Monday, October 22, 2007

Using Archimate modelling techniques

Last Friday (Oct. 19th) I attended an information session at Surf Foundation, focused on modelling your information architecture by using the Archimate language. (see We are dealing with Archimate in our 3TU working groups in an attempt to describe the relevant business processes that have to be supported in a federative virtual learning and working environment. However, in our group we mainly focus on the top level of the Archimate framework (the business layer). The functional and especially the application layer is beyond our scope.
Well, back to the Surf session we were offered two presentations of tools that claim to support your modelling work in Archimate: Architect by BiZZdesign and ARIS bij IDS Scheer. Although I had some trouble in following the sometimes fast pace of the demo (including all the technical, architectural issues that were considered as prior knowledge) I saw clear differences between the two. Architect gives me the impression that it delivers results that are suitable for further communication (e.g. validation purposes) with stakeholders in your organisation. It delivers flows that can rather easily elaborated. ARIS seems much more complex (although it has an impressive track record in large industries) to handle and to communicate about for non-technical people. One specific weakness in the ARIS presentation is that the current version is not capable to show the designs in Archimate modelling components yet. This will be the case in the next release (to be expected in 2008-Q1).
Personally I was also more attracted to the presentation style of BiZZdesign. Their business proposition as a lean and mean orgaisation with a clear focus is more attractive that a large multinational and more commercial approach. The IDS Scheer presentation was much more of a commercial kind, and I'm not sure whether the listeners were really waiting for this. Several colleagues indicated that Dutch Higher Education is still at the very beginning of working under architecture and were wondering whether ARIS is the right choice. According to IDS this is the right moment to step in, but I never heard an argument why. So far, I believe we made the right choice to work together with BiZZdesign for our 3TU objectives.

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