ArchiMate, a widely-used enterprise architecture modeling language, provides a comprehensive framework for describing and visualizing the structure and behavior of enterprises. In this article, we will delve into key concepts related to Active Structure Elements, Behavior Elements, and Passive Structure Elements within the ArchiMate framework.
1. Active Structure Elements
1.1 Internal Active Structure Elements
Active Structure Elements in ArchiMate represent subjects capable of performing behavior. These can be further classified into internal and external elements. Internal active structure elements, such as business actors, application components, and nodes, embody behavior within the enterprise.
The Figure above : Generic Internal Active Structure Element Notation
1.2 External Active Structure Elements (Interface)
External active structure elements, known as interfaces, act as points of access where services are exposed to the environment. An interface provides an external view of the service provider while concealing its internal structure.
Figure: Generic External Active Structure Elements (Interface) Notation
2. Behavior Elements
Behavior Elements capture the dynamic aspects of the enterprise, analogous to active structure elements. These can be categorized into internal behavior elements and external behavior elements.
2.1 Internal Behavior Elements
Internal behavior elements, such as processes, represent units of activity that can be performed by one or more active structure elements.
Figure: Generic Internal Behavior Element Notation
2.2 External Behavior Elements (Service)
External behavior elements, termed services, embody explicitly defined exposed behavior. A service represents the externally visible behavior of a providing system, emphasizing the value offered to users.
Figure: Generic External Behavior Element (Service) Notation
In addition to processes and services, ArchiMate introduces a third behavior element – events. An event signifies a state change, with a potential time attribute indicating when the event occurs.
Figure: Generic Event Notation
3. Passive Structure Elements
Passive Structure Elements can be accessed by behavior elements. These elements represent entities upon which behavior is performed but cannot initiate behavior themselves. Passive structure elements often include information or data objects, and may also represent physical objects.
Figure: Generic Passive Structure Element Notation
4. Specializations of Structure and Behavior Elements
Within ArchiMate, core elements are specialized to provide a more nuanced understanding of the enterprise architecture. Figure 12 summarizes these specializations.
Figure: Specializations of Core Elements
4.1 Processes and Functions
For internal behavior elements, ArchiMate distinguishes between processes and functions. A process represents a sequence of behaviors leading to a specific result, while a function encompasses behavior based on criteria such as resources, competencies, or location, managed, performed, or implemented as a whole.
Figure : Generic Process Notation
Figure : Generic Function Notation
4.2 Interactions and Collaborations
Internal behavior elements can be composed or aggregated, allowing processes to be composed of functions and vice versa. Additionally, ArchiMate introduces the concepts of interactions and collaborations to model collective behavior.
Figure: Generic Interaction Notation
An interaction represents collective behavior performed by two or more internal active structure elements, while a collaboration is an aggregate of multiple internal active structure elements working together to achieve collective behavior.
Summary of Core Elements in ArchiMate:
Structure and Behavior
The Table below provides a summary of the core elements in ArchiMate, offering definitions and default graphical notations. It’s important to note that many of these elements are abstract; they serve as foundational concepts and are not directly utilized in models. Instead, their descendants in various layers of the ArchiMate language are employed to create detailed and meaningful representations within enterprise architecture.
|Internal Active Structure Element||Represents an entity that is capable of performing behavior.||
|Collaboration||Represents an aggregate of two or more internal active structure elements, working together to perform some collective behavior.||
|Interface (External Active Structure Element)||Represents a point of access where one or more services are exposed to the environment.||
|Internal Behavior Element||Represents a unit of activity that can be performed by one or more active structure elements.||
|Process||Represents a sequence of behaviors that achieves a specific result.||
|Function||Represents a collection of behavior based on specific criteria, such as required resources, competencies, or location, and is managed, performed, or implemented as a whole.||
|Interaction||Represents a unit of collective behavior that must be performed by two or more internal active structure elements, either assigned directly or aggregated in a collaboration.||
|Service (External Behavior Element)||Represents an explicitly defined exposed behavior.||
|Event||Represents a state change.||
|Passive Structure Element||Represents an element on which behavior is performed.|
ArchiMate‘s rich framework for Active Structure Elements, Behavior Elements, and Passive Structure Elements provides a powerful tool for modeling and understanding the complex architecture of enterprises. By employing these concepts, architects can create detailed and meaningful representations that facilitate communication and decision-making within the enterprise.