Visualizing TOGAF with ArchiMate: Accelerating EA Mastery with Visual Modeling


The TOGAF standard gives detailed and comprehensive guidance on the practice of enterprise architecture. However, the concepts and methods of the standard are voluminous and generalized for the widest possible application. Therefore, they can seem abstract and unwieldy at first. The ArchiMate standard, on the other hand, provides a vivid and straightforward graphical language aligned with TOGAF for modeling and relating the motivations and strategy of an enterprise, the structure and function of its business, applications and technology, and the implementation and migration plans that effect transitions between architectures. Figure 1 below shows the full ArchiMate framework.

Figure 1. The Full ArchiMate Framework.

The ArchiMate language, therefore provides a concrete and immediately usable complement to the TOGAF standard, especially when used with a free and open source tool like Archi which faithfully implements the ArchiMate standard, keeps pace with its evolution, enforces its syntax, and provides contextual definitions and usage guidance for language elements and relationships. Figure 2 below depicts the relationship between the ArchiMate full framework and the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM).

Figure 2. The relationship of the ArchiMate full framework with the TOGAF ADM.

The ArchiMate language is organized into layers and aspects. The aspects classify language elements within each layer and define how they interact with each other. Active Structure elements like business actors and application components perform Behavior such as business processes (sequenced, purposeful behavior) and application services (exposed behavior). Passive Structure elements such as data objects (data available for processing) and business objects (concepts of significance to the enterprise) receive the effects of Behavior. Active Structure, Behavior and Passive Structure elements realize Motivation aspect elements such as goals and requirements.

The ArchiMate language layers position language elements within the TOGAF ADM. Strategy layer elements, such as capabilities and courses of action, along with Motivation aspect elements such as goals and requirements, figure most prominently in the ADM Preliminary, Architecture Vision, Requirements Management and Architecture Change Management phases. Business layer elements, such as business actor, business process, business function, and business event, figure most prominently in the ADM Business Architecture phase. Analogously, Application layer elements such as application component, application process, application service, and data object, figure most prominently in the ADM Information Systems Architecture phase, while Technology layer elements such as nodes (computation or physical resources), communication networks, equipment, materials, facilities, and distribution networks figure most prominently in the Technology Architecture ADM phase. Note that the ArchiMate language can be used to model operational technology (OT) architectures such as those of factories, mines, and supply chains as well as IT architectures, along with IT-OT interfaces.

Case Study

The ArchiMate Implementation and Migration layer is used to sequence baseline, transition and target architectures into roadmaps that guide implementation. As the link between architecture and program and project management, it contains elements such as plateau (stable system state), work package (task, project, or program) and deliverable.

The two Composite elements grouping and location complete the set of ArchiMate 3.2 language elements. Grouping gathers elements, and location represents conceptual or physical space.

The ArchiMate language relationships tie together language elements within and across layers and aspects. They include Structural relationships such as composition, aggregation, and realization; Dependency relationships such as serving, access and influence; the Dynamic relationships triggering and flow, the specialization relationship, and the junction relationship connector.

Here are two examples that show how the ArchiMate language elements and relationships can model full enterprise architectures like those developed with the TOGAF ADM. Consider the following scenario:

  • Due to increased competition based on customer experience, the CEO of an organization asked for an industry-leading digital customer experience (CX).
  • The organization responded by proposing a new continuously available customer portal.

Figure 3 below depicts a strategy that the organization pursued to fulfill the CEO’s request, while Figure 4 relates motivation and strategy to the resulting business, application, and technology architectures. In Figure 3, a Cross-Functional Virtual team resource is jointly realized by business actors representing various parts of the organization. That resource is assigned to the Digital Experience Delivery capability, which in turn serves the course of action Develop Industry-Leading CX. This course of action realizes the outcome that the enterprise’s digital experience is recognized as industry leading. The Digital Experience Delivery capability serves the three value streams Partner Experience, Customer Experience and Employee Experience, all of which are assessed as having a service orientation.

Figure 3. Strategy for achieving industry leading CX.

Figure 4 shows how motivation and strategy impact reality. A grouping of two Data Center facilities in different US state locations realize a Cloud-Based Infrastructure node that in turn realizes (hosts) a Portal application component. The Portal serves the Customer business actor, while the grouping of Portal Application and Cloud-Based Infrastructure comprises the Customer Portal Solution.

The Customer Portal Solution is realized by the Customer Portal IT Implementation work package, which is a component of the larger Customer Portal Business Transformation. This larger work package realizes the Provide New Customer Portal course of action, which in turn realizes the requirement for Industry-Leading CX. This requirement is influenced by the CEO stakeholder, who in turn is influenced by the driver of increased competition based on customer experience.

Figure 4. How motivation and strategy impact reality.


The ArchiMate language can be used throughout the TOGAF ADM to visualize and deliver architecture descriptions. ArchiMate models can not only depict architecture deliverables but can ensure their consistency with each other. With the right tools, such as Archi and its coArchi plugin as well as many commercial alternatives, architects can learn the rudiments of ArchiMate quickly and collaborate simultaneously on models with data integrity assured. Consequently, architects learning and applying TOGAF can use ArchiMate for vivid, practical, interactive, and collaborative exercises and initial projects.

Authored by Iver Band, EA Principals Senior Instructor and ArchiMate Expert