Today is a big day: ArchiMate 2.0 is released by The Open Group at its San Francisco conference. This new version shows that ArchiMate has truly grown up.

When we started the ArchiMate R&D project in 2002, the project's customers wanted us to develop a better means for communication for enterprise architects. Until then, they expressed their architectures either in proprietary tools and frameworks with all the ensuing problems of vendor lock-in, or in fuzzy PowerPoint pictures that you could only understand if the architect was present to explain what all the boxes and lines meant. A well-founded architecture description language was sorely needed.


Moreover, these customers pushed us to create an open and international standard, not yet another proprietary solution. Of course, we promised to do so, but secretly we were pretty scared; how could we possibly achieve this?

When the project ended in december 2004, version 1.0 of ArchiMate was ready, but our work was not yet done. Already during the project, we had started to disseminate and popularize the language. Right after the project, the first commercial tools started to appear and several companies started giving ArchiMate training. This rapidly grew its user base, and to foster this development, we established the ArchiMate Foundation.


But still, we had to make good on our promise to make ArchiMate into an international standard. First, we tried this via the OMG, stewards of UML, but they were too busy with UML 2, BPMN, SBVR and other standards. Luckily, when we contacted the The Open Group, they had just started a working group that should establish a description language to complement its TOGAF architecture method. This opportunity could not be missed, and in 2008, we transferred ArchiMate which became an official Open Group standard in January 2009.

This proved to be an all-important step. With the rising popularity of TOGAF and the professional support of The Open Group, ArchiMate adoption figures have grown rapidly. Nowadays, The Open Group's ArchiMate Forum has some 70 member organizations, over 10 commercial and several open-source tools support the language, and its active LinkedIn group counts nearly 1700 members.

Today is the release of version 2.0. This provides a number of important extensions that make the fit between TOGAF and ArchiMate even closer. Concepts for modelling stakeholders, drivers for change, business goals, principles and requirements are added to link architectural designs to the business motivation behind them, and concepts that support project portfolio management, gap analysis and transition and migration planning help you in making architectures truly actionable. Much more about this new release will shortly be published on The Open Group's ArchiMate Forum website.

I am proud to be part of this important development in our profession. The increasing use of models and standards is a sure sign of maturation of any engineering discipline. This does not mean that architecture becomes deterministic exercise, though. Rather, well-founded instruments help managers and architects to predict the effects of their actions, spot opportunities, and minimize risk, in the same way that a ship’s captain’s navigational aids help him steer an optimal course given the prevailing currents and winds.

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