will also explore another method by which a diagram can be created using the Model Wizard tool. As a modeler you are likely to use all of these methods at different times, depending on the circumstances and the modeling context. To create a new ArchiMate diagram you can use one of these methods, ensuring that you have chosen the ArchiMate perspective.

Figure: New Diagram dialog showing the ArchiMate diagram types

Creating a Package Structure

There are two approaches to creating a suitable Package structure within Enterprise Architect, both of which mimic the enterprise architecture methods.

  • An initial well developed Package structure that is changed very little through the course of model development for an initiative
  • A skeleton model that contains the main Packages and is augmented as new needs are understood, and changed significantly during an initiative

Either of these methods can be used, or a team could consider a hybrid approach; either way new Packages need to be created in Enterprise Architect that will act as the containers for new elements and diagrams.

Figure: Showing the Package structure in the 'Project' tab of the Browser window.

Adding Views and Viewpoints

The ArchiMate language defines a series of example viewpoints designed to provide representations that are meaningful and relevant to a variety of stakeholders. These viewpoints are made available in Enterprise Architect through the Model Wizard patterns, which provide a way of creating both repository content and diagrams that show how the elements are connected by relationships. Thus new diagrams can be created.

  • A diagram and its elements and connectors can be added using the Model Wizard (Start Page 'Create from Pattern' tab)

Figure: Showing the Model Wizard and the Stakeholder Viewpoint in the Motivation Viewpoints group

Adding Elements and Relationships

Elements can be added to the model directly without the need for a diagram to be created, but it is far more common for a diagram to be the device that is used to add both elements and connectors to the model. Diagrams can be built up with a combination of:

  • Existing elements dragged from the Browser
  • New elements (or Relationships) dragged from the Diagram Toolbox pages

Adding Elements from the Browser

This diagram shows how elements can be added from the Browser window by dragging and dropping them onto the current open diagram canvas.

Figure: Showing an existing element being dragged from the Browser window

Adding Elements from the Toolbox

This diagram shows how elements can be added from the Toolbox pages by dragging and dropping elements (or relationships)  onto the current open diagram canvas.

Figure: Showing an existing element being dragged from a Toolbox page

Changing Elements and Relationships

Any element or relationship can be changed including its name and properties. When a change is made to an element in any location, for example in a diagram this change will be reflected in any other diagrams (view) that contains the element or relationship.