Can we use Archimate and the open source tool Archi to document and communicate our digital transformation map?
My first thought when I got that question was “Possibly – most of the components mentioned in a transformation map should have a representation in the Archimate standard”.
We usually illustrate transformation maps like this:
The first observation was immediate – Archi doesn’t support a background with anything else than rectangular areas.
The graphical representation is not the most important part of a transformation map – so what about representing the content?
I made this diagram which does not comply with the Archimate standard as such but is based on Archimate object types and could be used to communicate the implications of the roadmap.
This diagram easily illustrates the different domains that are affected by the transformation as well as the overall planning.
The objects used will help document relations at this very abstract level as well as relations to more concrete architecture elements as work progress.
Conclusion: Archimate could be used as a relevant standard to maintain traceability from strategic level to a more operational level during the entire transformation program.
When we look at Archi as the tool… Then we have probably not made a good choice – at this point in time. It is a single user system as of now. But it would require multiple persons to update the model in a transformation program. A document management system with check-in / check-out could handle this, but it would probably be too cumbersome for the real world.
I know some people are working on enabling Archi to use an underlying repository for storage. I would be cautious using the tool for this purpose until this feature is implemented.
Many repository-based (architecture) modeling tools supports Archimate, so it should be possible to find one. Alas, they are to my knowledge all commercial and comes with a cost. You should weight this cost against the value of traceability in the transformation program. I would recommend seriously considering such a tool.
About Erik Haahr
Erik Haahr has been a Managing Consultant at Capgemini Sogeti Denmark since 2015. In this role, he is improving local service offering descriptions, participating in pre-sales activities, mentoring graduates, and consulting with customers.
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